n Malawi Law Journal - The Chinsinga-gate affair : a not-so-subtle threat to academic freedom in Malawi

Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1996-7675


In February 2011, the Inspector General of the Malawi Police Service 'summoned' and 'interrogated' Associate Professor Blessings Chinsinga of the Department of Political and Administrative Studies at Chancellor College, the University of Malawi, in relation to comments he had made in one of his lectures. News of Chinsinga's 'summoning' sparked a protracted dispute between lecturers, who viewed the 'summoning' as an infringement of academic freedom, on the one hand, and the University authorities and the government, on the other hand. This dispute eventually led to the closure of Chancellor College, the largest constituent college of the University of Malawi, for almost nine months, bringing into sharp focus the state of academic freedom in Malawi. This article conducts a critical appraisal of the state of academic freedom in Malawi, particularly in the post-1994 period taking into full account the events that surrounded the Chinsinga-gate affair. The aim of this exposition is to deduce some principles that underlie claims to academic freedom and to draw some lessons for the protection of academic freedom in Malawi and beyond.

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