NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili has appealed to government to pay Copperbelt University and University of Zambia lecturers their salaries on time, saying they are human beings who should be treated with respect.
And Kambwili has condemned President Edgar Lungu for going to attend a funeral in Congo DR with a huge delegation when the Ministry of Finance has announced austerity measures.
Speaking to journalists at the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court, Monday, Kambwili observed that lecturers at the two higher learning institutions didn’t deserve such treatment from government as they performed their duties judiciously.
“Please find money to pay lecturers, they are human beings. University of Zambia lecturers, CBU lecturers, have not been paid, what’s going on? Treat people with respect when they are giving services. Those people judiciously teach our children at the two learning institutions and don’t deserve this treatment of not finding money to pay them. UNZA and CBU are grant aided institutions and by law, government is obliged to send the grants every month to these institutions. One of the uses of these grants is to pay the salaries and run the institution,” Kambwili said.
“This government says something but does the other. Prof Nkandu Luo was saying ‘this country can never change by changing Presidents if we don’t focus on education’. Now how do you focus on education when you are not paying lecturers at the two highest learning institutions?”
And Kambwili appealed to Prof Luo, who is Minister of Higher Education, to re-open CBU with immediate effect.
“Secondly, you’ve closed CBU indefinitely. You are not even talking about it as if the Copperbelt University is an extension of your own bedroom. Can we be consistent in the way we talk about governance issues. In one breath you are saying ‘let’s focus on education’, in the other breath you’ve closed the learning institution indefinitely as if it belongs to yourself. These are government institutions and not the executive institutions. The executive is only there to run the country on behalf of the people of Zambia,” he said.
“Why have you Nkandu Luo and your President closed this institution and stopped talking about it? Is it because your children tabaya kuli aya ama sukulu (don’t go to these universities)? Can you think of the children of the poor who also have a time frame in which to complete their education. I’m reminding Nkandu that the Copperbelt University is still closed, can you open the University with immediate effect. Can you by close of today pay lecturers at UNZA and CBU.”
Meanwhile, Kambwili said President Lungu’s recent trip to Congo was unjustifiable.
“Secondly, how do you expect the people of Southern Province to survive? Are you telling us that Southern Province is not part of Zambia? You know that there was drought in Southern province but you go and introduce animal movement ban. You are not allowing them to take their animals from Southern Province to go and sale to other parts of the country. How do you expect these people to take their children to school? Because the Southerners only survive on agriculture, through the growing of maize and also animal husbandry. What kind of a government are you who don’t think?” asked Kambwili.
“All you think of is to go to Congo to go and mourn a former Prime Minister who died two years ago. And you are insulting the people of Zambia as if we are so useless that we can’t analyse issues. What have provincial ministers got to do with the funeral? Three provincial ministers, two cabinet ministers. Under austerity measures, you tell Permanent Secretaries not to move for 90 days but you go and lift a plane, you take 30 security personnel, five ministers to go and mourn a father of a President who died 2 years ago? Kwena Lesa Lungu wamufumishe kwi (Dear God, where did you get Lungu from)?”