University of Zambia Students Union (UNZASU) officials have rubbished Higher Education Minister Professor Nkandu Luo’s decision to suspend their operations.
On Monday Prof Luo suspended UNZASU activities, halting the forth-coming elections saying contenders were behind the protests which erupted at the highest learning institution over the continued lecturer’s go-slow and late payment of allowances.
The lecturers maintained that they would continue with the go-slow until government and management gives them a clear roadmap on how they will pay off over K300million owed to them.
Issuing a statement live on UNZA Radio this morning, UNZASU president Adrian Matole and vice Piyo Ndhlovu, the union vowed to continue with their operations saying the law backed them.
“We would love to remind the nation that UNZASU is by law established and mandated to coin its constitution to govern, organize, coordinate and administer student’s activities. According to the UNZASU constitution article 4 Section (c), the union has a major objective to work for the cooperation of students and other sections of the community and develop in students a sense of responsibility towards society. It is in this light that the current union since day one has been engaging management and the government on various issues in an intellectual objective and civilized manner,” Matole said.
UNZASU stated that while it is aware of the minister’s powers to take action in the interest of the institution, she did not have powers to suspend their activities.
“Furthermore, the Union is aware of the powers of the minister as established under part 3 of the Higher Education Act of 2013, such as her duty to ‘take steps considered necessary in the best interest of the higher education institution, where the minister reasonably believes to do so’. Therefore, suspending activities such as the current illegal UNZASU election campaigns that are likely to cause public pandemonium within the University is reasonable, but suspending a1l UNZASU activities is questionable, improbable and illogical,” he said.
The Union emphasized that it will continue to exist as it has always been there to represent the interests of students and to contribute to the development of society.
“It is to this effect that UNZASU was, is and shall continue to operate without interference as its
Constitution states,” they stated.
UNZASU also asked government to address the problems at the institution.