In this audio, Antonio Mwanza says the PF is on a crusade to silence everyone so that they can continue stealing and abusing human rights unquestioned.

And Antonio has offered to advise student union leaders on the best ways to pressurize government to remove Professor Nkandu Luo from the Ministry of Higher Education because she is not fit to run it.

Last week, Higher Education Minister Professor Nkandu Luo told Parliament that government plans to abolish students unions.

“Even in the way that our students will be working. I don’t think our institutions should have unions. Unions will take even your last bit of blood. What we need in our institutions is to introduce guild leadership. And this is some of the consultations I will be taking with the students themselves and stakeholders, and churches so that Zambia moves away from unionism in our institutions of higher learning to another level of leadership known as guild leadership. So madam speaker I think we are on course,” Prof Luo said.

“Madam speaker as a result of that, we are reviewing a lot of our institutions in this country and re-igniting their mandate and I think we will see a very big change by next year on what our mandate is and what we are supposed to do. Am also very surprised that a lot of our technical schools started promoting business courses. This is again because of an issue called attitude. An issue of not knowing your mandate. Our institutions of higher learning in this country have run away from their mandate, they think they are civil servants and they also think that they can make business out of education.”

But in an interview, Antonio observed that the PF were on a crusade to kill activism.

“They are on a crusade to silence everyone, that’s the key. People might not even see this but I was told by Mr Sata in 2010 so it is a crusade, they want to kill everyone, the church, the civil society, the opposition, everything, they want to kill everyone, silence everyone, so now they have gone after the students. And don’t think they don’t know what they are doing, they know, these are educated people, they know. They have master’s degrees, they have doctorates, they know. So that’s the whole issue, to kill activism,” Antonio said.

Take a listen:

“In 2010, I had a meeting with President Michael Sata, may his soul rest in peace, at farmers house and he told me that when PF wins, they will abolish students unions because at according to him, students unions were a headache to the government and they were causing a lot of problems. So it is very clear that as the Patriotic Front, they have embarked on a war against anyone who raises issues on governance matters, on the political welfare of the people, anyone who raises issues with regards to the mismanagement of our economy, the corruption, the theft, the lack of accountability and transparency and the sheer incompetence of the entire Patriotic Front government.”

He noted that the PF started their fight with the media and critical opposition.

“So they started with the media, they went after The Post newspaper, made sure that they fraudulently closed The Post Newspaper and they have embarked and continued with the vicious campaign to silence the independent media, independent individuals, divergent views and any organisation which raises concern with regards to the misrule, disgovernance and mismanagement of our economy. Now they have taken their fight to the students union. So when Nkandu Luo speaks in Parliament, she doesn’t speak as Nkandu Luo, she speaks as Minister of Higher Education and the way the government operates is that ministerial positions are an agreed position of the government after they meet at Cabinet. But what are the motivations to do this? They have realized that students unions have always been the voice of the voiceless, they have represented the intelligentsia and they have always raised concerns on the welfare of society,” Antonio said.

“So they want to kill student activism, that’s the primary goal so that they can continue on their path where they steal without a question, where they abrogate the Constitution without a question, where they deny the fundamental freedoms of individuals without question, where they abuse state authority and office without any question, that is exactly what they want to achieve…they want to continue with the wanton abuse of human rights and state resources. I was in the union myself and the unions are very instrumental to ensuring that students are well taken care of and that the learning environment is up to date to allow for proper assimilation of knowledge. If you remove them, you are simply saying that you are going to run universities without representatives who will embody the feelings and concerns of students.”

And Antonio said Prof Luo must be removed from the Ministry of Higher Education and taken to the “Ministry of Tasinta”.

“I want to call upon students and all the students unions across the country to stand up and resist Nkandu Luo’s move to abolish unions because they will have no voice to represent them. So the students must put up pressure. If it means students putting up peaceful protests, I am available as a former union leader to provide them with the necessary support and strategies in which they can put insurmountable pressure for Nkandu Luo to be removed from that ministry because she is not adding any value to the welfare of the students, actually, Nkandu Luo is the main problem that we have with regards to our education, she doesn’t understand the ministry, she doesn’t have the interests of the students at hand, she is the wrong person to be heading that ministry and she is a problem herself…they can give her a position at Tasinta Ministry or something but not there. They should create a Ministry of Tasinta if they want to keep her,” said Mwanza.

Take a listen: