Patriotic Front (PF) Lawyer Kelvin Bwalya Fube has warned that Higher Education Minister Professor Nkandu Luo’s proposal to abolish college and university students’ unions will lead to more violence in institutions of higher learning.
And KBF says although the decision by President Edgar Lungu to declare a Threatened State of Public Emergency was welcome, police must not take advantage of the supplementary powers to harass law abiding citizens.
In an interview with News Diggers!, Fube said student unions were good training grounds for future political leaders in the country.
“I wouldn’t subscribe to that view, I was in UNZASU, I was once a student leader in the law school. Those student union affairs are very important and I think if you are trying to prepare a future for politics and future leaders in politics, the university is good training ground. The problem perhaps is what the students want to advocate for must be limited, must have perimeters but what the students want to talk about are things that affect their welfare. And if you stop them, they will become more violent, they will become more radical and we don’t want that,” Fube said.
He said the University of Zambia cannot run without UNZANSU.
“As an institution, UNZA cannot run without UNZASU, Evelyn Hone cannot run without a students union, the same thing with NIPA, CBU, Mulungushi, and these others. If the Registrar of the University wants to address students one on one! How long will it take? But when the University students union says there is a meeting at the forum, everybody knows where to go, why? Because you just have to. If you are not there you will find that something will happen which you were not involved in, it will affect you,” he said.
“My view is that the Minister must visit the students, look at the union constitution, see if they can massage it and agree to say don’t go outside the realm of learning, realm of too much politics. And usually with politics its just about their bursary. Once the government sorts out the bursary! There will be no problem. Students union for me is a health institution, it must be encouraged.”
Meanwhile Fube hopped that law abiding citizens will not be harassed during the Threatened State of Emergency.
“As a law abiding citizen, this decision has not affected me. I want to thank the President for this initiative, really its a welcome move because what we have seen is that we are failing to curb what is going on in the normal settings that we live in, with the normal bill of rights and all the rights of citizens and maybe the police were feeling a bit inhibited in terms of whatever they wanted to do,” said Fube.
“I think when the President declared this, he really had no option, in my own view because I know the President, I have seen him as a lawyer and as a President. I have seen him as a man who agonizes for a long period of time before he makes a decision but for him to come back from Ethiopia and quickly summons cabinet and say he is going to evoke article 31, I think he has gone through his Rolodex and realized its not time to keep quiet and it is very very important that he has done this because it then gives the police a bit of muscle, not to abuse their authority, but a bit of muscle to do things which they would not do ordinarily in the normal setting of things.”