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Abolishing students’ unions a misplaced agenda – NARSAUWZBy Karen Mwelwa on 24 Jul 2017
National Road Sector Agency and Allied Union Workers of Zambia (NARSAUWZ) leader Clement Mwila says governments intention to abolish university and college students’ unions is a misplaced agenda.
Mwila was responding to Higher Education Minister, Nkandu Luo’s statement to Parliament that her ministry was considering abolishing students’ unions because they were not necessary.
He observed that the PF government’s inability to accept criticisms was dangerous, and was forcing those in power to see critics as enemies.
“This government can’t accept criticisms, when they are criticised, they think that the institution or people who question them are enemies of government. Zambia is bigger than those in power. So people need to have a thick skin and accept criticisms,” Mwila said.
“The current government should be objective, when they are criticised let them not see students’ unions as political enemies because at the end of the day we need to move forward as a nation.”
He said it was clear that Luo perceived students as enemies.
“Now Government decides to say no because they are not in good books with one or two unions they decide to abolish the movement. I think to us as a union, its very unfair and government is not being objective. They should think twice about their decisions because these same unions act as a future for tomorrow. And they act as a voice to the voiceless students and society,” Mwila said.
He reminded Prof Luo and other Parliamentarians that they were products of students’ unions and similar students’ movements.
“There are a number of key figures in decision making positions in government who have come from the student unions and already, we shouldn’t even go far, like Kang’ombe, (Christopher) a youthful mayor for Kitwe is coming from the student movement. He was groomed from there, now if government decides to abolish the student movement then they are killing the future and we are not going to have proper leaders,” said Mwila.
“We expected government to in fact formulate a deliberate policy of how to groom these student union leaders before they leave universities or colleges because these are the future leaders. But now they want to form a policy to kill the future and moreover, they act as checks and balances for government and institutions and they have got a following and following which is very popular.”
About Karen Mwelwa
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