CBU students riot, as lecturers down tools

Copperbelt University Students last night rioted over delayed term-two meal allowances.

And the CBU lecturers have downed tools for delayed November salaries.

Meanwhile, Copperbelt Police Commissioner Charity Katanga says only one student was arrested.

The students gathered at the famous ‘monk square’ around 22:00hours before closing Jambo drive.

Copperbelt University Students Union (COBUSU) president Njikho Musuku explained to News Diggers! why they rioted.

“Yes there was riots by the students last night, though no arrests or damage to property. The students want to be paid their meal allowances. Today is now 6 (December) and we are not paid. How will the students survive. So I will address the students shortly to discuss which way we go,” Musuku said.

And Copperbelt University Academics Union (CBUAU) General Secretary Willie Ngosa said the lecturers have withdrawn labour.

In an interview, Ngosa said the situation at CBU was pathetic.

“I can describe the situation at CBU as total chaos. This is chaos! This is not the manner a higher institution should be run. This trend of delaying salaries seems to be going out of hand. So we have withdrawn labour. Until we are paid, we won’t report for work. No lectures,” Ngosa said.

“It is not new for an institution like CBU to be ran like this. Every month its the same story, why? We have withdrawn the labour so we can only be back if salaries are in.”

And in press statement, Ngosa said lecturers were frustrated by CBU management’s failure to address their concerns for over fours years.

“The Copperbelt University Academics Union is very disappointed with the failure by CBU Management and government to pay salaries to workers at CBU for the month of November 2017. This trend of delayed salaries at the Copperbelt University has been going on for close to 4 years now, a situation which can best be described as chaotic, disappointing and very unacceptable. CBUAU shall therefore, not entertain this anymore! We want to urge the government to be serious when it comes to funding Higher Institutions of learning,” he said.

“As a Union, we wonder why the government is failing to fund CBU on time. This shows a serious lack of concern for CBU employees. The Auditor General’s report for, example, shows massive financial misapplication of tax payers’ money. These monies could have gone to critical sectors such as education but it ended up in the pockets of a few selfish human beings and consequently employees are paying the price of these thefts. This is painful especially for CBU employees who have to go on perpetual monthly salary delays. This shows a serious lack of priority in the Higher Education sector by the government. Why should we be reduced to beggars?”

He said CUB had abrogated the law by failing to pay CBU workers on time.

“According to the Employment Act Chapter 268 section 48 subsection (2), the law is very clear on payment of employee wages and it states as follows “The wages of an employee shall be paid at regular intervals not being later than the 5th day following the date upon which they fall”. In this case, workers should have been paid on the 28th of November 2017. Therefore, Management has abrogated the law by not paying the workers on time,” said Ngosa.

“We therefore demand that November 2017 salaries be paid immediately. As academic members of staff, we have resolved to withdraw our labour effective today, 6th December 2017 until such a time when all our members are paid their delayed November 2017 salaries. This measure is meant to enable our members go out of their way to look for money to pay bank loans, monthly rentals, pay their workers and provide for their families. Do we always have to go on a go slow in order for us to get paid?
CBU employees are very hardworking even though they work under very difficult conditions and must never be subjected to more tormenting experiences of non payment of salaries after having worked for their money.”

Meanwhile, Katanga said in an interview that only one student had been

“The riots started at 21:00 hours last evening. At 21:00 hours they went to the road and blocked the road which is Jambo drive. That’s when the police moved in and they apprehended one student. They have been keeping vigil of the situation which had normalized in the early hours of today. But as at now, they are still making some noises within the premises and police are monitoring. The information that we are getting is that they have not received their meal allowance and the lecturers are not paid. That’s the information we are getting but I’m not able to confirm unless the university authorities. That is just a rumour. The university authorities themselves or the students themselves can explain what really the reason is,” said Katanga.

         

Zondiwe Mbewe

About Zondiwe Mbewe

Zondiwe is a vibrant young Zambian journalist who has interest in writing political and current affairs on issues which affect every Zambians. She draws inspiration from journalists who stand for what is right and are not afraid to tell and show the truth to the people.
Email: zondiwe [at] diggers [dot] news

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