Minister of Higher Education Professor Nkandu Luo says Mulungushi University has been tasked to manage Kwame Nkruma for a period of three years to enable the upgraded institution gain more management experience.
Responding to a question from Kabwe Central member of parliament Tutwa Ngulube who wanted to know why Mulungushi University had been given the responsibility to manage Kwame Nkrumah University, and why Nkruma had been closed down, Luo said all lecturers who were working at Kwame Nkrumah had no experience or the qualifications needed to teach at a university.
“The Ministry of Higher Education has no contracts with any members of staff at Kwame Nkhruma, as the staff are employed by the Ministry of General Education under the Teaching Service Commission. The Ministry through Nkwame Nkhruma has commenced the process of recruiting staff. All members of staff currently serving at the university with the requisite qualifications are free to apply for the positions that have been advertised. Should any of them be selected, they will be offered contracts under the Kwame Nkhruma council. If they accept the contract offers, the Teaching Service Commission will address the issues related to separation packages. This will allow for the transition of workers from the Teaching Service Commission to the university council for those that will be employed,” Luo explained.
She the government has not retrenched the unqualified lecturers.
“Apart from the unjustified claims Mr Speaker, it must be noted that at this point, no contracts have been terminated and no employee has been retrenched and no jobs have been lost. However, there are some audit claims that are being made. Some of the audits that are glaring before us include unretired imprest of K968,856.66 for 2016 and K941,622.67 for 2017. Payment of subsistence allowance amounting to days in excess of 365 days in one calendar year and up to 735 days in one instance. In another instance, claims amounting to 511 days in one calendar year and yet we all know that a year has only 365 days. Payment of fuel allowances above the unproved rate by kilometer, questionable retirement of imprest including counterfeit receipts, failure to account for stores equipment and machinery amounting to K1,481,784.42,” Prof Luo said.
“Mr Speaker, because of this song in this country where people have created discussions of corruption. I am going to lay the audit report on the table so that people start knowing who is responsible for misappropriation of funds. In spite of these revelations, timely institution of disciplinary measures is proving a challenge as the concerned staff, are under Ministry of General Education while the management is under Ministry of Higher Education. The affected staff continue to question the authority of my ministry when we say we want to discipline and they say we are supervised by the ministry of general education. These and other challenges have necessitated the need to have all staff at Kwame Nkhruma fall under Ministry of Higher Education through the university council.”
Luo said her ministry would consider employing a Vice-Chancellor for Kwame Nkrumah once the university starts operating independently.
“As stated, the intervention has been to place Kwame Nkruma under Mulungushi university for a period of three years, after which a Vice Chancellor would be appointed to run the university independently. However Mr Speaker since Mulungushi is already at the stage of recruitment, the ministry will put in place a search committee to commence the process of searching for a Vice-Chancellor as well as a deputy Vice-Chancellor for this institution. In the meantime, we expect Mulungushi University to also recruit principle staff that are a prerequisite to a university,” said Prof Luo.
“The government has commenced the implementation of the new financing strategy for public universities that was approved by cabinet in August, 2017. Under this strategy, all public universities’ conditions of service will be harmonised. For Kwame Nkrumah however, the first step is to employ staff under the university as the entire complement of staff in Kwame Nkhruma University is under the teaching service commission and they are employed by the Ministry of General Education. Once this has been finalised, the university will be considered under the harmonisation process which has started with UNZA, CBU and Mulungishi universities.”