Copperbelt University Academics Union vice-president Elaston Njovu has wished vice chancellor Professor Naison Ngoma a safe flight to India for medical treatment, but says “he shall find us still demanding his removal”.

At a press briefing, Saturday, Prof Ngoma offered to drop all disciplinary charges against union leaders who had been pushing for his removal if they apologized.

“We have been given the responsibility of running CBU. We don’t have the luxury of calling out names or insulting back or doing stuff which is not progressive. Instead, we should be humble enough to say that late as it might appear to some people, it is not too late for us to get off from the lake. Therefore, I am saying that management and myself as Vice Chancellor are prepared to immediately drop all charges, disciplinary process which has been on now. Everybody affected by this disciplinary process, we are prepared to get back to a period when such charges did not exist at all on one important account that those ones who are responsible for urging members to be disruptive come to management and say to management that they were wrong to undertake a disruptive process. I am not saying that I as vice chancellor am asking the unions to back down from any other demand of theirs, as far as I am concerned, any demand they have made, as long as that demand has been undertaken legitimately, in an undisruptive manner, I have no desire to stop such a desire. In fact, I am not in a position to stop any such demand,” said Prof Ngoma.

“All I can do as vice chancellor is to say in the interest of the students, parents and the university, it is important for those who have been propagating this instability, principally the union representatives, let them come to management and say very clearly that they were wrong to undertake this approach of theirs. This was the wrong way of doing things…I am not resigning…and in case you won’t see me tomorrow, I am going to India to undertake some medical procedures. It is being sponsored by the Ministry of Health.”

But in a statement, Njovu said management could proceed with the disciplinary charges vowing that their demands would not be dropped.

“The protests arise from Mr Ngoma’s failure to run the CBU in a professional, prudent and efficient manner. No one was incited to take part in those protests. We have over 300 signatures appended to the Vote of No Confidence in the Vice Chancellor. As for his trip to India for medical treatment, we wish him a safe flight. He shall find us still demanding his removal from the CBU because the longer he stays, the more the CBU will degenerate. Why should the ones fighting for a good cause be the ones to apolgise to the one in the wrong? Professor Ngoma owes an appolgy to staff, students and the whole nation for running down the CBU since his appointment in 2012. The charges and suspensions are irregular and faulty at law. He should not raise fake charges as a bargaining chip. If he feels so strongly about them, we shall meet him at the Tribunal or in Court,” Njovu stated.

He described Prof Ngoma’s statement as empty and begged the Ministry of Higher Education to listen to the unions.

“We condemn in the strongest terms, his empty press statement. He cannot say that his job is the most difficult. So he is implying that his job is even more busier and difficult than that of the Republican President?. He should stop being cheap! We appeal to the Minister of Higher Education to step in and listen to both sides. So far the Ministry has only listened to Prof Ngoma’s side of defence. Problems at CBU have been resolved when the Minsiter in particular, takes interest in listening to both sides through social dialogue. This is why we feel strongly that it’s time the Republican President stepped and bring sanity to the CBU,” stated Njovu.