CBU unions escalate petition to remove Naison

Copperbelt University unions have submitted a 126-paged dossier to government detailing why they insist that Vice-Chancellor Professor Naison Ngoma is not fit for the job.

And the CBU unions have charged that Prof Ngoma has been wasting K700,000 per annum on unnecessary travel to Israel at the expense of institutional development.

The document titled “Evidence for vote of no confidence in Prof Naison Ngoma as Vice Chancellor”, Copperbelt University Senior Adminstrative, Professional and Technical Staff Union (CUSATU), Copperbelt University Academics Union (CBUAU) and Copperbelt University and Allied Workers Union (CBUAWU) was submitted to the Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Labour, Labour Commission and the Copperbelt University Council on February 15, 2018.

The unions alleged that Prof Ngoma was was appointed Vice-Chancellor despite not qualifying for the job, that there had been perpetual salary delays under his leadership and that he had misplaced priorities which cost CBU millions of Kwacha, among other issues.

“Prof Naison Ngoma was appointed as Copperbelt University Vice Chancellor despite him not qualifying for the job based on inadequate experience, incompetence and the findings of the first and second search committees Examples of his incompetence include;
a) Appointment of School of Medicine Lecturer(s) who did not meet the minimum requirements 2016/2017 and changing minutes, b) admission of students who don’t qualify based on the cut of point of the material year; c) Failure to uphold SENATE progression rules by illegally directing the School of Medicine to give supplementary examinations to failed students. For more detail of his incompetence
ii. University fund raising ventures have collapsed under Prof Naison Ngoma as Vice Chancellor. Failure to replace obsolete equipment has limited the university’s capacity to raise additional funds through consultancy. In addition, the Directorate of Distance Education which used to have over a 1000 students per year now has less than 100. Similarly, the graduate School used to have several full time students but now the numbers are so dismal that the programmes are no
longer cost effective,” read a summary of the allegations.
“iii. Prof Naison Ngoma has continued to misdirect his priorities towards the Multipurpose Facility Hall (White tent) at the expense of building infrastructure that will stand a test of time. Despite the initial construction cost of over K5.3 million with an estimated life span of 7 years from 2014, Prof Naison Ngoma has continued to spend resources refurbishing and cladding of the same tent at great cost just now standing at K8.3 million after 3 years of its construction. In comparison, the brick and mortar School of Medicine in Ndola as a permanent structure was built at a cost of only K11.7 million with 8 lecture rooms and 1 Lecture Theatre. Another comparison is the brick and mortar Graduate School in Parklands(Kitwe) which was bought at only K9 million Kwacha comprising 8 large classrooms, 3 office blocks and 2 hostel blocks, iv. Workers at CBU have been exposed to perpetual salary delays for the past four (4) years under the reign of Prof. Naison Ngoma as Vice-Chancellor due to lack of planning and consultation with Ministry of Finance and High Education. Delayed salaries lead to demotivated employees and accelerates the already high phenomenon of brain-drain. Furthermore, frequent work stoppages entail that, the reputation of the university is being eroded among stakeholders”

The unions lamented that since he assumed office, there had been no renovations at the institution.

And CUSATU, CBUAU and CBUAWU charged that Prof Ngoma had been wasting K700,000 per annum on “tourist non value adding” trips to Israel.

“Prof Naison Ngoma’s focus is not directed towards teaching, research and consultancy which are the core business of the university; instead most of the expenditure is directed towards administration and travelling by top management at the expense of providing adequate classrooms, laboratory equipment, equipping computer labs and maintenance of existing infrastructure in the university. Prof Naison Ngoma has continued to waste resources on things that do not add value to the core business of the university such as spending the little resources on 3 personal laptops (for himself, the Registrar and the Bursar) at a cost of over K76, 000.00 which could have been used to buy 15 desktop computers or the desperately needed Universal Compressive Testing Machine for the Materials Laboratory. Another example of unnecessary expenditure is the over K700, 000.00 per annum Israel trips for two weeks on Management of Higher Education Institution training which previous participant within CBU have dubbed a tourist non-value adding adventure since 2014. Lastly Prof Naison Ngoma created three directorates: Business development, External Relations and Planning which are a duplicate of already existing structures. The new directorates don’t bring in any money in the university and yet he runs them using government grants thereby putting pressure on the university and national treasury,” charged the unions.

“vii. Copperbelt University Management led by Prof Naison Ngoma has sadly neglected the importance of social dialogue, and the conflicts experienced in the University are just a symptom of lack of consultative process. For example, on 10thDecember, 2017 students were protesting over poor sanitation and delayed meal allowances. Instead of engaging government and students in dialogue Prof Naison Ngoma invited the police and paid them allowances (using scarce university resources) to brutally beat up the students from 23:00 hours to 03:00 hrs. Other examples are contained in the main document.”

The three unions insisted that it was in the best interest of the country for Prof Ngoma to resign or be dismissed.

“We as Stakeholder Unions believe that government at every level has people with a good conscience that will not put the interest of one individual ahead of the interest of the nation. Posterity will judge us accordingly. Martin Luther King Jr said that as individuals and as a nation ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’. We therefore urge the university council, the Ministrey of Higher Education and the Republican President not to ignore the plight of CBU. Action is required now. That action entails resignation, dismissal or redeployment of Prof Naison Ngoma from CBU. Otherwise, posterity will judge harshly. This report is evidence that our concerns are not frivolous, they are real and the report will stand not only any honest and objective scrutiny but also the test
of time,” stated the unions.

On Saturday, Prof Ngoma said he would drop all disciplinary charges against union leaders if they apologised for the “disruptive route” they had taken, but the unionists have vowed to continue calling for his dismissal.

Meanwhile, the CBU Senate is set to meet on March 14 to discuss the opening date and adjust the academic calendar.

         

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