Satirical singer Chama Fumba, popularly known as Pilato, has called on President Edgar Lungu to institute an inquiry in the death of Vespers Shimuzhila, a fourth year student who died of suffocation after Police officers fired teargas in her room.
Pilato, who on Sunday evening joined UNZA students in mourning Vespers, challenged President Lungu to show leadership by ensuring that the people responsible for her death were brought to book.
“I would like to appeal to the President that he must show the human side of him. We want to see the human side of the President, the best he can do is to institute an inquiry into the death of Vespers, some people must pay for the death of this innocent soul. It should not be normal to lose a life in campus, someone has to pay for the death of Vespers, because if it’s tolerated, no one knows what will happen next time, whose child will be killed?” Pilato asked.
“So the President must show leadership, he must take leadership, let him institute a commission of inquiry, let us know who allowed the teargasing of students in rooms, let us know why the meal allowances were not paid to students and if we have someone to punish, let us know how that person will be punished. Is the Inspector General of Police going to be fired? Is he going to be taken to court? Is it the Minster of Home Affairs, is it the Minster of Higher Education? We want to know who was responsible for this unfortunate death.”
Pilato said the University of Zambia was not meant to be a death trap for students.
“The University of Zambia is a place of learning and mostly the people who are here are poor peoples’ children. So coming here shouldn’t be a deadly project. Our President, cabinet ministers, send their children to the best universities outside the country. So when the poor people sacrifice all they have to send their children to this University, their children must be assured of safety and that one day they will get their education so that one day they can also become Presidents or ministers. The trending killing of students at UNZA is worrying because among the risks that the poor people will be considering losing their children whilst in school,” Pilato said.
“As a country, we must protect ourselves, we must say no, coming to the University must not mean death of students. So I am here to offer solidarity to the young people here and to tell them that they are not alone, we will support them because their struggle is our struggle. The students of this University are the future of this country, and the future begins now. If we ignore their death and their pain, we are auctioning our own future, so we can only protect our future by protecting the students now.”
The musician and governance activist, who was in the company of Zambia’s songbird, Kantu, joined mourning students at October car park where they both signed the book of condolences.