Higher Education Minister Professor Nkandu Luo says she has deliberately decided not to comment on the recent riots at UNZA, which led to the death of one student, because she believes that the riots were sponsored by people who bought black funeral T-shirts for students.
And Prof Luo says the sermon that Pastor Evans Manjimela rendered at the UNZA SDA Church during the requiem mass for Vespers Shimunzhila, the student who died of suffocation during the riots at the university, was very disturbing.
Speaking in Parliament, Tuesday evening, when she was asked by Mwembeshi independent member of parliament Majila Jamba to explain what exactly was wrong with the pastor’s preaching during the requiem mass, Prof Luo said the whole situation surrounding Vespers’ death was questionable.
She insinuated that last week’s fracas was sponsored.
“I have not made a statement on the death of Vespers Shimunzhila because I want to investigate it thoroughly and bring everybody to book. But let me also say that, when an act like this one happens, people should know that the only person who knows on whose hands the blood of Vespers is, is God; they (the killers) may look clever. We should be asking these questions; where did the T-shirts that people wore in black [come from] if this was just a normal accident? Why would they be insulting ministers when they go to the funeral house? Why would certain individuals take over the funeral? You should have listened even to the [church] service and the sermon at the SDA Church on that day, it is unacceptable! So, those who think they are clever, they are going to pay and they will pay heavily. If not on this earth, they will pay in Heaven,” Prof Luo charged.
She insisted that the riot, and especially Vespers’ death, needed to be investigated because it was possible that everything that happened was not an accident.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my phone so that I can read it for you, but when I read it I was very disturbed. Maybe at break time you can look at this sermon…I didn’t expect [what was spoken] to be in a sermon in a church and by a preacher. I have the sermon on my phone because someone sent it to me and I was very, very disturbed! This is why, for me, I think that this particular [death of Vespers and the riots at UNZA] should be investigated to the hill. We need to understand what was the motive behind this; who was behind this, because if we don’t nip it in the bud, we will have a problem in future. And the reason why I want to emphasise, as Minister of Higher Education, I have refused to speak to the media, I have refused to even make a statement because I have certain footings, which tells you, definitely, that this was not a student’s riot,” Prof Luo alleged.
And when asked where government was going to get the money to divide the University of Zambia into respective schools by Chiengi FDD member of parliament Given Katuta, Prof Luo said the programme did not require a lot of money to be implemented.
“This is why in Zambia, we don’t move on anything because we always think that you must have a bag of money to be able to do anything! I think what is critical in any situation is first of all to do some critical thinking and put a road map and you can start implementing an idea with very little money. So, this process is on course,” said Prof Luo.