Nkandu Luo should come and skin me alive first before she abolishes meal allowances, NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili has dared.
In an interview, Kambwili condemned Higher Education Minister Professor Luo, who recently told a CBU student of her plans to stop paying students meal allowances effective January 2019.
Kambwili charged that President Edgar Lungu was allowing such alien decisions under the influence of alcohol.
“The problem that my sister, Nkandu Luo, has is that she wants to do things alone without consulting and I feel sorry for President Edgar Lungu, who is easily convinced. But I know how they convince him, they go to tell him some of these things when he’s taking his wine, and when you are under the influence of alcohol, you don’t think straight. There is just no way a reasonable President can accept that meal allowances for students should be scrapped off. Do you know where some of those students come from? Some of those, their parents cannot even raise a K10 per month. All they do is to farm, they grow maize, which they pound to make mealie-meal and grow vegetables in the yard, and that’s what they feed on. So, where do you expect them to get the money to feed the children at the university? Come on, Nkandu Luo! Put a sock in it! But I will tell Nkandu Luo, she should come and skin me alive first before she removes meal allowances,” Kambwili dares.
He asked Prof Luo to resign on moral grounds.
“Nkandu Luo should resign on moral grounds! Meal allowances in universities are paid all over the world for those who are on bursary. And this time, we have changed; it’s on longer bursary, it’s actually a loan, which will be paid back. So, that is just inefficiency of this government because they have over-borrowed and the government is broke! They should not hide into the fracas that the students cause as a result of delayed meal allowances. Nkandu Luo will go down in history as the worst Minister of Education this country has ever seen! She should know that the beginning of the fall of government is arrogance, and my sister, on this one, awe baya sana! (She has gone too far!) She should not think that she can hold Zambia to ransom, her children are educated, she’s educated and she was educated through the same bursary and she used to receive meal allowances. So, why would she want other children not to receive meal allowance?” Kambwili asked.
“But I will forgive Nkandu Luo because she has a President who agrees with everything. I am sure they went to tell him [about this] when he was having his wine, and when he’s having his wine, he agrees with everything! Ask Edgar Lungu how was he educated himself? He was at the University of Zambia, he was on bursary, he was being paid meal allowances and he should not forget that when there was noise for meal allowances, he also participated in those demonstrations so that they are paid. So, what is good for the goose should be good for the gander. Parliament will not allow the abolition of meal allowances for students. We are going to fight tooth and nail and I want to warn Nkandu Luo that they will see demonstrations that they have never seen in this country if they go ahead and remove meal allowances for the children.”
Kambwili urged government to ensure that it was meeting its social obligations even as it was paying off the country’s huge debt.
“It is not about the demonstrations by the students, the truth of the matter is that this government has got no money! And I have warned people, and I want to say this again: very soon you will see teachers will not be paid for one or two months under this administration. The government is just broke…in next year’s (2019) budget, they have provided K23 billion to pay debts! This is more than the total budget for the health sector, but they have provided for it to pay debts and they are going to borrow K28 billion. Meaning, therefore, that they are borrowing to pay debt! So, Nkandu Luo must not use the demonstrations to abolish meal allowances because demonstrating is a human right to express your anger, and she cannot sit on the rights of those students. The most unfortunate part is that students go to the extent of stoning innocent vehicles, and that I do not support. But to do a peaceful demonstration to show that their meal allowances have been delayed is a human right, it happens all over the world,” said Kambwili, who is also the Roan PF member of parliament.