Copperbelt University Academics Union (CBUAU) general secretary Willie Ngosa has appealed to President Edgar Lungu to sack his Higher Education Minister Professor Nkandu Luo for failing to manage the higher education sector.

Reacting to Prof Luo’s remarks that UNZA and CBU lecturers who feel neglected by government should resign and find better jobs, Ngosa stated that the Union was ready and willing to sit down with her discredited management to negotiate the packages for voluntary separation.

He also appealed to the Head of State to intervene in the salary stand-off, pleading for her dismissal over her failure to manage the higher education sector with academic focus.

“We dare her to find the resources so that the lecturers may have their written contract of service lawfully terminated as provided by the Employment Act Cap 268 of the laws of Zambia, section 36 sub-section (c). The Union is ready and willing to sit down with her discredited management to negotiate the packages for voluntary separation as and when she makes money available to pay off the Unionised lecturers! We shall not be cowed by Professor Nkandu Luo’s tantrums and baseless threats by demanding for what is rightfully ours – the salary,” Ngosa stated.

“We, the University lecturers, value education and are prepared to stay in our country due to our patriotism to the cause to ensure our beloved Zambia prospers by having an enlightened and educated labour force. We shall not fall for her bluff that we resign as that will be a betrayal to the Zambians. Instead, we are calling on her to voluntarily resign her position on moral grounds, both as a Cabinet Minister and as a member of parliament, for Munali constituency, which is where the University of Zambia is located. The UNZA workers are actually her constituency members and for their vote, her repayment is to discard them at an hour when they need her most. “Insoni e Buntu”. Should Professor Nkandu Luo fail to resign on her own due to her hyper self-praise, then we are pleading with His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu to relieve her of her duties so that she can pursue her own life as a private citizen.”

He stated that if Prod Luo did not resign, lecturers would start ignoring her as Minister of Higher Education.

“We are also fully aware that she and her companions want to recruit lecturers, but which normal human being will be ready to work under her conditions of employment for ‘no pay or you go?’ No one! In addition, if she does not resign, we shall ignore her as Minister of Higher Education because she has always been against academic members of staff! Who knows, maybe she is Minister against Higher Education,” Ngosa stated.

“The Copperbelt University Academics Union (CBUAU) is appalled by Professor Nkandu Luo’s statement on Hot FM dated 1st April, 2019. It is really a sad day for academic excellence in this country, especially that it is coming from one educated to that level and which calls for her to resign her position for lack of management skills and academic focus! In this regard, we are totally in support and reiterate the CBUAU vice president’s call that she should be relieved of her duties for underperformance. Professor Luo’s tantrums can only be likened to a parent who has failed to provide for his/her children and then tells them that they can move out if they are not happy with hunger at home! Such statements can only come from a compassionless and selfish individual,” Ngosa stated.

Ngosa insisted that Prof Luo’s remarks were equally an insult to academic members of staff at the two public universities, adding that her hostility towards UNZA and CBU had become a source of concern.

“The Minister’s statement is a sign of her ignorance on how public universities operate, and this is extremely pathetic! It’s amazing that an individual with her level of education can have no idea that UNZA and CBU are public and grant-aided institutions! And as public universities, she must know that the government has an obligation to meet a significant portion of her two university’s financial needs. Her statement is, therefore, an insult to the academic members of staff at the two public universities and we condemn her in the strongest terms possible! Her continued hostility towards staff at UNZA and CBU is a source of concern, especially that it is coming from an academician. With self-praising leadership, our country cannot attain the much-needed development, especially in the higher education sector. Instead of her calling for lecturers to resign, she should be the one to resign on moral grounds for failure to manage the Ministry of Higher Education!” stated Ngosa.