UNZALARU has further condemned the development, warning that such a move would have a negative impact on the university.
This came to light at a meeting held on June 10, 2019, where the executive committee of UNZALARU met with the University of Zambia (UNZA) management to get an update on a number of concerns that included media reports that the institution was preparing to confer the Head of State with an honorary doctorate.
In a statement, UNZALARU Publicity Secretary Moffat Moyo disclosed that the union expressed concern that the timing and reasons advanced for conferring President Lungu with an honorary doctorate degree for good governance were inadequate to satisfy the widespread indignation, ridicule and scorn the wider public would render.
He added that the current mood in the nation suggested that the idea was ill-conceived, ill-informed and lacked evidence on the ground for good governance in general and inadequate support to higher education by the current regime in particular.
“The Union inquired if media reports on the conferring of an honorary doctorate on President Edgar Chagwa Lungu were genuine. Management reported that the reports were genuine and that the process had been initiated by the Alumni Board, and that the criteria was followed and the proposal would be forwarded to Senate in line with the regulations. The Union was informed that the eligibility criteria would be forwarded for study. The Union strongly advised against the conferring of the honorary degree, as such a move would bring negative publicity and impact to the university in the short and long term. The timing and reasons advanced were inadequate to satisfy the widespread indignation, ridicule and scorn the wider public would render. The current mood in the nation suggested that the idea was ill-conceived, ill-informed and lacked evidence on the ground for good governance in general and inadequate support to higher education by the current regime in particular,” Moyo stated.
Moyo also stated that UNZALARU requested for information on how far the UNZA management had gone on securing a meeting with the Head of State as had been demanded by the membership in previous meetings.
“Management informed that the meeting had not yet taken place but the process had already been initiated. Management further reported that, so far, meetings had already taken place with Higher Education Permanent Secretary and with Secretary and Deputy Secretary to Cabinet who gave guidelines on what document to prepare in securing the appointment with the Head of state. Further, Management informed the Union that the draft of the document had already been prepared and would be shared with stakeholders, including the Union, for input in due course… The Union also raised the issue of the meeting with the Chairperson of the University Council. Management informed the Union that the meeting was being planned for the first or second week of July. It was agreed that the meeting must take place as soon as possible and that it should not be about brainstorming as the issues and progressive solutions have been already interrogated through the Remodelling of Income Generation (RIG),” Moyo stated.
Moyo further explained that the Union also stressed the need to quarterly meet the complete management structure to understand their strategy to address the deepening crisis that UNZA is going through.
“This is because the Union needs to hold Management accountable to its direction and collective mission. Such a meeting has never taken place since the new Executive Committee was ushered in office. The Union strongly feels that meeting selected principal officers during crises is not helping matters. The Deputy Vice Chancellor was advised to organise such a meeting as soon as possible. The Union further urged the Vice Chancellor, through the Acting Vice Chancellor, to re-visit the Schools and Units with the same vigour and urgency as the initial times where he was seeking audience with UNZA staff at the start of his tenure. The Union wondered why he was not giving the same attention and feedback over the review of his mission and blue prints,” stated Moyo.
“And the Union reiterated that the University should become current with Union subscriptions and medical contributions. As a result of erratic and often incomplete funding from UNZA which is deducted from members, the Union has been experiencing challenges in smoothly running its business and the medical scheme. Management said that they were working on remitting the funds in a more predictable and efficient manner. They reiterated that the institution had equally been experiencing unprecedented liquidity problems to meet its obligations on time.”