National Action for Quality Education (NAQEZ) executive director Aron Chansa has appealed to Minister of Higher Education Professor Nkandu Luo to overturn the expulsion of 10 Copperbelt University students and allow them to complete their studies.

And former Zambian National Students Union (ZANUSU) president Joseph Busenga says expelling students will not solve the university’s problems.

In a statement, Wednesday, Chansa stated that the expulsions made by the CBU management were too punitive and would send the victims into poverty and destitution.

“While NAQEZ has been against violent protests by students, for whatever reasons, these expulsions of CBU students are too punitive, untimely and will send the victims into poverty and destitution. We feel the University Management should have addressed matters that provoked the disturbances as opposed to inflicting this untold punishment on the student leaders, some of whom could be victims of circumstances,” Chansa said.

“We now appeal to the Minister of Higher Education to overturn these expulsions and allow the 10
students to complete their studies. Rescinding these expulsions will also give CBU a fresh and promising start. Our view is that the closure of CBU itself has given students at CBU enough time for reflection and reformation.”

He stated that Zambians were expecting the re-opening of CBU, not threats and expulsions.

“The nation has had too much of the bad side of CBU; we plead for a break and a new leaf for this important institution. The country expects dialogue and peace at CBU, not aggression and expulsions. The whole country is expecting re-opening of CBU, not expulsions and threats. These expulsions have no ingredients to remedy the ills currently afflicting the University. The nation will now look up to the Minister, Professor Nkandu Luo, to prevail over these depressing expulsions,” said Chansa.

And in an interview, Busenga said expelling the students would not address any of CBU’s problems.

“I personally do not support that because the students’ suspensions clearly are being used as a scapegoat of the problems that are there at the university. Everything else has to be attributed to the failure by the Ministry of Higher Education and the government entirely to fund the institution. Above all chiefly, the university management itself is a problem as well as Professor [Naison] Ngoma. So dismissing the school union representatives is out of context and does not address any problem,” said Busenga.

“The university must be restored in terms of finances. And my appeal is that the government must know that the education of the students at the Copperbelt University is not merely benefiting the private individuals who are to be educated but the nation at large. Because if those students graduate successfully, they add to the numbers of those that are literate in Zambia. And that is what we need to grow at a faster rate economic wise. This expulsion will affect university or college students’ union from existing. And the effect is not only limited to the union, but to the general students because they will not have a channel of bringing out their grievances. Not all students at the Copperbelt University would want to walk and go and talk to Professor Ngoma or the management. So this is a violation, the unions have the right to express themselves.”