NDC national youth chairman Charles Kabwita says the Copperbelt University (CBU) wants to use the re-opening of the institution as a fundraising venture by slapping a K1,00 surcharge on ‘innocent’ students in the name of repairing damages.

Kabwita’s reaction came in light of the CBU’s notice requesting all returning students to pay K1,500 each as a surcharge for damaging property, a situation that had led to the indefinite closure of the institution.

“We feel that the poor students cannot, and they will not afford in this economic hardship to raise a K1,500 to pay for the damages caused. We note with concern that CBU is exaggerating the issue. We feel that their aim is to fundraise for other activities at the institution. If, indeed, the punishment is genuine, we appeal to management to lessen the fee even to K300 or K400 per student because we are talking about over 10,000 students who are admitted at Copperbelt University. And, therefore, if one was to pay K1,500 and assuming that all the 10,000 [students] paid; we are talking about K15 million. Now, what damages did the students cause, which can amount to K15 million?” Kabwita wondered.

He said the four month’s closure of the institution was punishment enough for students to have learnt a lesson.

“Can the management also be realistic? We are in a country where money is not easy to find because we have a government that has caused serious injuries to the economy. So, how will the parents for these students raise K1,500 and pay CBU? I think this is another way of saying they should not reopen CBU. And moving forward, I think the punishment, which was meted to the students was adequate for them to learn lessons. We feel that we need a private person to quantify the cost of the damage caused to the institution because K15 million is way too much! It is the management of CBU, which is now going to create criminal acts because these students want go back to school, girls will enter into prostitution to raise K1,500 and boys will enter into criminal activities of stealing other people’s property in order to raise K1,500,” Kabwita added.

He, however, condemned students’ habit of usually resorting to damaging property every time they were aggrieved.

“As youths in the National Democratic Congress, we have acknowledged the fact that students, indeed, their behaviour was not good and our appeal is that at all costs, they must endeavour to ensure that damaging institutions’ property is not condoned. But yes, a demonstration in a country like Zambia should be encouraged, but let not the youths resort to damaging people’s property and the institution’s property. But we also realise that the management of CBU has not done a good thing. We, in the NDC, have appealed to have the institution reopened and we are grateful to the Minister that his first undertaking in office was to consider NDC’s request,” said Kabwita.