Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD) president Charles Milupi says government should stop threatening UNZA lecturers and just pay them their money on time because they have worked and earned their dues.

In an interview, Milupi said there was no need for UNZALARU to apologise to government because there was nothing wrong with what the Union said.

Last week, Higher Education Minister Dr Brian Mushimba demanded a public apology from UNZALARU after its general secretary Dr Kelvin Mambwe expressed sentiments that only idiots would vote for the PF following government’s delay to pay lecturers their December salaries.

Subsequently, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security gave the Union 48 hours to show cause why they should not be deregistered.

“On that one, there is no need for an apology whatsoever. The Union represents their members and from time immemorial, unions have always represented the best interest of their workers and members. And part of those interests is to be remunerated for the work they do and to be paid on time. And it is from these remunerations that they are able to live their lives and the lives of their family members and so on. Now, when you have a situation where the employer is no longer able to or willing to pay on time, the Union has to take a stance and they have taken a stance. But in Zambia, the reason why things are grinding to a halt is because of governance issues,” Milupi observed.

He said it should not worry government that only idiots will vote for them if they knew that they had delivered to Zambians’ expectations.

“What government should do is to respond to the issues of the Union than threatening them. They should ensure that they pay the lecturers. We should have freedom of expression in this country. They have said ‘only those who are enjoying will vote for PF’ or those that are mentally disturbed. Now, if they know that they are running a government that is doing well, what’s the panic [about] because they should know that the majority will vote for them? Universities are institutions that spearhead independent decisions, including students themselves. So, instead of threatening them, just pay them! So, that union man (Dr Mambwe) gave what would be a normal statement,” Milupi argued.

He also said the government had no funds to pay lecturers because of its poor governance.

“The reason why there is no money to pay those lecturers and unions is because of governance issues. It is because of the failure to run an economy that benefits all. And some of these failures are deliberate. People get involved in corruption deliberately. It is not that they have no brains or they have not taken the right decisions; they have done things to drive the economy down. And that union represents ordinary people and those people have families. We heard from their statement that, ‘we have suffered enough out of this PF and, come the next opportunity, only those that benefit from them or those that are mentally disturbed will vote for them.’ What is wrong with that?” wondered Milupi.