A multitude of University of Zambia students yesterday protested over government’s failure to pay lecturers their January and February 2020 salary arrears.
Angry students started by disrupting some of the lectures which were ongoing and gathered at the graduation square, demanding that the Vice Chancellor Professor Luke Mumba addresses them on the state of affairs.
“We want the headmaster (Vice Chancellor) to come and address us now. We are appealing to you our headmaster that come out from that office of yours and address us. We shall count from one up to 10 and if you fail to come out, we shall come and drag you out of that office. We have no Wifi, we are not learning and you cannot continue to be quiet. We have paid our tuition fees and we shall not allow this go slow. Come Mr Headmaster now because we are waiting for you,” They students shouted sending panic among security guards.
After few minutes, UNZA Professor Mumba came out of his office but before he could say anything, then students demanded that addresses them from the Monk Square and he obliged.
In his address, Mumba appealed for calm saying management was doing everything possible to address the issues affecting lecturers.
“Thank you for inviting me to be here. Now for a University to run, the most important inputs are the students. We are all here because of the students. Number two, for University to run, we need the students and members of the staff. Number three, for University to run we need the infrastructure. Number four and the last one, for University to run, it needs funding. Now, we have the students here, isn’t it? Now, we seem to have a slight challenge with the staff. Isn’t it? We are aware that a number of classes are not going on and the reason why those classes are not going on is because there is the issue of funding. Now, the University has different sources of funding, we receive funding as a grant ok? We have the fees from yourselves and we also have income generating ventures that we have. Therefore, we have funding from the fees that you have paid as self-sponsored students and we are still waiting for the funding for the fees of
government sponsored students. We are still waiting for the fees and we are still waiting for the grant. So it is those two factors that have created the challenges that you are seeing and so because of this, my management and Senate are hoping that this challenge would be resolved between now and Monday,” Prof Mumba said.
“So, if, if ,if…because we are doing everything possible to address these problems, if by Monday we don’t have a solution, Senate is going to meet and make a decision on the way forward. So please I am appealing to you to remain calm. WiFi will be installed today and so you will be informed once the Senate meets to talk about these issues okay? Remain calm and I am appealing to you all.”
And earlier, UNZASU president Mumba Junior said if lecturers were not paid by Tuesday, students would meet to chart a way forward.
“As students, we demanded that the VC should address the students regarding the issue of the go slow. Lecturers cannot continue to work without salaries and we the students can not suffer the consequences
because we have paid the tuition fees. We demand that whatever, what the management has with the government should be resolved by the two parties because as students, we shall not allow this to continue. Our appeal is that let government pay the lecturers so that classes can continue. As students, we will wait till Monday and if nothing is coming out then we shall meet as students and plan the way forward,” said Mumba.