UNIVERSITY of Zambia (UNZA) Vice Chancellor Professor Luke Mumba has warned employees against airing their grievances in public media, stressing that failure to comply would result in disciplinary action.

In a letter dated 8th July, 2020, Prof Mumba said the university had provided adequate frameworks through which employees could air their concerns.

“University Management has observed with great concern the tendency by university employees to air their concerns or grievances in the public media. The University of Zambia is a public university established under the Higher Act 4 of 2013. Arising from the nature of our incorporation, we are all public workers of the Government of the Republic of Zambia. Given that public representation made by employees of the University of Zambia without clearance from the University Management could potentially bring the government into disrepute I caution therefore that any employees making such representation will face the University’s disciplinary action,” said Prof Mumba.

“Be reminded that the University of Zambia has provided adequate governance frameworks through which employees could air out their grievances. These include the University of Zambia Disciplinary and Grievance code, the Whistle blower policy and the Sexual Harassment policy. Be guided accordingly.”

UNZA management has recently come under fire from the University of Zambia Lecturers’ and Researchers’ Union (UNZALARU) over its decisions, as staff went to the press to air their grievances.

In April this year, UNZALARU wrote a letter to Professor Mumba, asking him to cancel out the appointment of Dr Jackson Mwanza as Dean of Students because of alleged irregularities that accompanied his selection to the management position.

And UNZALARU said it was disappointing that at a time when the institution was grappling with inadequate funding from the central government, Management, decided to create a totally unnecessary position of UNZA Spokesperson.

In a letter dated 2nd April,2020 UNZALARU president Dr Evans Lampi said the appointment of Dr Mwanza to the position of Dean of Students Affairs violated the university values.

“There are two reasons why we refuse to stand by and watch you or any member of the University slaughter with impunity the essential values of this public institution that we all love and why we insist that the appointment of Dr Mwanza must be reversed with immediate effect. The first is that Dr Mwanza never applied for the position of Dean of Students. Instead, he was simply invited for formal interviews for the position alongside two other academic members of staff. These are Prof. Boniface Namangala from the Institute of Distance Education and Prof. Osbert Sikazwe from the School of Mines. Like Dr Mwanza, both Prof Namangala and Prof Sikazwe never, at any time, applied for the position of Dean of Students. Even more odd is that the other two interviewees do not qualify to be considered for the position in the first place,”wrote Lampi.

“The second reason why we believe that the appointment should be revoked is that the failure to do so would create a terrible precedence and institutionalise wrongdoing in the recruitment of staff to our esteemed university. Already, we are disappointed with how Miss Brenda Bukowa, another of our colleagues who is a lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, was recruited to the position of UNZA Spokesperson without any formal advertisement for the position. The University already had the position of UNZA Public Relations Manager, occupied by Mr Chibale Damaseke, when the post of UNZA Spokesperson was created. At the same time, the University also had the position of Deputy Public Relations Manager, one that was occupied by Mr Mulunda Habenzu, so if it was felt that Mr Chibale is ineffective, why was he not relived of his duties and his deputy promoted? If both Mr Chibale and Mr Habenzu were deemed ineffective, wasn’t dismissing and replacing them with more competent professionals the most cost effective way of dealing with their incompetence?”