LUSAKA Province Minister Bowman Lusambo has condemned University of Zambia students who protested over management’s decision to bar them from writing exams due to unpaid dues.
And Lusambo says it wouldn’t come as a shock to discover that UPND caused the UNZA riot.
In an interview, Lusambo said it was retrogressive for students to try and burn school infrastructure which was supposed to benefit them.
In the early hours of Wednesday, UNZA students attempted to burn the Vice Chancellor’s office during a riot.
“I want to urge my fellow intellectuals out there that this infrastructure is not personal infrastructure, they are not for the Vice Chancellor Professor Mumba, these are government infrastructure and government infrastructure are people’s infrastructure. Today you can burn the office of the Vice Chancellor and tomorrow you go back to the same office for other services and you will find out that those services are not going to be offered at that critical time when you need them, because the office will not be there, you have burnt it. So it is retrogressive actually and they are thinking that they are punishing the vice chancellor, or they are punishing the management for the university of Zambia,” Lusambo said.
“I would like to say University students and other learning institutions, we are friends, we talk nicely with them and if there is an issue we do think as intellectuals to resolve those issues. When we go to higher learning institutions, we become potential citizens who are supposed to keep this country in safe hands. When you go to school, it is not only to go and pass the exams, we go to school to learn a lot of things even manners, we learn them from school. I called the Minister of Higher Education last week and we discussed and the Minister assured me that the situation at UNZA is under control.”
Lusambo said it was unfortunate that students would stage protests over unpaid tuition fees.
“It is only in Zambia where we can tolerate this type of situation where people can start rioting just because you have failed to pay their tuition. When you plan to go to school, you have to plan as a family. The family is supposed to know that we have taken our child to school and we will be ready to pay for school fees. As a government we do cushion those vulnerable families that is why we give bursaries. There are other people who have the capacity to pay for school fees. It is very unfortunate that a riot can be organized because of not paying the fees for the University. Your own fees, it is very unfortunate. We can do better than that,” Lusambo said.
And Lusambo said it would not be shocking if the UPND played a part in the protests.
“This is not new to us, I know Hakainde Hichilema and the UPND, they encouraged the gassing in our country, they encouraged the burning of power stations and transmitters. When we passed through all these things, the statement which came from our colleagues, the opposition, it was a very negative one. So I can’t be shocked to hear that the opposition are behind these schemes. If there is a hand of opposition in this then we have very useless opposition in our country. You can’t run a political party based on misfortunes of a country then you want to take advantage. The opposition that we have in this country is rotten and stinks,” said Lusambo.