FORMER University of Zambia (UNZA) vice chancellor Professor Luke Mumba says he cannot comment on the termination of his contract because he doesn’t know why it was terminated.

On Friday, the University of Zambia terminated the contract of vice chancellor Professor Luke Mumba and deputy vice chancellor Dr Tamala Kambikambi.

Reacting to this in an interview Prof Mumba said he needed time to reflect.

“It is true, yes! I am not going to answer that, this thing has just happened, I don’t know why it has happened. I think you need to give me time to reflect on it. If you have questions you should ask the people who wrote me that letter. I am not able to give any comment, it is too soon, maybe at an appropriate time I can make a comment,” said Prof Mumba.

And University of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers Union (UNZALARU) general secretary Kelvin Mambwe said while the termination of Prof Mumba and Dr Kambikambi’s contracts was welcome, it was insufficient to deal with the many challenges being faced by the University.

“It is a welcome move except that it does not deal with the management situation at the University. UNZA is not run by two people, it is run by a team of officers. If what the government saw was a problem in the management of the University, what they needed to do was to deal with the entire team that runs the University and not just the two. As a Union, we have put up our position before calling for their removal because of how they have mishandled many of our issues as members of staff. For example, they promoted a draconian code of conduct that would have seen taking away academic freedom in the University,” he said.

“As you know, the University is supposed to be very independent in terms of thought production and also airing its views. This freedom was going to be threatened had it not been for the Ministry of Labour coming in. And again, there were other issues that we thought were very wrong because this management led by Professor Mumba lacked vision. We had issues on how they were appointed in the first place, how their contracts were procured. So as unions, we had called for their removal and we welcome that except that we are uncomfortable that only two have gone, we expected the entire management of principal officers to go, so that when a new team comes it will be totally a new team.”

He called for transparency in the appointment of a substantive vice chancellor at the institution.

“Another issue is replacing these two. We are expecting the process to be transparent. A process that will put the desired leaders of the University. Political considerations, for example, we don’t expect whoever is going to be appointed VC to have any political links with the government in power. Let whoever is going to be appointed be appointed on merit, to be appointed on proven record elsewhere, what have they achieved elsewhere because UNZA is an institution with a lot of challenges, which will require a transformational leader. A leader that can change what exactly is happening in order to take it back to its glory days. So no other considerations apart from merit,” said Mambwe.