The opposition MMD on the Copperbelt has supported the decision by University of Zambia (UNZA) students to stage peaceful demonstrations over the sharp increase in the price of fuel following government’s move to withdraw subsidy on the commodity.
And in Lusaka MMD Lusaka Province Youth chairman Watson Mtonga said the action taken by UNZA students was a warning to the PF sympathizers that Zambians are bitter at the way issues were being handled in the country.
Copperbelt Provincial publicity secretary Yotam Mtayachalo said the protest was justified and hoped the PF government would reconsider the move.
Mr Mtayachalo said it was an indisputable fact that the cost of living since the PF government assumed power had been escalating at an alarming rate as government had opted to subject its people to harsh living conditions.
He said this was evidenced by the ever rising prices of mealie meal and other essential goods including the high cost of transport which was now beyond the reach of majority Zambians who live on less than a dollar per day.
The opposition leaders said the students’ decision to protest was commendable as it might force government to resolve the issues to the people’s expectations.
“We hope other high institutions of learning will join this noble cause because any hike in the price of fuel has ripple effects on the economy and the ordinary Zambians.
“We want however to advise the students that while it is within their democratic rights to demonstrate, the student’s union should ensure that the demonstrations are peaceful and do not lead to violence and destruction of private and public property,” he said.
Mr Mtonga said PF should take this as a serious warning adding that people were angry with the way the government was ruling the country.
“People are bitter with the high cost of living influenced by the removal of subsidies on mealie meal and fuel which affects the household food baskets,” he said.
Mr Mtayachalo said Zambians should brace themselves for more hardship and high cost of the staple food following government’s removal of maize subsidies and the pending increase of the already high electricity tariffs by ZESCO.
He advised the PF government to cease the use of its the adopted phrase of “pro-poor government” because its actions suggest to the contrary.He said Zambians would have to suffer for putting a government in office that was only interested in spending money on non- priority areas like induced by elections, bloated Cabinet size and many other irrelevant areas.