INSTITUTIONS of higher learning such as universities have been infiltrated by politicians who are inciting students to riot and be violent with the hope of causing chaos so that the country could become ungovernable, President Edgar Lungu has said.
President Lungu has warned that violent behaviour in institutions of higher learning was a recipe for anarchy and chaos, the vices he said could easily make the country ungovernable.
The President said he was not going to take violent behaviour from students lightly because he was aware that some of the students in colleges and universities were being used by politicians.
President Lungu said he refused to meet CBU student leaders while on the Copperbelt because he wanted to make them realize that discipline was of paramount essence in learning institutions.
President Lungu has however warned that he was not going to allow institutions of higher learning to be turned into political battlegrounds where students were being made to fall prey to machinations and manipulation by some political leaders for political expediency as the country was heading for the general elections in August.
“Institutions of higher learning have been infiltrated and students are being incited to riot and get involved in violent activities over flimsy grounds.
‘‘It is worrying that schools of higher learning are being encouraged to riot and be violent over trivial issues but there is need to be united and maintain peace in this country,” the President said.
He warned students of severe action if they did not guard against being manipulated by political leaders preying on them to gain political mileage by causing confusion in colleges and universities.
President Lungu said it was worrying that institutions of higher learning were being infiltrated by what he termed divisive political elements who were inciting students to engage in violent acts such as rioting.
He said he had objected to the appeal for reinstatement by the Copperbelt University (CBU) students who were suspended for riotous behaviour because the Head of State had the responsibility to ensure that there was peace and unity in the country.
President Lungu said this yesterday at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) shortly after arriving from Copperbelt where he had gone for the United Church of Zambia (UCZ) Golden jubilee celebrations.
The President said delayed payment of allowances could not have been the reason for the students to have resorted to riotous behaviour at the Copperbelt University.
“About 80 of our students at CBU were rioting and throwing stones and when they were suspended they wanted me to reinstate them and I am saying ‘no’ to that kind of behaviour. We have a duty to keep peace in the country,” he said.
He warned that he was not going to tolerate violent behaviour among students and advised parents to take responsibility over their children whom he said were lucky to be admitted to higher learning institutions.
“The delay in the payment of students’ meal allowances could not make the students riot and start destroying property and harassing motorists.
‘‘Students should focus on their education and if there is an issue between management and the students, they should have taken it easy because two wrongs never make a right,” President Lungu said.