I make reference to the words attributed to UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema in your esteemed paper of 19 January 2016 on the challenges at the Copperbelt University.
Whereas no challenges are insurmountable, I find his accusations to be too simplistic especially that he hasn’t told us to what extent there is breakdown of education system in Zambia caused by the Patriotic Front (PF).
I challenge Mr HH to tell the nation how many times the students have rioted in the last 10 to 15 years. Is the frequency increasing or is it going down? What are the main reasons for the riots? How often are the students interacting with political players now compared to 10 to 15 years ago?
The party in power that is being accused has been in-charge of the State affairs for the last four years and those who follow the events at the two institutions of higher learning, namely CBU and UNZA, will attest to the fact that what they are going through now is as a result of the previous governments not planning adequately. Remember, failure to plan is planning to fail.
The challenges at the CBU cannot be solved by politicking. They need serious planners and strategists to maximise the potential of each and every resource at the institution.
Let’s turn such institutions into self-sustaining ones instead of relying on political will.
The best brains of the land are found at such institutions and yet there is nothing to show as sustainable strategy.
Other than waiting for the Ministry of Finance to release funds for their sustenance, let the key players at the institution begin to think outside the box. Let them show us what they are made of.
Resorting to riots and damaging people’s property will not help in resolving the many challenges being faced by the institution.
From my stand point, I want to blame everything on politicians especially the desperate ones for taking advantage of mob psychology in their belief that they would win the sympathy of the affected students.
If only politicians can stay away from such institutions and allow all the internal processes to be exhausted, the mayhem we are seeing today will be a thing of the past.
The bottom line is that institutions of higher learning have been turned into political battlefields instead of fields for intellectuals where future leaders ought to be groomed.
The delay in paying staff salaries and student allowances cannot be the only reason for the perceived breakdown of the education system in Zambia.
Everyone knows that some challenges are as old as the institution itself and most of them are older than the four years that PF has been in power.
It is one thing to condemn the systems but it is another when you are put in charge and you now understand how Government systems operate.
Whereas I sincerely feel for the suspended students, I put the blame squarely on politicians especially the desperate ones.
Rioting and damaging of property is bad behaviour which should not be reinforced in any way, be it politically or otherwise. I believe the institution has got internal processes that can be used and exhausted to the letter without interference from political players.
I urge all political players to help in depoliticising these institutions instead of condemning the systems for political mileage.