The University of Zambia (UNZA) and the Copperbelt University (CBU) have been closed indefinitely and students ordered to leave the campus, Minister of Higher Education Dr Michael Kaingu announced yesterday.
Dr Kaingu said the reason behind the closures were the disturbances at the two universities which posed a threat to life as well as property.
He said this yesterday in Lusaka during a media briefing.
“Due to lack of a conducive learning environment at UNZA and CBU, it has been decided that the two universities close indefinitely and that students are expected to leave campus by midnight (last night),” he said.
The minister said it was saddening to note that students who were supposed to be future leaders were behaving like criminals and reiterated that Government would not tolerate their rogue behaviour.
“Disturbances at the universities pose a real and eminent danger to life and property at the universities and surrounding areas.
“The situation at UNZA and CBU has deteriorated and the criminal behaviour by students and known opposition activists has forced government to take decisive steps to prevent possible loss of life as well as property; the police will take necessary steps to restore law and order,” Dr Kaingu said.
He said the disturbances at the two highest learning institutions were driven by known opposition elements seeking to extract perceived political gain out of the on-going chaos.
Dr Kaingu said that the ten offenders arrested at CBU and who appeared in court yesterday were in fact not students but opposition activists.
The minister said two opposition leaders were spotted distributing t-shirts and pamphlets at several higher learning institutions, including the two universities in recent weeks.
“At Luanshya Trades Institute, known lecturers are actively distributing inflammatory literature and engaging in conduct inimical to the wellbeing of the academic life at college. These and many other actions threatening law and order cannot be tolerated any longer,” he said.
Dr Kaingu said it was regrettable that there was student trouble despite all allowances apart from the meal allowance that were delayed being settled.
“At UNZA, students were paid book and term one meal allowances on 18th November, 2015, at the beginning of term one, while part of term two meal allowances were paid on 2nd February, 2016.
“The allowance paid was K 1, 192.50 per student; this is meal allowance for 53 days out of the 90days for term two. On 1st February, 2016, students at CBU also protested against delayed term three meal allowances for the 2015/2016 academic calendar,” Dr Kaingu said.
He said it was clear from the violent behaviour that students at the universities were not interested in their academic life.