The belligerence and violence demonstrated by students at higher learning institutions is not only a worry but a major concern for the quality of individuals and ultimately graduates produced by these institutions.
The admission by UNZA union officials of not so invisible political hands playing a role in the strikes and riots exhibits a misplacement of values among our politicians who pursue power to the very bitter end. But as in all cases, the small minority of agitators precipitates a crisis that affects many, many others who have little or nothing absolutely to do with the conflict.
It is therefore important that management, ministry officials and indeed security agencies undertake a thorough review of the circumstances and conditions that gave rise to strikes on the Copperbelt, UNZA and NIPA.
The ring leaders of these demonstrations must be black listed, never to be enrolled or entertained at these learning institutions.
Any damage to property at the universities and indeed any other damage to property belonging to members of the general public caught up in the conflict must be fully compensated and those responsible held accountable to repair and restore.
The students union itself must also be take to task for allowing mass demonstrations that invariably attract mob psychology resulting in ugly incidents.
The union leaders must take it upon themselves and act as brave bridges between the student body and management to forestall conflict and broker agreement when the situation so demands.
The demand for meal allowances or indeed any other financial contribution from government must be seen the larger context of government funding which has come under tremendous pressure following dismal performance of our economic mainstay- copper whose price has fallen to the lowest possible levels.
This has compelled government to scout for additional income that will not impinge on global indebtedness and fiscal responsibility.
It is for this reason that salaries have been delayed and some projects have been put on hold because the government can only disburse that which is available in its coffers because doing otherwise would be catalyzing inflation.
It is quite possible for government to print money but this would be a temporary solution where more empty money would be chasing fewer commodities. This is the situation that must be avoided by ensuring that any money in the economy is fully supported.
It is true most economies amongst developed countries are mired in huge public debts but this is done with the assurance that sufficient good and services would be produced to bridge the breach.
We do not enjoy such luxury, hence the need to be cautious.
It means that even the students must be patient and tolerant as the government mobilizes for funds.
This is not helped by riots and other violent manifestations.