STUDENTS at University of Zambia and their Copperbelt counterparts shall remain without academic life until they learn their lessons against destructive and unruly behaviour that disrupts citizens’ freedom and damages infrastructure, President Edgar Lungu has said.
He said the two institutions have been infiltrated by opposition politicians with ill intentions to destabilise the country’s peace in their selfish objectives to un-seat the PF Government.
He charged that among the 23 arrested after the fracas at UNZA’s Great East Road Campus, 10 suspects failed to identify themselves as students as they were only there to masquerade as students.
He explained that the same could be said about the other learning institutions which also joined in the demonstrations including the National Institute for Public Administrations (NIPA).
President Lungu was responding to questions from Zambians living in diaspora in Italy who questioned the closure of the two learning institution, during an interactive session with the Head of State at the Zambian Embassy.
President Lungu said students must begin to appreciate tax payers and Government’s efforts in providing for their education, which monies which could be used in other priority areas such as health and infrastructure development.
He said he was aware of foreign elements at both the institutions of higher learning influencing the misconducts of students that led to the confusion and closure of the universities.
This was during a special meet the President’s dinner organized in his honour at the residence of Zambia’s ambassador to Italy, Gertrude Mwape.
“I found it prudent to close the universities so that the students can sober up. Where was the wisdom in injuring innocent students? The only way I can beat them is to close the school,” President Lungu said.
The visibly charged Head of State said he would not re-open the institutions until the students learnt their lessons in respecting the tax payers who paid for their education.
“I can assure the students that I may look to be a weak man, but I am a resolved President and my decision is final,” he said.
The President also said the Zambia Police Service must find a way of implementing the Public Order Act without making other stakeholders especially the opposition feel disadvantaged.
The President said it was time the police started providing guidance for the POA to be put into practice without making others fell they were targeted as offenders against the all fairness.
He explained that there was no way any government could get rid of a law that controlled public assemblies because then even students would believe they had the right to stone and damage private property without remorse.
President Lungu yesterday left Italy for Paris, France where he was scheduled to attend a business forum with Commerce Minister Margaret Mwanakwatwe and her Energy counterpart Dora Siliya for possible investments in the energy sector.