FORMER University of Zambia Students Union (UNZASU) vice president Charles Simusokwe has urged students to prioritize education and avoid involvement in political issues.

He said the students needed to identify the priority of being at the university which was to acquire an education; he added that there was no benefit for them to be used as tools of violence by political parties.

‘‘It all goes back to the students; they need to understand the reason that they are on campus. Education is the cornerstone of all aspects of development, so they have to treat education with the respect it deserves,’’ he said.

The former UNZASU vice president also urged politicians to spare students in their political wrangles and misunderstandings.

He urged Government to dialogue with the students and all concerned parties to figure out the way forward for the current situation at the two universities.

‘‘I feel dialogue is the cornerstone to all conflict resolutions, if they are to resolve, we need to put our grievances on the table and discuss with the concerned parties;  in this case UNZA management and also the students’ union,’’ he said.

Mr Simusokwe said it was unfortunate that it was revealed that the violence was connected to some political parties.

He added that it was wrong for politicians to use students in inciting violence and damaging property against innocent people.

‘‘It is unfortunate that there are even images that have revealed, and have been put to public consumption now, where we see some political party leaders with some faces of people in the same demonstrations, if you put the pieces together it just tells you one story – that it is a fact that certain political parties are also involving themselves into these fracas,’’ he explained. He said it was wrong for the students to resort to breaking vehicles as it was the same owners of the cars who paid the taxes that were used to sustain them.

He added that it was unfortunate for students to subject innocent Zambians to such treatment when they were committed to paying taxes.

‘‘And when they go to the roadside to break vehicles, it is the owners of the same vehicles who pay taxes used to pay the students for meal allowances and book allowances, project fees and so on; so punishing innocent Zambians is really unfortunate,’’ he added.

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