All ring leaders who masterminded riots at the University of Zambia (UNZA) and Copperbelt University (CBU) will be expelled, says Minister of Higher Education Dr Michael Kaingu.
Dr Kaingu said this yesterday in a statement that all those who were identified and names submitted to the Ministry as the ring leaders of the violent protests would be expelled.
This is one of the conditions which must be followed by the universities management to have the two institutions of higher learning reopened.
Other conditions include the installation of security cameras, the use of student cards, and the signing of a commitment form pledging not to indulge in violent protests.
Dr Kaingu said this in Parliament when he delivered a ministerial statement on the state of the two universities which were closed indefinitely last month.
‘’All ‘ring leaders’ identified in the violent protests are to be expelled. The installation of security cameras and for students to sign up a commitment form pledging not to indulge in violent protests’’, he said.
Dr Kaingu said that security must be stepped up to regulate people who get in and out of the institutions and the sealing of all porous areas around the universities’’ he said.
He said that all students who are on government bursary will be surcharged for the damage caused during the riotous and meal allowances have since been cancelled.
And Government has discontinued the payment of meal allowances to students at UNZA and CBU.
Dr. Kaingu observed that the payment of meal allowances had been abused and had over the years been a source of unrest at the two universities.
He said Government would however continue to pay tuition, accommodation and project allowances to the universities.
“We will not continue with the payment of meal allowances at UNZA and CBU, because it has been observed that this has been a source of confusion at the two universities,” Dr. Kaingu said.
He said the Higher Education Loans and Scholarship Board Bill had been finalized and was expected to be operational in January 2017 after adoption by Parliament.
Dr. Kaingu also disclosed that Government intended to reopen the two universities on April 10, 2016, and has however, stated that the reopening would be subjected to the universities meeting some conditions.
Some of the conditions are that students would be made to sign a commitment form to pledge not to indulge in violent protests among others. Dr. Kaingu warned that any university that would not meet the conditions would not be reopened.
“We intend to reopen the two universities on around 10th April, however the universities will be reopened on some conditions. The council and management of the two universities will be expected to meet the conditions we have set.
“They should ensure that sufficient and effective security measures are put in place to regulate the entry and exit of these universities and also ensure that all students are made to sign a commitment form,” he said.
Dr. Kaingu further noted that Government was overwhelmed by the volumes of letters of apologies from student bodies, saying that it was an indication that students were remorseful and a lesson has been learnt from their mistakes.
He said that the decision to close the two universities was regrettable and that it was not Government’s plan to continue to keep the two universities closed.
“From the time the universities were closed, my ministry has received numerous representations involving students’ union leaders and various stakeholders for us to consider reopening the universities.’’