KITWE district commissioner (DC) Chanda Kabwe should name the opposition political party that was involved in the disturbances which occurred at the Copperbelt University (CBU) two months ago when students rioted over non-payment of meal allowances, Copperbelt University Academics Union (CBUAU) vice president Alex Mwango has said.
And Mr Mwango has said the 12 students who have been expelled from the university were unfairly punished because the procedure of expelling a student was not followed, adding that most of them were innocent.
He said during a press briefing yesterday at CBU that Mr Kabwe should come up with evidence pointing to certain opposition political parties’ involvement in the disturbances which occurred at the CBU when students rioted over non-payment of meal allowances.
The CBUAU vice president was reacting to the statement by Mr Kabwe that some opposition leaders were involved in the disturbances which occurred at CBU which led to the closure of the institution.
Two days ago, expelled CBU students presented a written petition to President Edgar Lungu, through the Kitwe DC, asking the republican President to have mercy on them. The DC cautioned the expelled students not to allow them to be used and dumped by desperate politicians who could not help them when things got worse like the situation was after being expelled.
But Mr Mwango said it was sad that Mr Kabwe was always accusing opposition leaders of fuelling confusion at CBU without providing evidence and even stating which political party was involved.
“The DC should be truthful and come up with facts whenever he is making his statements. We have challenged him to name the political party involved and also provide evidence, but he has not done that.
“Instead of providing evidence, he is just saying it is the opposition political parties. Even us, as lecturers, we would not like to be used by politicians to bring confusion at the institution. No, we would not like that because the consequences are not so pleasant,” Mr Mwango said.
And Mr Mwango has said CBU might record poor results because of the disturbances that rocked the institution more than two months ago when the students rioted over non-payment of meal allowances.
He said the situation at CBU had not returned to normal because a number of things like meal allowances have not been paid to most students. As a result, they were missing classes to go and look for money for their upkeep. He said following the expulsion of their colleagues, most of the students were gripped with fear and were failing to ask for meal allowances from management.
“So if most students are missing classes to look for money for food, then the institution may record poor results. The Government should show concern as the students were surcharged K100 each. Therefore, they have the right to access meal allowances.
“We, therefore, appeal to the Government particularly the permanent secretary, Mr Mgemezulu, to pay students their meal allowances so that they can concentrate on their studies. On May 30, 2016 sessional exams begin and end on 17th June 2016, hence this matter is most urgent,” he said.
And Mr Mwango has said the 12 students who have been expelled from the university were unfairly punished because the procedure was not followed, adding that most of them were innocent. He said the right procedure of expelling a student was to lay a charge against them and later ask them to exculpate themselves. Instead, the students were expelled immediately after their names were picked.
“Those 12 students were expelled after their names were picked. They were asked to come and pick up a parcel which turned out to be a letter of expulsion, but that is not what is supposed to be done procedurally.
“The procedure is that when a student commits an offense, the security lays a charge against the student and he is asked to exculpate himself. He is also asked to come with witnesses, but in this case, the expelled students were just expelled,” he said.