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Education minister has no power to disband student unions – Mwanza

THE higher education minister does not have authority, according to the University Act, even to halt operations of UNZASU, says Antonio Mwanza.

 

Mwanza, a former University of Zambia Students Union president, said UNZASU and other unions were establishments of an Act of parliament hence the minister had no authority to halt their operations, let alone scrap them off.

 

If you look at the university Act, which was established in 1987 and later amended in 1992, the higher education minister does not have authority to even halt the operations of the UNZASU because UNZASU, and all other unions like the Copperbelt University Students Union, is an establishment of an Act of Parliament,

Mwanza said during Radio Phoenix’s Let the people talk programme today.

 

He said it was irrational for anyone to suggest scrapping off student unions and that the suggestion by higher education minister Professor Nkandu Luo was political.

 

So it is clear that the issue to scrap off students unions is more political than academic. It has got nothing to do with the unrest at universities because the issue of unrest at universities has nothing to do with UNZASU or COBUSU but has everything to do with the failure of government to do their thorough duty of providing students and universities with money, policy guidance and so on,

Mwanza said.

 

He said there was an attempt to silence students activism. He noted that in the past, vocal student union leaders had been expelled and or suspended in an effort to curtail their role as voices for the voiceless.

 

So why I said it’s political is that, it is clear that there is an attempt to curtail students activism. There is an attempt to stop students from airing their views and this has been happening from time immemorial when students who are vocal are always expelled or suspended or unions suspended by those in government who are not comfortable with having a union, which is raising issues that are affecting everybody,

said Mwanza.

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