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Chihana urges govt to rescind school fees increment

THE government of President Edgar Lungu has made history by being first in milking the simple people of their little and hard earned wages and this is not fair, cries Bishop Simon Chihana.

And bishop Chihana says raising school fees now is inhuman and not acceptable.

Bishop Chihana, the International Fellowship for Christian Churches (IFCC) president, said the sudden increase of school fees from K1,000 to K1,500 annually shows that the government had no consideration for the vulnerable that already had been struggling to pay the existing amount.

Bishop Chihana, whose church supports and educates a number of vulnerable children, said he was shocked that learners had been given an increment note without prior discussions on the matter.

“The raising of school fees by the government is very inhuman and therefore not acceptable. The government is clearly telling the people of Zambia that they don’t have feelings for the majority of the population of Zambia who are wallowing in heavy poverty with just a little or totally nothing in their pockets to get by. When you consider what most general workers receive as monthly wages and the cost of school fees, it is extremely far fetched,” he said. “The school fees have been raised from K1,000 to K1,500 annually, and most of the workers get a K1,000 and less monthly and possibly has an average of five children and plus some orphans or even some grandchildren whose foolish father is not responsible in taking care of them,” Bishop Chihana said.

He urged the government to reconsider its position on the increment of the school fees, further suggesting a drop to K500 per child, and which must also be paid in two installments.

He told the government that the more it has a society that is not educated, the more it would be creating a monster of social problems right in people’s backyards.

“Government must reconsider its position of increasing the school fees and drop it to K500 per child. And it must be paid in instalments of two. Government must know that the more they have a society that is not educated, the more they are creating a monster of social problems in our backyards. Every child must be given an opportunity in school and a reasonable government consider the plight of its people by looking at all possible ways of how to alleviate poverty.”

Bishop Chihana further said President Lungu and his cabinet must revisit the position they have taken to increase school fees and be considerate to the suffering Zambian masses.

He added that it was extremely hard for individuals like him to be silent when he was witnessing how people were suffering.

Bishop Chihana suggested that if possible, the government should make education and medical care free for all underprivileged persons.

“The government of President Lungu has made history by being the first government which has made its people pay heavy taxes in many ways, milking the simple people of their little and hard earned wages and this is not fair.

President Lungu and his cabinet must revisit the position they have taken and look at the suffering masses of the Zambian people,” Bishop Chihana said.

“In the Holy Bible, we have a story of the son to King Solomon, who took over the reigns after his father Solomon died. King Rehoboam, son of Solomon, brought about a revolt in the Kingdom of Israel because he vehemently refused the counsel of the elders and chose to listen to his peers, who encouraged him to triple the taxes in the land. According to the scriptures in 1 Kings 12, King Rehoboam told the people of the land that….’ My father treated you with the size of the finger and I shall treat you with the size of the waist…’ This made the people revolt and the Kingdom was divided into two, because of heavy taxes the king charged the people. Human beings are the same everywhere and Zambia is not exceptional,” said Bishop Chihana.

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