(By Charles Tembo in Kitwe)
LECTURERS at the Copperbelt University have held protests and vowed never to return for work until their February and March salaries are paid. A check at CBU found lecturers and other staff members dancing and singing demanding their salaries. Copperbelt University Academic Unions and Allied Workers president Dr Derrick Ntalasha said the lecturers were tired of assurances from management and government.
“As we speak now, the protests continue because people have not been paid and we don’t work for assurances. People have waited for long and we can’t continue to wait for assurances,” he said.
“Today is 25 (March) and nothing is coming. How long are we going to be waiting and this is March. A day after tomorrow is a new month and we want our March salaries. So we demand that we want both salaries for February and March. Otherwise these protests will not stop. If government has not done anything about it, this place will come to a standstill. People are protesting and do not want any of this nonsense of no money. If money for by-elections have been raised, we should also have money for education.”
Dr Ntalasha said lecturers were tired of the “nonsense that if we protest then it’s political.”
“We don’t want this nonsense of instead of the Minister of Higher Education [Prof Nkandu Luo] responding to us on our plight, she is accusing us of being political. We can’t be political if people are paid. Salaries are a right and people need to be paid their dues. We have been getting assurances all this month. We just want the money, no assurance will stop the protest,” said Dr Ntalasha.
Lecturers at CBU and UNZA have not been paid their February salaries. Meanwhile, CBU students fought running battles with the police.
The students took to Jambo Drive blocking the roads demanding the government to pay the lecturers so that classes can resume. The students in their numbers blocked the main entrance with burning tyres and logs. Police came in firing teargas to disperse the rioting students but the teargas proved ineffective because of rains in Kitwe. The students vowed to continue with their riots until government paid lecturers.