(By Charles Tembo in Kitwe)
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says he may close down the Copperbelt University and the University of Zambia if riots continue. President Lungu, who is on a three-day working visit on the Copperbelt, sounded the warning when he inspected the rehabilitated Zambia Institute of Business Studies and Industrial Practice hostels in Kitwe yesterday morning. He said government would firmly deal with students at both UNZA and CBU who were engaging in riotous behaviour. President Lungu said he was concerned with the behaviour of students of using violence to demand for certain incentives. However, President Lungu expressed happiness on the works done by Zambia National Service.
“Same goes on vandalism. You can’t have children coming from good homes to destroy property in that manner I have seen, no! We need to change with the mind right from home.”
“We will deal with them (students), don’t worry. If it means closure, we will. I was sad to see the extent of the damage. Even if it’s closure we will close,” President Lungu said.
He said no amount of vandalism on public infrastructure would be tolerated. And President Lungu said he would not hesitate to fire individuals spearheading inflated cost on public infrastructure. Earlier when President Lungu commissioned the first phase of the expansion of Mukuba University in Kitwe, Prof Luo said she will crack the whip on students and lecturers who misbehave.
Prof Luo said she does not care how much she is criticized because she has bullet proof.
“Let me say it here Your Excellency, that I am extremely disappointed with the conduct of students at CBU. I will crack the whip on students or lecturers who misbehave,” Prof Luo said. “There should be discipline. University is not a place of riots. Even the lecturers are supposed to be advisors and not critics. Even if they complain about me in all the radio stations, I have bullet proof and they can talk the way they want.”
Prof Luo said CBU and UNZA had become so comfortable.
“Let me state how disappointed as minister [I am] by the students. Students have misbehaved at CBU and I am very disappointed. CBU and UNZA has become so comfortable and they have the audacity to go and break things since they will be fixed,” she said.
Meanwhile, Prof Luo said President Lungu’s vision had given hope to the people.
“Thank you, Your Excellency, for your vision that this university should focus on Science and Mathematics. A country that has not invested in Science and Mathematics will not develop. Your vision has given hope to the people,” said Prof Luo.
And President Lungu described Prof Luo as an iron lady.
“…On the issue of students, I will not say much because the iron lady has said it all. But if you don’t have a whip, stop scaring people. Nga tawakaficite nishi uli wacabehabe (if you don’t implement then you are useless). Because many say this and don’t do it. Hope you stand by your words,” President Lungu said.
“Let me assure that I want to assure quality livelihood for the Zambian people. The PF wants to transform the lives of the people and the better way is bring education to the people. We want education that responds to the needs of the Zambian people.”
The expansion of Mukuba University started in 2009.