UNIVERSITY of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers have threatened to march to State House in protest against delayed of salaries. The lecturers who are demanding their unpaid April and now May salaries lashed out at the PF government’s failure to prioritise education. The visibly annoyed lecturers who converged in the University Senate Chamber complained that money for ‘induced’ by-elections was easily found but wondered why government fails to do the same for serious matters like payment of wages for workers.
“Tatuchindeme, twalafula apa pene mumone ifyo amakaputula yatulike kunsala. We will match to Kasaka kandalama ku State House (We have been dehumanised, we will undress so that you see how our underwear are torn because of poverty. We will match to the sack of money (referring to President Lungu’s),” said the UNZA lecturers and researchers.
UNZA acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Enala Tembo-Mwase, Registrar Wamundila Sitali and Bursar Arnold Kapambwe were at pains to calm down the exasperated lecturers and researchers who demanded that the trio write a memorandum committing to payment of the delayed wages. The lecturers and researchers took turns to offload their feelings regarding the delayed salaries.
“I know that you are worried about your so-called reputation, it’s easy to write this memo, simply write one that apologises for the delayed salaries and state that you have been promised that the government is doing everything to address the matter, what is wrong with that?” a lecturer told the deputy vice-chancellor.
“We expect the memo but to you mum, we know that you are going to discuss this issue with the humble and listening leader (President Lungu) but my concern is that when are we going to get this feedback?” asked another lecturer.
Another lecturer said, “As you meet the President, yes we are talking about salaries, but I think I am aggrieved that the educational system is being destroyed so as you meet the President ask him to come and address us or we will match to State House because we do not have representation from the ministerial position. Please we do not want the minister [Professor Nkandu Luo] here, we want the President so that we talk to him. If we say there is a by-election today, money will be found there and then and in abundance but us who are adding value to the education system of this country are not given attention.”
At this point a resolution from another group in the chamber resolved that the workers match to State House. As the gathering listened to the suggestions of matching to State House, another group responded saying, “He is probably at the Airport preparing to fly out of the country.”
The group lamented that their dignity had been watered down due to delayed payment of wages. After about three hours of deliberation, the lecturers and researchers resolved to withdraw labour. They suggested that the library, laboratories and lecture theatres be locked to ensure the everyone was on strike. University of Zambia Lecturers’ and Researchers’ Union president Dr Evans Lampi warned that any lecturer and, or researcher found teaching would be dealt with.
“I am going to close now. We are going to meet tomorrow in the afternoon. Just before you leave DVC, the union is going to continue with this meeting so you also go and have a meeting to decide to write that Memo or not but we are going to give you a parting warning. If you fear the politician, you should fear UNZALARU more, we have removed people from office before, we have removed people from vice chancellorship before so if the Memo doesn’t come, aha!” said Dr Lampi.