UNIVERSITY of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers Union (UNZALARU) president Dr Evans Lampi has revealed that US$3 million was paid to UNZA for an extension of the land by developers of East Park Mall but stated that the transaction smells of corruption. Dr Lampi, who paid a courtesy call at The Mast Newspapers yesterday, said there was a lot of secrecy surrounding deals with East Park Mall.
He regretted that UNZA gets very little money from East Park Mall, which is owned by private individuals.
“My advice to government can simply be that can we clean up everything. You can’t have a situation where the university is closed because of Cholera. The pipes got rotten; the top floor could not have water. There are projects at the University of Zambia, for instance hostels, that have been abandoned and people are keeping quiet. We have unfinished projects and yet we are spending all our energies on East Park Mall, which is not ours,” Dr Lampi said.
He said there was an extension of the lease of East Park Mall from 25 years to 50 years.
“And talking of East Park Mall, there was an extension of the lease from 25 years to 50 years. This has never been announced to the general public. Secondly, $3 million was paid to the University of Zambia for an extension of the land, which they have. This $3 million is part of the $1 million they spent on a Printing Press [that UNZA Press recently acquired] but the whole thing smells of corruption,” Dr Lampi said.
“Where do you pay $3 million for all that land including roads inside? I sit on the University Council, these questions have come up before, they are saying it’s part of the PPP (Public Private Partnership) but the university gets very little money from East Park Mall, it’s owned by private individuals, so there needs to be some explanation. And I don’t know why all this secrecy around the deals with East Park Mall.”
Dr Lampi lamented the lack of adequate funding to UNZA by the government.
He noted that first Republican president Dr Kenneth Kaunda who did not even possess a university degree managed to set up universities which 50 years later were being sabotaged
“We are totally confused as a nation. With any serious government education and health are a priority because they underpin the rest, the economy and the activities of the nation. If people are not educated, then we have a problem,” Dr Lampi said.
“I get surprised, president Kaunda who didn’t even have a Degree came up with the idea that we need to have our own universities and this is over 50 years later, but now you are just undermining that entire thing. This English which I am using, that’s school, Mathematics, that’s school but they just say us we are just going to build roads. There is nothing wrong with roads but you must understand, for instance who are the people supervising the road works, are they not Civil Engineers from the University of Zambia? Who are the people doing mining engineering in the mines, it’s the University of Zambia.”
He reminded the PF government that the departure of Dr Kaunda was instigated from UNZA following his administration’s actions to the learning institution.
“There is no other university which has the School of Mines in Zambia, now I think Copperbelt University is doing something there…I don’t want to be political but I do not know where the leaders are taking us,” said Dr Lampi.
“They should ask Kaunda what happened to him when he messed up UNZA, he was removed from office, those 90s riots came directly from UNZA but my appeal generally is that there needs to be a little bit more seriousness in respect to allocation of funds and prioritisation of what we are spending money on in this country.”