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Lusaka Apex University disowns its lecturer

LUSAKA Apex Medical University has disowned its lecturer, Philistone Nyirenda, who is accused of causing two female students to fail their exams after they refused to give in to his sexual advances.

In this matter, Sandra Mubanga and Carol Saili, who are pharmacy students, have sued Apex Medical University as the second defendant for allowing Nyirenda to continue invigilating their exams not withstanding their complaints of sexual harassments.

The two are seeking a declaration that Apex Medical University breached its contractual obligation to provide a conducive learning environment when it failed to consider their complaints of sexual harassment against its employee [Nyirenda].

Mubanga and Saili claimed that Nyirenda, a lecturer and head of laboratory department, caused them to fail their exams after they refused to give in to his sexual demands.

In their statement of claim, Mubanga and Saili claimed that sometime this year, on several occasions, Nyirenda made various sexual advances towards them but they refused to give in to his demands after which he promised and threatened them that they would fail their exams if he did not have sex with them.

The two said that when exams commenced, Nyirenda ensured that he invigilated the students. They alleged that Nyirenda had accused them of having sexual relationships with other lectures in the exchange of passing exams in full view of other students in the exam room.

The complainants contended that the first defendant would order other invigilating officers to conduct a body search on them on the pretext that they had leakages, during the entire period of their exams causing them mental anguish and embarrassment.

Mubanga and Saili said they reported the matter to the university but nothing was done prompting them to request the learning institution to permit them to sit for deferred exams but all their efforts proved futile.

But the university in its defence denied having employed Nyirenda as its lecturer or as head of laboratory department at the university.

Apex denied claims by Mubanga and Saili that they reported a case of sexual harassment to the university but no action was taken.

“The second defendant will at trial aver that the report received from the plaintiffs were of a different nature and not sexual harassment and further denies the claim that the university did nothing in response to the report,” said the learning institution.

“The second defendant denies that the plaintiffs went back to the Dean of Faculty due to the persistent conduct described (above).”

Apex denied the claims by the students that it breached its contractual obligation to provide a conducive learning environment as well as proper administration of exams to them.

The university brushed off claims by Mubanga and Saili that they have suffered loss and damage and denied each and every allegation as the same were traversed seriatim.

Apex is counter claiming an apology and retraction of the false claims made by the complainants on prime TV and that they should use the same platforms to render an apology.

“The plaintiffs caused to be published on Prime TV news which was aired on October 2, 2019 and subsequently on other print and electronic media, falsehoods about the second defendan,” it said.

The university said that the false statements by the students have caused its reputation to be unjustly harmed.

Apex University contended that the statement was defamatory and caused the university’s students and general public to lose confidence in the learning institution and had brought its business into odium and contempt.

The University wants damages for loss of reputation and Economic damages arising from the plantiffs actions, costs and ant other reliefs the court may deem fit.

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