UNIVERSITY of Zambia Lecturers’ and Researchers’ Union president Dr Evans Lampi has asked the government why it is pushing the Bill 10 on the throats of Zambians.
And UNZALARU members have resolved to halt the examination processes due to unpaid salaries.
In an interview following Parliament’s deferring consideration of the controversial Bill 10 to February next year, Dr Lampi said the draconian law being imposed on Zambians through Bill 10 would backfire.
Acting justice minister Stephen Kampyongo told the House last Wednesday afternoon that there was no sufficient time to debate the Bill hence the deferment.
Kampyongo said deferring the Bill to next year was not a sign that the Executive is scared of losing the vote but that it was confident the Bill would pass.
But Dr Lampi yesterday said the union felt that Bill 10 was unsound and should be withdrawn without reservations.
“The position of UNZALARU still remains the same…if you remember carefully, we were one of the first entities in the nation to raise concerns about the contents of the Bill, the intensions of some of the clauses for instance, the introduction of positions of deputy minister when the country is broke, removal of equallness under the law of all the religions and another major flag had to do with removing retirees from the payroll and the issue where civil servants have to resign two years before hand in order for them to stand [for election] as if they are not Zambians,” Dr Lampi said.
He added that Bill 10 does not have a human face as it classifies certain individuals in society as second-class citizens.
“Our position is simply that they just withdraw the bill, it is flawed. You can’t make laws to simply suit yourselves whilst you are in power; you should look at it at least 100 or 200 years ahead, that’s the way we are looking at this issues. UNZALARU’s position on Bill 10 has not changed, we still feel that it should be withdrawn and start again or just leave it for now,” he said.
“When the NDF was created, the original reason was [that] they were supposed to have an interparty dialogue before NDF was created and the main issue was to look at the problems between political parties and all that violence that goes on with it. How it turned out to be a Constitution making entity is still a mystery. They even passed a law that if you don’t attend, you can go to jail, what kind of Constitutional making process is that? They didn’t come to the people of Zambia, they just invited each other…for instance, UNZALARU was not invited and then made resolutions and try to pass them in Parliament!” Dr Lampi said.
Dr Lampi insisted that it was not the process that was the issue but the content of Bill 10.
“We are totally against it and moving it to February wont change anything. I know that the select committee had refused certain clauses in the Bill but we know that in Zambia votes are on party lines, they don’t even properly caucus so what is going to happen is that the PF, with a few independents will vote one way and the UPND will vote the other way and therefore there is no meaningful debate you can talk about. We find this very weird; that let’s not talk about the contents but the process, how? The content is the issue, why are you pushing the Bill on the throats of the Zambian people? And you see that thing will bite them pa last because what happens if they don’t win the elections and then you have such draconian laws? This is what happened before where people made laws to try and fix others and when they are out of power they start crying.”
Meanwhile, UNZLARU says its members would halt the processing examination results until their salaries were paid.
“At the meeting of University of Zambia Lecturers’ and Researchers’ Union membership held at the University of Zambia today, the 9th of December, members resolved that they are not going to process the results of both examinations and generally all results due to the fact that we have not been paid,” Dr Lampi said.
“This has become a pattern, the entire year salaries are late, especially to University of Zambia. We feel that this cannot continue and as of now, we are resolved that until salaries are paid we have stopped processing the results. The powers that be should act on it.”