Lecturers at the Copperbelt University who went on strike have vowed to remain on strike until their demands are me.
The lecturers downed tools, demanding the resignation of vice-chancellor Professor Naison Ngoma and the entire management, whom they accused of mismanaging the university
And Copperbelt University students have boycotted classes, demanding that the government pays, in full, their book and meal allowances.
Announcing the decision to down tools at a press briefing yesterday, Copperbelt University Academics Union president Mwiya Songolo said the set up of the university was that it must be run by committees but instead of promoting such committees, Prof Ngoma had been running the institution by decree.
“Our sufferings at the hands of Prof Ngoma and his team have not started today; we have done everything that was required to be done. For so many times, we have sat at a table with management to dialogue but they could not lend us a listening ear as regards our conditions of service and we have been bringing feedback to our members. As things stand today, we have to carry out what our members have demanded and that is a vote of no confidence in CBU management.
The entire management must leave office because they lack academic focus,” Songolo said. Songolo said, among other issues, Prof Ngoma and his management took the lecturer workload policy to the council for approval without passing through the respective committees of the university. He said the recently ratified Copperbelt University statute was thoroughly consultative by the university stakeholders but it was disappointing that the document was doctored and passed to the university council for approval without the stakeholders’ submissions.
“Prof Naison Ngoma and his management further drafted the alcohol and drug policy and before it could be subjected to the university stakeholders and approval by the university council, management had already gone ahead to purchase breathalysers in readiness for implementation.
Prof Ngoma has taken the university council for a rubber stamp. What the vice-chancellor knows is that, he supervises the university council and not the other way round,” Songolo said. “As academicians, we have been asking for laboratory equipment and the IT (Information Technology) teaching aids but management could not buy citing poor funding from government. Now, if there is poor funding from government, why has management been able to buy breathalysers, which we do not need for teaching? This is lack of focus on academic work.”