The Copperbelt University (CBU) has suspended about 80 students following the riots that erupted on Thursday night over students’s allowances. Meanwhile, students have not been paid their project, accommodation and meal allowances some of which have not been paid from last September.
The students suspended are all union leaders, that is all student representatives, including Copperbelt University Students’ Union (COBUSU).
CBU public relations officer Grace Malunga said the action taken against the students’ council was because of its failure to provide leadership, as they were supposed to seek permission before demonstrating. The students were demonstrating against management and government but according to Malsunga, they were supposed to get permission from the same people they were ‘fighting.’
She said the affected students were asked to show cause why further disciplinary action should not be taken against them.
“They are free to appeal against the suspension to the vice-chancellor, and management’s position in view of the students’ disturbances is that the university is not going to close and necessary measures are being taken to ensure that whatever caused this instability is addressed,” she said.
CBU students on Thursday night rioted and blocked public roads within the range of the campus with burning tyres and logs.
The protest by the students who were demanding payment of project, accommodation and meal allowances, dragged on until yesterday morning when riot police quelled the riot.
Police had a tough time all-night long, fighting running battles with the students.
Reacting to the suspensions, COBUSU president Humphrey Mwenya, said his union won’t accept the suspensions but that the only thing everystudent will accept is payment , ‘putting food on the students tables.’ ‘Anything other than this is not welcome and as students we won’t allow any retrogressive decisions that worsens and does not address the situation and problems the institution is facing,’ Mwenya said.
Mwenya said COBUSU condemns riots but emphasised that there is no such crime as failure to provide leadership ‘and be informed that the suspension for the more than 80 students is illegal. Government and management should ensure that we are paid as soon as possible. Nothing will prevent us from getting what is due to us.’