Compromised UNZASU wakes up, threatens protests

News that ordinary students are mobilising themselves to challenge the postponement of opening the University has forced UNZASU to wake up.

UNZASU President Ali Tunkara says his union has given government a one day ultimatum to address the delay in opening the institution or face protests.

Tunkara said government should quickly intervene in the matter in order to avoid a prolonged closure of the institution.

UNZA was supposed to open on Sunday, June 24, 2012 but Tunkara has been quiet until this morning when other students started mobilising themselves.
Tunkara pointed out that the misunderstanding between UNZA management and lecturers over improved conditions of service and
salaries has been there for a long time.

He told ZANIS in an interview in Lusaka that the decision by lecturers to withhold student’s results in protest against their unmet demands
would disturb the academic calendar of the university.

Tunkara noted that lecturers are indispensible to the country’s development and that their demands are justified.

He adds that government should prove its interest in promoting higher education by attending to tertiary institutions such as UNZA.

He said students were eager to see a change in the running of the institution under the new government of the Patriotic Front (PF).

Tunkara said if the impasse was not resolved by the end of tomorrow, students will stage a demonstration.

He explained that the union would organize transport to ferry students to Lusaka for a demonstration while the process of securing a permit
from the relevant authorities has already started.

But Minister of Education, John Phiri, refused to comment on the matter saying he was out in Chama.

Dr. Phiri argued that as far as he was concerned, the university was on recess adding that the institution was just facing a one week
postponement.

And efforts to contact UNZA Public Relations officer, Mulenga Musepa, proved futile as his phone was unreachable.

Lecturers at the institution withheld student’s results demanding salary increment and better conditions of service, the move that
prompted the university’s senate to postpone the opening dates indefinitely.

UNZASU leadership is on the pay roll of the PF government. Last time they were paid about K75 million to issue statements and demonstrate against the former chief Justice Ernest Sakala.

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