Govt closes Copperbelt University, orders students to leave within 24 hours

Govt closes Copperbelt University, orders students to leave within 24 hours

Students fleeing from police during the riot

Students fleeing from police during the riot

Government has indefinitely closed the Copperbelt University (CBU) with immediate effect and has given students 24 hours to vacate the premises.

Education Minister Michael Kaingu announced the closure Wednesday morning.

On June 29, 20115, University rioted over what they termed lack of seriousness in the management of the institution by the PF government. The students said they were fed up with the lack of governance direction from the PF following the continued disruption to their academic calendar, with the latest being the strike by lecturers that were demanding the resignation of the entire university management. Hundreds of students clad in black gathered at the ‘Monk square’ to observe what they called the Black Monday protest within CBU in the morning and later marched to the main entrance of the university campus while chanting slogans, denouncing the government.

The students later blocked the main Jambo Drive road using burning tyres and logs, disrupting the flow of traffic into the institution as motorists were forced to use alternative routes. Six police officers in riot gear later arrived at scene in a Land Cruiser pickup, but failed to contain the situation as they were overwhelmed by the huge number of students.

The police used tear gas in an attempt to disperse the students, but the students picked the canisters and threw them back at the officers. The confrontation degenerated into a full riot around midday as more students mobilised and charged towards a small group of police officers that was manning the main entrance to the university. Moments later, police reinforcement from various command points, including those from Chambishi led by Kitwe officer commanding Davies Simwanza, arrived at the scene to try and quell the riot. Simwanza’s team used long range propelled tear gas to push the students back inside their hostels. The situation was later brought under control after several arrests. In an interview earlier, Copperbelt University Students Union (COBUSU) acting president Miselo Mumba said the students were tired of being in an environment where they were not learning. “CBU is not a hotel where we come to pass time. This is a learning institution; we are not here for leisure. Already our vacation was extended by one month and we did nothing about it. The government has not intervened in this situation, clearly showing that they don’t prioritise education,” he said. “Now the lecturers are on strike with their own demands. For over seven months now it has been like this, interruption after another. We are fed up and all we want is to go back to class, write tests and pass or fail that’s what we came here for,” Mumba said. He said the students wanted the PF to be serious with the manner it was managing CBU

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