The students, who claimed to have been PF members, said they decided to hold the said briefing because they had lost confidence in President Lungu whom they accused of perpetuating poverty among the people.
The students from Copperbelt University, University of Zambia, Mulungushi University and Northern Technical College gathered at CBU before the university security and state police attempted to arrest them but they scampered for safety.
Intellectuals for Change chairperson Ernest Kapande said it was unacceptable for people on the Copperbelt to be buying bread at K10.
“What we are saying is that we have passed a vote of no confidence in the leadership of President Lungu. We are not only speaking on behalf of students but society at large. And we would want to correct the reputation of only protesting over our allowances, but this time as intellectuals, we have woken up to call a spade a spade.
And if anyone claims we are being sponsored, they are right, we are being sponsored by the cries of the poor,” Kapande said.
He said President Edgar Lungu should resign with a clear conscience after prayer and fasting on October 18.
“And to close in the spiritual sense, we are suffering because of [President] Edgar [Lungu]’s curse. He hijacked Mr Miles Sampa. After the fasting and praying, he should step down and repent. There is no way a family cannot manage to have breakfast. A loaf of bread at K10! Why should we be worse than Zimbabwe?” he wondered. “What are the graduates doing in government? Our pressure group shall not stop till people are given the respect they deserve.”
Kapande said the students’ lives had become unbearable because they were going for classes without eating.
“You can’t study on an empty stomach but this is what this government is subjecting us to now. Students depend on bread because the allowances we get from government are K22.5 per day and what can you buy from this money? Even cooking oil for us to have a decent meal is now very expensive. We are PF members but we think this man (President Lungu) has failed this country. Next year ,we want him to resign so that Miles Sampa or any credible PF member stands as president or risk losing the general elections lamentably,” Kapande said.
He said the students want to be the voice of society.
“As students, we can’t survive! How is the situation with the ordinary citizen? That is why we want to be the voice of the people…. We can’t allow this suffering to continue. Our campaign to remove Edgar Lungu will not stop even in the middle of intimidation,” said Kapande.