Government gives riotous UNZA students second chance
GOVERNMENT has pardoned 18 University of Zambia (UNZA) students implicated in a protest at the institution on September 18.
On the fateful, students at the highest learning institution took to the streets to protest the lack of elections in the students’ Union.
However, the protest took an ugly turning into a orgy of violemce, damage to property and looting.
After investigations, the University management suspended and expelled 18 students.
Education Minister Douglas Syakalima, responding to pleas from parents, extended a second chance to the students but issued a stern warning against any repetition of similar actions.
“I hope this will be the last time. Whether the Bible says 70 by 7 pardoning/forgiving, I am only human; I am not going to follow the biblical way,” he stated.
“You are pardoned. Go back to school.”
The riot, sparked by the cancellation of students’ union elections by university management, led to the arrest of 10 individuals, including five students.
Socialist Party National Youth Secretary Gabriel Banda was apprehended as the alleged instigator and is currently facing court proceedings.
And UNZA imposed a K1000 charge on the students for damages resulting from the September 18 riot.
Syakalima expressed disappointment, suggesting that the students may have been influenced by meager sums to incite the protest, advising against mixing politics with education.
He questioned why students would be swayed by small amounts when they receive allowances.
Syakalima reiterated that students from other countries like Zimbabwe were are working together in order to find solutions to build the country
“Here there is no thinking in the University, the only thing that you can do is to be influenced by a K50,” Syakalima said.
“Why do you want to be influenced by K50 or K200 when you are being paid meal allowances which was never even so.”
He urged students not to take their educational opportunities for granted.
Hudson Sakayi, speaking on behalf of the parents, expressed gratitude to the government for reinstating the students at UNZA following the expulsions and suspensions.
By Moses Makwaya