UNZA lecturers are angered that in spite of instructions from President Edgar Lungu, the Minister of Education Dr. Michael Kaingu has failed to open dialogue with them on how Government intends to settle the K340 million owed to them.
“We wrote to the President who referred the matter to the minister, but to date he has made no effort to discuss the matter with us,” University of Zambia Lecturers’ and Researchers Union (UNZALARU) general secretary Jason Mwanza has said.
The union has now mantained that unless the matter is resolved it will not release exam results, a move which may lead to the institution not reopening as scheduled on 4th October, 2015.
He said UNZALARU was not asking Government to pay the whole figure at once because the debt was too big but that the union was only seeking a commitment that it would pay the debt within a specified time because it had taken a long time to address the issue, while the debt continued accumulating.
“We know that the amount of money involved is quite substantial because it has accumulated over many years. All we want is an assurance and scheme on how the money will be paid.”
Mr Mwanza explained that the union was still waiting for a response from the ministry over a letter it wrote concerning the debt that Government owed the lecturers.
Mr. Mwanza said as long as the two parties did not meet the results would be withheld because the dues had continued to swell over the years.
He explained that UNZALARU had earlier written to President Lungu to raise their concerns over the debt and that it was directed to table its issue with the Ministry of Education.
He explained that the union would continue to wait for Government’s intervention to iron out the stand-off before the institution is opened.
“You may be aware that we wrote to the President over the same issue some time back and we were asked to engage the Ministry of Education so that we could find a common ground but it has been two weeks now from the time we wrote the ministry and we have not yet been given any feedback.
What we are waiting for right now is the ministry to get in touch with us so that we can sit down and address the issue,” Mr. Mwanza said.
“We are waiting for Government’s action but at the moment, we have heard nothing from Government, but we hope they will get back to us to resolve the matter. We have written to the Ministry of Education but it is more than two weeks now, and the ministry has not responded,” Mr Mwansa said.
He explaine that if the status quo continues, the students would not receive their results as earlier agreed.
“There should be commitment to breaking down the indebtedness. So, it is that commitment to breaking down the indebtedness which we are not seeing and if that remains unresolved, students won’t have the results,” he said.