PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has said Government will not be forced to re-open the University of Zambia (UNZA) and the Copperbelt University (CBU) until students demonstrate maturity.
Mr Lungu said here last evening that the behaviour of students at the two institutions lately had been unacceptable and a source of concern for everyone.
He said this when he addressed Zambians based in Rome at the residence of Zambia’s Ambassador to Italy, Gertrude Mwape.
The President, who was accompanied by First Lady Esther Lungu, Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba, Zambia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Muyeba Chikonde, and other Government officials, was responding to a question on the Public Order Act.
He said the Act was necessary for the maintenance of order in the country, and appealed for views to modify it if there were any concerns in its enforcement.
“This is a good piece of legislation and we should all find better ways of enforcing it. The police should not be afraid of doing the right thing.
“If we didn’t have this law, people would be behaving in ways that are not good for the country. Students would be demonstrating and causing anarchy at will,” Mr Lungu said.
On concerns about the energy crisis which has resulted from the current drought, he said his administration was considering alternative sources of energy.
He said the Government was eager to improve the lives of people, especially women in rural areas who were the most affected by the crises arising from the effects of climate change.
Mr Lungu said he did not want to blame anyone for Zambia’s economic hiccups, but to seek ways to remedy the situation.
He said measures had been put in place to better maintain the Kariba Dam, adding that the Government was also grappling with ways to come up with cost-reflective tariffs.
“But we will not wean our people from the subsidised rates overnight; we will embrace a gradual process,” he said.
In response to Justin Ndhlovu who expressed concern over high unemployment in Zambia, particularly among the youth, President Lungu said the Government was determined to create quality jobs for all the citizens.
He said the key priority for the Government was to attract progressive investors who would help broaden the employment platform.
“Our resolve, however, is to encourage skills training which will result in sustainable jobs. Under my leadership, I will ensure that the diversification programme is carried out successfully,” he said.
Chairperson of the Zambian community in Italy, Kennedy Katongo praised the President for maintaining peace and steering massive development projects in the country.
Father Katongo said Zambians in the diaspora were excited with the newly-signed Constitution which had provided for dual citizenship as it would stimulate investments from citizens living abroad.
He urged Mr Lungu to promote political dialogue and ensure there was no violence before and after the August 2016 general elections.
Fr Katongo called on the Government to help Zambians in Italy in the various challenges they face such as in the renewal of resident permits and the marginalisation that stemmed from the migrant crisis across Europe.