THE Government will continue paying meal allowances to Copperbelt University (CBU) and University of Zambia (UNZA) students, with a call for a disciplined crop of students at the two institutions.
Chief Government spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili said at a Press briefing in Lusaka yesterday that the Government did not scrap the meal allowances for students at the two public universities.
The two universities were closed on February 3, this year, due to persistent unrest over delayed payment of meal allowances.
The Government attributed the unrest to political influence and had since set conditions for the two universities to enable them re-open, which mainly included enhancement of security features.
The two institutions are set for re-opening on April 24, this year.
Mr Kambwili, who is the Information and Broadcasting Services minister, said Higher Education Minister Michael Kaingu had indicated that if the students continued with their riotous behaviour, the meal allowances would be withdrawn.
“I wish to inform the nation that Government will continue to provide meal allowances to students when the two universities re-open,” Mr Kambwili said.
He said that appropriate disciplinary action would be taken against erring students.
The minister said United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema should not use the disciplinary action on erring students to gain political mileage.
He said the students should be disciplined in order for them to grow into responsible citizens who would contribute meaningfully to national development.
Mr Kambwili also said the Government was aware that the UPND was parading economists with the aim of discrediting Government’s efforts in improving the economy.
He said the remarks attributed to Mr Hichilema on gains in the Kwacha in the Sunday Post last weekend were misleading the nation.
Mr Kambwili said the opposition leader was discrediting the Government and portraying himself as a “messiah” of the country’s economic challenges.
He said the gains in the local currency were resulting from President Edgar Lungu’s credibility and maturity in the way he presided over the economic affairs of the country.
Mr Kambwili said the Government under the Patriotic Front (PF) leadership had attracted huge investments such as the K1.1 billion from Glenco.
He said the Government had maintained dialogue with mining firms, with a view to arriving at a favourable mining royalty tax.
Mr Kambwili said the UPND should concentrate on disciplining its vice-president Geoffrey Mwamba who had continued to insult innocent people on social media.
He said the party should question the kind of leadership the UPND would provide if they were voted into political office.
Meanwhile, the University of Zambia (UNZA) senate has set April 24, this year, as the official day for full-time students at the institution to resume lessons.
Higher Education Minister Michael Kaingu had earlier announced that UNZA and the Copperbelt University (CBU) were expected to reopen yesterday.
UNZA public relations manager Damaseke Chibale said the senate sanctioned the date in accordance with the academic calendar and that the two weeks beginning yesterday, would be used to attend to part-time students who are resident at the institution.
Mr Chibale said under the standard academic calendar, full-time students went on a two-week recess to allow for long distance students to receive the prescribed services from the institution.
“April 10, 2016 had been set as a target date for the two universities to meet the conditions for re-opening.
“The senate met and set 24, April as opening day. This is to pave way for part-time students who had not been affected by the universities’closure to meet the course coordinators and handover their assignments,” Mr Chibale said.
Mr Chibale said all full-time students had been informed of the changes in opening date.
When reached for a comment, Dr Kaingu referred all queries to Ministry of Higher Education Permanent Secretary Owen Zulu who said that the two universities had done their part in meeting the set conditions for reopening.