Green Party President Peter Sinkamba has charged that the Copperbelt University (CBU) and other public universities are in current dire straits because Higher Education Minister Professor Nkandu Luo is running public universities like “utuntemba”.
Mr. Sinkamba wondered why Professor Luo has been running CBU without a substantive university council for many years. He says running a university without a substantive council is like running a “kantemba”.
“Per Section 25 of the Higher Education Act of 2013, a university council is responsible for the governance, control and administration of a higher education institution. The core mandate of a university council is to act in the best interest of the higher education institution at all times. The council is mandated to provide for the welfare of the staff and students. It is also mandated to initiate the removal from office of the Vice Chancellor and the Deputy on grounds of misconduct or inability to perform their functions of the offices. These functions are key to smooth running of a university. So, where a university council is non-existent, a university is literary dysfunctional, and subsequently the best interest of a higher education institution greatly suffers,” Mr. Sinkamba said.
“Take for instance the case of the Copperbelt University. It has not had any substantive university council since 2015. The university has been running on a care-taker committee since then. It has been on dire straits for three years in a row, with closures one after another. The university opened last week after almost four months of premature closure. As at this morning, no classes are running. Lecturers are on go-slow and planning to go on a legal strike any day this week or so. Government sponsored students have not yet been paid their bursaries. I understand that they are unlikely to get paid anytime soon. I understand that government is expecting the students to use the bursary payouts of four months ago, or so. Are you sure that students have kept the bursaries after being thrown out in the night from the university? Put simply, Prof Nkandu Luo is running CBU like a ‘kantemba’. I foresee another closure. It is looming. It is really so disgusting that the university is consistently running on dire straits for three years?” he said.
Mr. Sinkamba reiterated his earlier call for President Edgar Lungu and intervene per provided under the Constitution since his Minister has failed to provide leadership in the running of the institution.