The ruling Patriotic Front (PF) has said that it regrets the death of a University of Zambia (UNZA) who in a riot, which rocked the institution on Thursday night when one of rooms at the student’s hostels caught fire, as students and police fought running battles, from 22 hours into this morning around 01 hour.
In a statement released to the media, PF Secretary General Davies Mwila has called on upon the Police command to thoroughly investigate what exactly transpired and ensure that justice prevails.
Mr Mwila further appealed to the students populace to exercise maximum restraint as their Government has heard their cry and will respond accordingly, adding that rioting and disruption of public order is not the right way to express their grievances and that there were several progressive avenues available that students can and must use to express their concerns to management and government respectively.
Below is the full statement
1. On behalf of His Excellency President Edgar Lungu and the Patriotic Front and indeed on my own behalf I would like to convey our deepest condolences to the family of Ms. Vespers Shimuzhila, a 4th year student in the school of education at UNZA who tragically died around this morning due to reported teargas suffocation in her room during the protest by students at UNZA great east road main campus.
2. It is deeply regrettable that such a young and promising life could be lost in an avoidable circumstances.
3. We call upon the Police command to thoroughly investigate what exactly transpired and ensure that justice prevails.
4. We wish to make a passionate appeal to the students populace to exercise maximum restraint as their Government has heard their cry and will respond accordingly.
5. We further want to remind our intellectuals that rioting and disruption of public order is not the right way to express their grievances. There are several progressive avenues available that students can and must use to express their concerns to management and government respectively.
6. Violent protests are retrogressive and counterproductive to the student’s cause. Violent “vivas”are a stain to our intelligentsia. Violent “vivas” steal away the trust, confidence and admiration that society places on your heads as intellectuals.
7. As a party, we are not naive to know the fact that there are irresponsible and unpatriotic political elements who unabashedly sponsor or aggravate students’ unrest for selfish political capital. And as a party in government we would like to caution the student populace not to fall prey to such machinations but to instead look at the greater picture and focus on their education.
8. Education is not only the best equalizer but it is the foundation and cornerstone of social and economic advancement.
9. Our commitment in the provision of quality and affordable education remain unrivaled. This can be attested by numerous schools, colleges and universities that we have built since coming into office in 2011.
10. I would like to end by assuring the students that your caring and patriotic government has heard your cry. Do not despair, remain calm and await government’s urgent response. To the family of our late daughter, our late sister and indeed our late comrade, Vespers, may healing hand of our Lord Jesus Christ console you in this hour grieve and pain. May Vespers’ soul rest in eternal peace.
Hon Davies Mwila
PF Secretary General