A burning hostel at October block which houses female UNZA students
A burning hostel at October block which houses female UNZA students

The University of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers’ Union says it is gravely disturbed and shocked by the Zambia Police Service’s summoning of its officials over the recent student unrest at the University of Zambia.

On 16th October 2018, the leadership of UNZALARU received phone calls from two officers who identified themselves as Elizabeth Mbewe, the Zambia Police Assistant Director for Crime Investigations Department and Mr. Kabamba from the Anti-Fraud Unit.

Assistant Director Mbewe and Mr. Kabamba proceeded to summon the UNZALARU Vice-President, Dr. Andrew Phiri, and the UNZALARU General Secretary, Dr. Kelvin Mambwe, to separately appear before them the following morning to answer questions about “the recent events at UNZA”.

Union General Secretary Kelvin Mambwe says it appears that instead of owning up to the fact that they caused and are ultimately responsible for the crisis that led to the recent student demonstrations, the government and the police service have embarked on a fishing expedition aimed at finding someone else to blame.

Dr. Mambwe said the root causes of the student unrest are evident: failure of the Government to pay students their meal allowances on time or to timely explain to them when they would receive their stipends; the suspension of student union activities by the Minister of Higher Education, which affected the flow of communication between the authorities and students; and the heavy-handedness of the Police, which resulted in the tragic death of a female final-year student, Vespers Shimuzhila.

He confirmed that UNZALARU honoured the Police’s request yesterday and at the interview, it became apparent that the police were ill-informed about the purpose and makeup of UNZALARU.

Dr. Mambwe said some officers were convinced that UNZALARU represents students when in fact the Union only represents academic staff.

He said the Police asked them what they know about the outbreak of the recent protests by UNZA students, if UNZALARU leadership had helped organise the student protests.

And Dr. Mambwe said an article written by Austin Mbozi, a University of Zambia lecturer and UNZALARU member, criticising among other things the Police’s management of the student protests, has been used as an excuse to detain him.

“The Police appear to be frantically searching for evidence to link his article to the organisation of the protests. We were asked about what we knew about the same but provided little information, other than a copy of the same article that the author shared with Dr. Phiri, three days after the protest occurred, since the Union is not responsible for policing the thoughts of our members on issues of national concern”. He added.

Mbozi has been in police custody since Monday, detained at Woodlands Police Station without charge and the Union has called on the Police to release him immediately, or formally charge and present him before the courts of law.

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28 COMMENTS

  1. Release Austin Mbozi, he is an innocent man. Stop brutalizing innocent people and accept responsibility

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    • Christians for lungu release mbozi, detaining someone more than 48 hrs without charge is criminal, today is day of reconciliation, who are you going to reconcile with?

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    • DUE PROCESS. I HAVE HIGH RESPECT FOR POLICE. THEY RUN THROUGH CRIME SCENES AND ROUND UP SUSPECTS PROCEDURALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY. ONCE YOU ARE FOUND WANTING, ANOTHER DUE PROCESS FOLLOWS, THE COURTS. LEGAL BATTLES ENSUE WHERE IT IS 50/50 DEPENDING ON DYNAMICS OF LEGAL PROCESS VARIATIONS.
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      Now calm the hell down. What we have always speculated to have happened at UNZA could be proven wrong. If postmortem was done on that poor little innocent soul, police could have a lead. Sela boma ibombe. Already I can see some twisting signs.

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    • Let the police investigate free from interference. If they are guilt they are and should be punished.

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  2. An investigation is always inclusive…..that is if you want to get the truth. Choosing who not to interview is not helpful. Lets see if the summoning of these individuals will have any bearing on the proccess.

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    • What s wrong with a lecturer condemning police for using inappropriate force on students? Remember he is not only their lecturer but he is like a parent to them. Look at how police manhandled tayali at the courts yesterday, ripping his cloths in pieces in the name of protecting him.this police should learn to handle situations appropriately.

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    • I don’t pray just because someone has said so. Right now I am supervising construction of my flats. It’s you who needs special prayers to free you from the evil spirit that has engulfed you with endless bitterness. You are the people spreading false rumors that the ZP is killing an average of 50 persons per day. My sister in Oregon asked me about this and I just told her that if the USA hasn’t said anything about it then it’s false.

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  3. Release Austin Mbozi you dictators, all that for writing an article in a democracy really, Imbwa izi za chilamo manje, now they are busy trying to arrest innocent people for their failures

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  4. Release Austin Mbozi you d!ctators, all that for writing an article in a democracy really, !mbwa izi za chilamo manje, now they are busy trying to arrest innocent people for their failures

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  5. With all due respect, at times you people in leadership make me lost. why spend resources on something whose answers you already have? Students riot was one thing, the way the riot was managed is another. of the two, which one caused the death of a student? two wrongs never make a right. If there is someone govt should have taken to task over this death are the police. can we begin focusing on real issues and stop wasting the already fewer resources.

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  6. HH must discard GBM. The guy was out of scene and upendi developed bit of sanity

    Soon as guy resurrected you saw what happened kuli ka tayali at the court.

    PF under lungu is failed project but combination of gbm and hh is nauseating.

    Imwe ba upendi change your top leadership

    And you ba PF change your top leader .

    Let us not play politics with people’s lives

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  7. Leaders with immunity from prosecution commenting on issues like these be in
    forefront addressing this issue,

    This is one of those time to exercise your constitution given right. Police and Zambian needs answers.

    Vespers Shimuzhila, “it is the last straw that breaks the camel’s back”,

    We are watching listening for you to say never again.

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  8. “1. He confirmed that UNZALARU honoured the Police’s request yesterday and at the interview, it became apparent that the police were ill-informed about the purpose and makeup of UNZALARU.

    “2. Dr. Mambwe said some officers were convinced that UNZALARU represents students when in fact the Union only represents academic staff.

    “3. He said the Police asked them what they know about the outbreak of the recent protests by UNZA students, if UNZALARU leadership had helped organise the student protests.”

    So Mr UNZALARU, you have answered your own questions. Can you answer mine: How do police investigate if they don’t ask questions? Do you know that some of your members may be the culprits? I would sympathise with you if the police squeezed your sweaty sme.lly b.alls. Is it a question…

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  9. Machende yanu! bafikala. For you if someone does not agree with your stupidity then he is an automatic enemy. Letthe lecturers alone mwembwamwe! Ati reconciliation with whom are they reconciliating with. They hit someone under the belt and quickly say lets reconcile; barbaric thoughts of proven satanists hiding behind the church and Ministry of Religion. These political charlatans are a big let down to the creation and God will punish them abundantly.
    What a disaster!!!!

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  10. Don’t be disturbed mukosefye. Kapokola alamoneka umungulu nga mule nyela amasushi mwibumba. Appear separately before the very senior officers. Alone answering questions not when asked a question you also ask ati me???

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  11. what are police investigating here, the cause of the riot or the cause of death? They dont know what they are looking for poor police

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  12. flag Corruption scandals: Social Security Cash Luxury Presidential Jet Ambulances Fire Trucks Mukula Trees Ndola-Lusaka Rd Malawi Maizegate Fuelgate Swaziland landgate Zesco Loans

    So Austin Mbozi is still around, kicking it and still writing political commentary articles. I used to enjoy his articles in the defunct The Post… The Paper That Digs Deeper back in the day, under FTJ. Like him or loathe him, Chiluba was an angel compared to this tyrant thief Lungu. At least FTJ tolerated some level of criticism and The Post flourished then, and parliament debated real issues and the civil society, workers and students unions were strong and offered real checks and balances. Today Lungu does whatever he likes and is occasionally only concerned about outside forces, and with Trump eliminating any American world moral ‘police’ legitimacy and standing, it means that outside, external forces are nonexistent.

    Question is who is going to investigate these police…

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  13. flag Corruption scandals: Social Security Cash Luxury Presidential Jet Ambulances Fire Trucks Mukula Trees Ndola-Lusaka Rd Malawi Maizegate Fuelgate Swaziland landgate Zesco Loans

    Question is who is going to investigate these police numskulls for their cold murder of that student?

    Please leave innocent people out of it and for once admit your faults and accept blame. Please release Austin Mbozi.

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  14. On the chosen national day of prayer, it is befitting to ask students not to abandon communication channels because they were established for good reason. It is also appropriate to remind faculty to lead by example as students are young and still vulnerable to negative influences, such as radicalism, violence and terrorism. It is indeed befitting to ask government officials to shoulder responsibilities by adhering, upholding and promoting the highest professional standards, integrity and honor. Together means success and divided means fail.

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  15. The death of the student at unza is as a result of a careless police officer who tear gassed the hostel where the student was. Therefore, i expect them to investigate who among their officers did that. Stop intimidating innocent zambians.

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  16. What is a frauds officer doing investigating the death of a student. Keystone cops comedy at it again.

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  17. These erring lecturers should be retired in National Interest. They occupy sensitive positions that can be abused to create insecurity. Let them enter the political arena instead of putting young men and women’s lives at risk under cover of being professionals. If it looks like a goat and smells like one, it’s most likely a Goat.

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  18. I’m former UNZA student of the infamous 90’s, Lecturers in my day attacked ideology when it came to politics but never the Government of the day let alone disrespect the President, something that even we didn’t do. Unfortunately Multi Party politics equates to Tribal politics and a culture of insults in Zambia even among professionals. Sad.

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