Home Columns The Sad Reality of UNZA Law School

The Sad Reality of UNZA Law School

ZIALE where the pass rate is 3%
ZIALE where the pass rate is 3%

By Dickson JERE, ACIArb, LLB, LLM, MIP, AHCZ, Dip.Journalism

Out of the 384 students that sat for the Legal Practitioners Qualification Examinations (LPQE) for 2018 at the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (ZIALE) only 4 cleared all the ten courses. Of the four, non is from the prestigious University of Zambia Law School. I call it prestigious because it has produced the creme de la creme of Zambia’s legal luminaries.

For example, all the three Organs of the State are headed by products of the UNZA Law School, namely, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu (Executive), Speaker Dr. Patrick Matibini (Legislature) and Chief Justice Irene Mambilima (Judiciary). And as a bonus, we even have Emmerson Mnangagwa (President of Zimbabwe) as part of the long-list of the UNZA Law School alumni.

Until 2010, only UNZA graduates were eligible to enroll at ZIALE. It took President Rupiah Banda and his Vice President George Kunda, SC to push for the amendments to allow students from private universities to enroll at ZIALE.

I was one of those who supported the move even though I am a UNZA product. I thought it was time to open up the sector, after all UNZA Law School could not absorb all the aspiring lawyers. But even with the opening up of ZIALE to others, students from UNZA Law School outperformed the rest, always topping the list of those called to the Bar to the extent that the rest were treated with scorn! Some lecturers would giggle if wrong answer is given by a non-UNZA graduate. UNZA was a measure of intelligence at ZIALE! But not anymore – going by the recent trend.

Where did it go wrong?

One of the attributes of the good performance of UNZA students was the quality of lecturers it had. Most of them had been teaching for many years like my workmate Prof Patrick Mphanza Mvunga, SC. Then suddenly, there was a policy change introduced at the UNZA Law School which banned lecturers from private law practice. They had to choose either to go and practice the law or teach the law. The rationale was to allow students have wider access to their lecturers outside of the classroom hours.

But quite a number of good and experienced lecturers left UNZA as a result of that policy shift, including State Counsel Prof Mvunga and John Sangwa. Another crop of lecturers actually migrated to University of Lusaka (UNILUS) where they beefed up the law school there. Even though these people were replaced with equally qualified lectures at UNZA, without much ado, experience can never be replaced!

So UNILUS picked a number of them and started to slowly develop a formidable law school to compete with the mighty UNZA. And then UNILUS saw a gap with the ZIALE training.

Students who leave university with academic mentality finds it hard to pass ZIALE. There, it is a different ball game! It is the practical side of things, which usually not taught at law schools. So UNILUS introduced a post-law degree course specifically for those who intend to enroll at ZIALE. Am I shocked that they topped the list this time around? Off course not!

Zambia Open University has also attracted a number of students who already deal with the law such as magistrates, prosecutors, court reporters and degree holders in different fields. These find it easier to adjust to the practical side of the study even though they struggle at first-attempt at ZIALE. In recent past, Zambia Open University has produced a good number of students being called to the Bar. This performance is likely to improve as they have equally attracted good lecturers (Some from UNZA).

Back to UNZA Law School. I think they need to adjust and accommodate both full time and part time lecturers as well as allowing more discussions with the industry. At post-graduate level, most UNZA law school graduates (me inclusive) opted for UNILUS for Masters Degree because it is predictable. With your efforts and hard work, you are assured of getting LLM within two years! UNZA may take you forever as lack of supervisors usually hamper the steady progress at post-graduate level.

UNZA must allow non-staff who are specialists in an area to supervise some students so that pressure from existing lecturers is lessen. The management will also need to relax the rigid approach to education if they are to be competitive in market-driven economy!


  1. I wonder why there is so much noise regarding these law students.

    They all knew selection was tight. But they still went ahead and tried.

    Stop complaining.

    • Why is the failure rate at ZIALE never ever the fault or responsibility of the ZIALE lecturers who teach and examine the students?

    • Universities thrive because Alumni give money and support. How many of you UNZA losers have ploughed back into your school? and you want your children to to there?

    • With the quality of education and passion for excellence being exhibited by Chifwanakeni at UNILUS, some of these public universities will soon be door mats. They will only be outperforming in riots

      Like rightly observed, experienced staff members in public universities are being poached by the vibrant and flexible private universities. Its been a wake up call from years ago. In real life, you do not fancy academic lawyers. We need pragmatic fellows in the lawyer’s field. Medical doctors, Social scientists and Engineers need ZIALE-like bodies to ensure tiptop Doctors and Engineers for the country going foward. Maybe the country will wake up from its slumber and half baked crooks running important Government business sectors.

    • Later this week, the long-awaited 34-mile sea bridge connecting mainland China to Hong Kong and Macau will finally open.

      In a ceremony on Tuesday that Chinese president Xi Jinping will reportedly attend, the bridge will officially open. Its accolades include the designation of “world’s longest sea bridge,” a $20 billion price tag, nine years of construction, and a whole lot of controversy. HH HALLUCINATING WITH HIS TRIBAL LOSERS. They think China is a small Bantustan like Namwala.

    • Don’t forget UNZA’s constant closures are also a factor to them not doing well. The closures have always been there yes but these past years have seen more and more closures which have more violent endings, this tends to traumatise the students leading to poor performance once they enter ZIALE.

  2. So true Dickson. Univeraities should work very closely with industry in all field. Book knowledge is not enough. It is always a good blend to have lecturers who have industrial and those who are purley academic work together.

  3. Nubukopofye …. Continue with Riots, excessive beer drinking and sleeping around, we will ‘be just waiting for results.

    • Ba Sharon, shed off your tribal gown…..you are always making tribal inclined comments even when something being discussed is far from any tribal connections….twanaka nenu mweeee! Write something inspiring, at least even once.

  4. A well thought through and written a short report. I am far from the legal brains of the JEREs, but i feel this marks a starting point to restructure the LLB degree programs to include more practical oriented training and orientation of would be law practitioners.

  5. The sad reality of UNZA is these stoopid educated Africans still wear white wigs. Be original and be proud by Africanizing your legal profession dressing.

  6. The Unza students of today are paying more attention to the wrong things such as , politicks , clubbing , breaking people’s cars , prostitution etc. Most admissions into unza these days are from fake grade 12 results . Unilus has introduced a robust regime of hard work in its students and this education is at a cost to the parents hence the descipline.

  7. That is why my Swiss wife and I have decided to send our beautiful kids to universities and private schools in Europe. Why would I want my child going to unza and getting suffocated by tear gassed. Or going to ziale where only those with ministers surnames make it?

  8. Now here is a real presidential advisor / spokes person in Mr jere not those chanda boys or that thug KZ used by lungu…..no matter RBs faults, the man had class compared to the chawama pit latrine morals we are subjected to today……..

  9. UNZA is still a measure of intelligence naimwe. You empty rhetorics do not impress my bottom either. It seems you have joined your fake professor and Minister to attack UNZA for no reason at all. What your problem you charlatans. Everytime there is a UNZA story your bolls move for no reason at ll.
    Just how on earth can one justify stupidity and just where do you get the courage to do so. Thiis story full of typos and bad sentences is just sour grapes to us intellectuals.

  10. Despite Jere’s good observations, he should also take good care of his spellings and grammar when he writes for the public. Otherwise, he comes across like our UNZA products. Spelling mistakes like “…so that pressure from existing lecturers is lessen,” “Students who leave university with academic mentality finds it hard to pass ZIALE,” or “Some lecturers would giggle if wrong answer is given by a non-UNZA graduate.”

  11. In addition to Jere’s submission, UNZA should also ensure that those who teach in Law School have themselves been admitted to the bar after having passed the ZIALE exams and have some legal practice. There is no point having lecturers in Law School who failed exams at ZIALE and have no experience of the practical side of the law.

  12. Furthermore, I often see Professor Margaret Munalula who is a member of the constitutional court in UNZA. Could it be she is teaching in Law School on part time basis despite having hounded out part time lecturers from UNZA Law School during her time as dean of the School?

  13. Have you just dropped off the bus? Don’t you realise that institutions have collapsed in this country due to lack of leadership. 99% failure will never be normal anywhere in the world and especially that its a trend at ZIALE. Own up and leave graciously, all of you and I mean all of you who are in charge of the country

  14. We had a situation in Nigeria where teachers failed an exam meant for the students. I suspect this is the situation at ZIALE

  15. Now failure rate is at 99.99%, its the same as having the school Closed. cause pass rate of 0.01% is like not having the school. Something is not ryte. I smell Professional Protectionism

  16. Police brutally ordered Harry Kalaba out of Mwinilunga over the weekend because a minister of Health was in the area, literraly disturbing Harry Kalaba who was at church , now with such acts which are not supported by the law, the people perpertrating this in the ZAMBIA POLICE FORCE could be products of ZIALE. Kachalo kaleya kalepwafye in terms of governance. Very sad indeed. If a leader like Mwanawasa was in charge, he was going to show leadership by asking Police why there were doing things not supported by law. For now it is auto pilot

  17. Not to take anything away from the insightful article but naimwe! This is a case of professional protectionism. Last year ZIALE opened the floodgates, this year they have put the needle eye before the camels. You honestly think between this year and last the standards of education have dropped that much? Kaman

  18. Missing the point. Issue is not about UNZA. only 4 students passed, meaning 100 % from UNZA failed, 97 % from UNILUS failed, 100 % from ZAMOP, 100 % from Rusangu and 100 % from foreign universities (perhaps Harvard) also failed. Results not statistically different at p = 0.01. So issue is about ZIALE

  19. UNZA lectures are experienced the problem is that they spend most of their time at private learning institutions leaving their UNZA attended to. Prof Nkandu Luo wants to collect the situation but hated by those who promoting that culture and they managed to buy students’blind support. However, don’t entirely blame the UNZA school of law lecturer, but ZIALE lecturers as well. Do they teach the students or simply examine them? My suspicious here.I think the lawyers must have agreed that only a certain % should be called to bar to avoid what has happened to teaching and health sectors-over produced and no jobs. The law Association is always very quiet on the matters whenever it is in the public domain!! WHY?

  20. This is great. Now UNZA should not just be considered as mighty ones as recent years. Let em know that private Institutions are also pushing hard.

  21. This is very good news to those who failed to be selected at UNZA.
    Bear in mind that UNZA is still mighty. It hss more prestigious faculties such as Medicine, Geomatics, Electrical Engineering, Micro biology, Industrial Chemistry, PHD in Mathematics, Agricultural Engineering, Mining etc.
    These courses can not even taught at Private Universities. You want to use ifikwakwa to compare mighty UNZA to small colleges.
    Check, the institute of actuaries accepts a degree from the department of Mathematics because it bakes you very well. Why use one ka simple program to measure to measure UNZA. Jere also spoke like a fontini.

  22. UNZA is still mighty. It has brilliant engineering students. Sharp Computer Scientist and Geomatic Engineers.
    Maybe the law school is not that good and probably students from unza law school might consider going to other schools such as unilus or Rusangu but Engineering students.
    Mudala, that is where you find brilliant kids. You might even wonder how their brains think. That is why most of the graduates from these schools always go abroad because that is where their brilliance is appreciated. I tell you students are sharp there.
    There is other local school for such brilliance other than unza or cbu at least.

  23. It’s not UNZA under trial it’s ZIALE. 4 people passing out of over 384 can’t be attributed to outsiders like UNZA. ZIALE must critically examine itself and it’s relevance. What is ZIALE teaching and what are they examining?

  24. Ba Sharon, shed off your tribal gown…..you are always making tribal inclined comments even when something being discussed is far from any tribal connections….twanaka nenu mweeee! Write something inspiring, at least even once.

  25. Sharon is a very interesting personality. We need to allow her to continue posting and expressing her opinion.
    It doesn’t matter whether it makes sense or not. Sharon. Keep posting.
    I personally know from the way you write that you must be a grade 9 but that should not discourage you.
    Even illiterates are welcome on this forum. This is social media bane.

Comments are closed.