Minister of General Education David Mabumba flanked by Minister of High Education Nkandu Luo speaking to Journalists whilst listens during the Joint Media Briefing at Ministry of High Education
Minister of General Education David Mabumba flanked by Minister of High Education Nkandu Luo speaking to Journalists whilst listens during the Joint Media Briefing at Ministry of High Education

Dear Minister Luo,

On 29 April 2019, News Diggers published the most recent public comments you have made on the continued closure of the Copperbelt University (CBU). In the published story, you were quoted by the newspaper as expressing the hope that

‘President Edgar Lungu will decide to reopen the Copperbelt University now that the students have apologised for their conduct. I closed CBU with [a] heavy heart. My decision [or desire] has never been to close any institution. But I want to applaud the CBU students for taking the trouble to apologise to the President of this Republic. I am only an appointee of His Excellency the President of Zambia and if he finds it in his heart to forgive them, who am I [not to reopen CBU]? I act on his behalf so I want to applaud them for apologising”

Minister, the implications of your remarks are threefold.

The first is that you closed the university at the behest of President Lungu. You personally were not for the decision to shut down CBU, but being an appointee of the President, who was ostensibly offended by the actions of the students, you simply gave expression to the President’s wish that the most appropriate punishment for their conduct was to close the university.

The second is that you, Minister, are not personally averse to reopening CBU. Indeed, how can you be opposed when it was never your desire to close the university in the first place? Had you had enough power or if much depended on you alone, you would have already announced the reopening of the institution. The problem is that you require permission from President Lungu to ‘unclose’ CBU, which permission has not been granted to you. Just like you merely acted on the President’s wish when closing the institution on 5 April 2019, you are now waiting for him to inform you that it is his wish that ‘now is the time to reopen CBU’.

The third is that the reopening of CBU, now that the students have apologised for their misconduct – conduct that I also deplore – is now entirely dependent on whether the President has the ‘heart to forgive them’. This is what is keeping you from announcing the reopening of CBU – the absence of a proclamation from President Lungu confirming that he, like you have done, has forgiven the students for their transgressions that forced your delegated hand to close the Copperbelt University. It is to this third and final implication of your remarks that I wish to briefly address myself.

Minister, can you please find out from the President if he has forgiven the students and then share his response with the nation. If President Lungu has already forgiven the students, may I then implore you to either reopen the university or at least have the courtesy to explain to the public and the affected students why the institution should remain closed? Public accountability demands that you provide responses to the questions and concerns of those in whose name you lead and serve.

If he has not forgiven the students, may l please implore you to remind President Lungu that he is a self-confessed Christian presiding over a country, populated by fellow Christians, that has been officially declared as guided by Christian values. One of the key values of the Christian faith is forgiveness. In fact, if we are to follow the Biblical injunctions, the President has no choice but to forgive the students because they are yet to reach the ‘seventy-seven times’ threshold that Jesus Christ prescribed as the limits to forgiveness in Mathews 18 verse 21-22:

‘Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times’.

With this declaration, Christ unilaterally amended the seven times limit that had existed until then. Ordinarily, before anyone seeks forgiveness, there must be an element of admission of wrongdoing on their part to say ‘After careful self-introspection and analysis, I have come to the realisation that my conduct against you fell shot. I was wrong and I am sorry. Please forgive me’. On the basis of this contrition, the offended then proceeds to forgive the offender. By your own admission, the students have admitted that they were wrong and have communicated this position to you and the President. What then is preventing you from reopening CBU, Minister?

Unless there is another reason that explains why you have not announced the opening of CBU, I implore you to reopen the institution both because the scriptures make it very clear that President Lungu has little sway on the matter, especially since those who supposedly offended his emotions have apologised, and because reopening CBU is the correct thing to do. If there are other reasons that are holding you back from reopening the institution, please share them with the public so that we may seek to understand your point of view. As an educated person yourself, I do not think you need any reminder about the tragic effect of keeping CBU closed on the reputation of our public universities, the aspirations of the affected young people, and Zambia’s future.

I would like to end my letter with a quote from former South African president, Thabo Mbeki:

‘As we travel along the long road of life that all of us must traverse, we must forever remember that others who will follow in our footsteps tomorrow, but overtake us the day after and become our guides, should never have occasion to accuse us that what we did demonstrate selfish concern about ourselves, with reckless regard of the interests of other people, including the generations that have yet to come, as the calves will come from the borrowed herds’.

Minister, I urge you and indeed your colleagues in Cabinet to reflect on Mbeki’s thoughts with the necessary critical distance. Most importantly, I appeal to you and the President to reopen the Copperbelt University immediately.

Yours truly,

Sishuwa Sishuwa,
Citizen and Taxpayer.

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25 COMMENTS

  1. The only problem in education is GCE.

    Many people are paying other people to write the GCE exam.

    Minister of education wake up please.

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    • This Sishuwa sure has a lot of free time. CBU was badly damaged by the same ingrates you keep supporting that it is not even fit for a chicken run. You sir is what a call an educated f00L! Put politics aside for once and see things as they are!

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    • At 1.1 please you are not in Zambia. You enjoy the privileges of Luo’s kids, who do not learn in Zambia. Even, when they have a cough are treated in South Africa.

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    • How many times has CBU been closed? And how many times have the same students been apologizing? How many times has the Government defaulted?Time is limited. It’s up to the students to understand what they want and how they don’t need to break (sabotage) public infrastructure. As they go back, University management needs to make these mannerless masquerad students pay for the hooligan behavior. Chaps broke my friend’s car wind shield. I can’t support these chaotic numskulls.

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    • This time you go with NRC to write exams. It’s not possible for someone to write for someone

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  2. Kuwayawaya fye Ba Nkandu Luo. And the same president apparently is expected to be given an honorary doctorate. Doctorate of closure of higher learning institutions? Lol

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  3. As much as I condemn the closure, I want to urge students to change their behaviours. Why do you break cars for private innocent citizens passing by. It makes sad reading to hear a private vehicle has been broken when you are protesting against the government.

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  4. I suggest CBU to be reopened only 6 months after the 2021 General Elections. May the our kids will learn to stop being used by failed politicians.

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    • Imagine a University closing for this long these morons are only interested in apologies as if its their universities…imagine the British PM saying we have closed this university to discipline the students she would be kicked out of Downing Street next day but us Zambians are docile and gullible.

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  5. Even me if I was a minister I can close the school. That behavior is unacceptable in developed countries. No wonder we are producing educated fools in our country. Vandalizing properties is not the solution, dialogue with parties involved. Very shameful indeed, barely few months after renovating the institution.

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  6. Unfortunately Zambians will forget these words she said come 2021 when these very politicians including LAZY LUNGU are kneeling in front of them for votes!!

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  7. Everywhere it’s stealing , none payment of salaries, closure of unis, arrests of protesters , open warfare between PF caders, bad economic news , load shedding……..yaba , lungu, where are you taking this country. ?

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  8. How can a University run at the pleasure of an individual? Nkandu Luo lacks wisdom. Edgar is busy chasing Kambwili’s farts, he doesn’t care about students. That’s the reason he elects to meet hooligans at the Black Mountain whenever he’s in Kitwe. Nkandu Luo can afford to send her kids to Seychelles, so she doesn’t care too

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    • My brother that is one other reason why most rich Zambians are sending their kids into foreign universities. If you come to Pretoria university Cape Town and Wits universities here in south Africa they are full of rich Zambians’kids

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  9. She is different from the all the Professors in Zambia, she still feel inferior and downgraded. It is just the same as our economy when they say austerity measures meaning all implementing procedures the ordinary citizen have to feel the pitch. If the African countries say there is GDP growth ,then just know that the ordinary citizen or commoners are experiencing economic hardship, which is inversely proportional .Whilst in Europe, America and Asian countries it is direct proportional even Vietnam which was at war until 1975. Their GDP growth clearly seen by the foreigners, Government and general citizenry. So Professor…

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  10. So Professor Luo is only recognized as a Professor in Microbiology or Immunology and Biochemistry by PF inner circles, but ordinary people are only wishing her bad omen.
    OPEN CBU Campaign. I do not have any member of my family there, but every Zambian whose is my relative and concern

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  11. There you are Zambians John 10:10, these koswes only here to steal, kill and destroy our little country. Economy, education and healthcare all destroyed by these thieves. It appalling that someone would be this cruel to close a national university for this long and stay quiet about it

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  12. At 1. 1 you are simply a stooge and don’t have an idea what the hell is going on in Zambia, even though im far from home i have a very good idea of what is happening, so please keep your thoughts to yourself or share them with your mad president trump

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