The University of Zambia Council and Management has condemned UNZA students for demonstrating against the fresh wave of Xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
In a statement, UNZA Council Acting Chairperson Namucana Musiwa said the students used a wrong mode to air out their grievances.
“University Council and Management condemns the mode of action taken by its students in their attempt to express their dissatisfaction with the current developments in South Africa. The University of Zambia upholds high ethical standards for both its students and staff,” Ms. Musiwa said.
She said UNZA believes that conflicts are resolvable in all cases through mutual dialogue.
“UNZA is therefore guided by the current diplomatic engagements taking place among the Government of the Republic of Zambia, the Republic of South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and is optimistic that an amicable solution to circumstances that have led to the current threat to peace and national security in the region will soon be found.”
“University Council and Management wishes to encourage its students to abide by the national guidance from His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu who, in his Press Statement issued on 4th September, 2019 has directed that we all show class and exemplary behaviour.”
Earlier, President Edgar Lungu has condemned the Xenophobic attacks in South Africa and what he called lawlessness by the students to engage in the protests.
The students clad in Black T-shirt’s who marched from the Great East Road Campus started their protest at East Park Mall before marching to Manda Hill Shopping Mall.
The students targeted South African owned shops such as Pick N Pay, Shoprite and MTN forcing such stores to shut down.
MultiChoice closed its Manda Hill and EastPark outlets for security reasons.
Some ordinary members of the public joined the students march past and almost brought down the steel doors at Manda Hill Shoprite in an attempt to force entry.
In a brief statement, Manda Hill managed confirmed that the protest disrupted business.
“At approximately 9AM on Wednesday 4 September 2019, a small group of protectors launched a protest at Manda Hill. Similar protests took place at some of the other malls across Lusaka. The protest was largely peaceful and the Manda Hill security team along with Center Management, rapidly resolved the situation. The atmosphere is currently calm and in an abundance of caution, as well as for cleaning post the protest, the mall has been closed for the day.”
“The mall would like to thank its valued customers for their support, and we assure you, our patrons, that the mall will be re-opened for you to enjoy your shopping in a safe environment.”
And the students later marched to the South Africa High Commission in Kabulonga via Addis Ababa road holding placards and denouncing South Africa for promoting Xenophobia.
At the High Commission, the students demanded to be addressed by the officials who refused to come out and meet them forcing the some students to start burning tires.
At this point, police officers who were keeping vigil fired tear gas in the direction of the students forcing them to scamper for safety in every direction.
The situation was only normalized after Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo arrived on the scene and helped calm the situation.
Mr Lusambo directed the Police to use their riot vans to transport the students back to Campus much to the delight and joy of the students who started chanting his name.
Meanwhile, President Lungu has condemned the actions of the students describing their actions as unacceptable.
President Lungu said the actions by the students amounted to lawlessness.
He said strings being from the highest learning institution, they are expected to show class and exemplary behavior to other youths in the land
“I have been informed that they presented their petition to the South African Embassy. How then can they engage in the same acts they are condemning?” President Lungu asked.
He added that the students actions are not only criminal but affect the livelihoods of Zambians earning a living by working in those targeted shops.
President Lungu has asked law enforcement agencies to swiftly move in and address the situation.
And President Lungu has reminded criminal gangs engaging in brutalizing innocent people that their actions may cause the isolation of South Africa from the rest of the civilized world.
He has prodded the South African government to do more to not only arrest the carnage but to also bring the culprits to book before this Xenophobia degenerates into full scale genocide.
President Lungu has also asked the SADC and the African Union to intervene in the worsening situation in South Africa as the carnage has the potential to destabilize African Unity.
“I call on all Zambians both locally and abroad to remain calm and disengage from acts of violence as they voice out their grievance. I wish to assure you all that together, we are working on solutions to combat these acts of violence and bring back the spirit of Ubuntu. Let us continue praying for peace and unity across the region,” President Lungu said.
And popular radio station Hot FM has with immediate effect banned South African music on its channel.
In a statement, Hot FM said the station Presenters will not play South African music until further notice.
“In light of the current events unfolding in South Africa of the attacks on african migrants resident in that nation, Hot FM will cease to play music by South African artists on our airwaves until further notice. All African nations, whether Frontline states or not, stood by our South African kindred during their time of need, and together we embraced UBUNTU,” the statement read.
“Africa is one, and until such a time that our South African counterparts embrace UBUNTU again, our stand will be with all our African brothers being attacked and terrorized in that country. Humanity first!-I AM BECAUSE WE ARE.”