THE University of Zambia Professional Staff Union has advised the government to shut down the university and build a shopping mall owing to its failure to run the institution. The workers yesterday instructed the University of Zambia management to ask President Edgar Lungu to address them and not higher education minister Professor Nkandu Luo.
UNZAPROSU acting general secretary Nalucha Mayamba said since the government was clearly good at contracting debt, it should borrow money from China and in turn pay university workers.
Addressing the media following a heated meeting that summoned the acting Vice Chancellor Professor Enala Tembo-Mwase and Registrar Wamundila Sitali to the Senate Chamber, Mayamba said UNZA was technically insolvent.
He said if the government had run out of ideas on how to run the university, it should shut the institution instead of continuously inconveniencing union members.
“As you may recall, this problem started in February. Our February salaries were delayed and we got them on 22nd of March and then our March salaries were equally delayed, we got them on 23rd March and then we are here, we are talking about April. And then April salaries are not yet ready. This gives you an indication that this government has failed to run public universities,” Mayamba said.
“As workers we are very frustrated and if they have failed to run public universities, maybe we can advise them, since they are very good at borrowing, let them go and borrow loans from China so that they come and pay off workers here and close this institution, this university forever so that they can turn this place in a big shopping mall. That’s what this government knows – constructing shopping malls and bringing in investors who come to construct shopping malls.
“This place, how do you call it a higher learning institution when you are failing to run it, failing to pay workers? Our members are dying, they have not been paid their terminal benefits. Graduates are not being paid as well. This institution technically is insolvent so if they have run out of ideas we don’t want them to continue running this university and then inconvenience of our members. Let them shut it down permanently. We are tired of dancing for salaries every month. It’s not normal,” said Mayamba.
UNZALARU president Dr Evans Lampi told journalists that his members had resolved to seek audience with President Lungu instead of Prof Luo, describing her as a cadre.
Dr Lampi said whether they were paid on not, his members would reconvene in the Senate Chamber to chart the way forward.