ZANASU Raise Concerns Of Safety For Students Ahead Of School Opening Due To Political Violence
The political violence that has been taking place in Lusaka and other places in the country following the declaration of President Elect Hakainde Hichilema as winner has sent fear into students who are scheduled to go back to their learning institutions next week.
Criminals have taken advantage of the victory celebrations and have flooded different parts of the country under guise of UPND cadres to commit all sorts of crimes, a move the President elect has strongly detested.
And in a statement issued to the media today, The Zambia National Students Union (ZANASU) has disclosed that there are concerns bordering on the security of the various learning institutions raised by the students and their sponsors concerning the mentioned violence.
ZANASU Secretary General Isaiah Bwalya called on government to give an assurance the safety and welfare of Students at all costs if they return on campus just a few days after the General Elections.
“The Zambia National Students Union (ZANASU) Wishes to welcome the move by government and stake holders to reopen schools next week on the 23rd of August 2021….However, concerns have been raised from amongst key stake holders who are the Students themselves and their sponsors. These concerns regards security and preparedness of these institutions,” he said.
“After thorough consultation with the 21 Affiliated Institutions of higher learning to ZANASU, Students across the Nation have noted carefully the increase in cases of political violence across the country especially Lusaka Province, Northwest, Copperbelt And Some Parts Of Southern Provinces. As the Students Mother body it is of a significant importance that we lobby Government to assure us of the safety and welfare of Students at all costs if they return on campus just a few days after the General Elections.”
Bwalya stressed the need for “a lot of transformation” to take place “including that which is not monitored legally like the operation of political cadres on bus Stations, Markets” and other public daily use places where our Students will be exposed to.
He mentioned that the country just went through an election period which has left a lot of tension in some parts of the country due to the fact that there is a definite change of Government.
The Union’s Secretary General appealed to the Police to come to terms in ensuring that the public order act is implemented efficiently to safeguard the livelihood of the vulnerable Students on and off Campuses during this period.
Bwalya lamented that the death of many Students in the past has been due to public riots and unrest especially that which is politically influenced.
“ZANASU and its affiliate Unions are concerned with the prolonged closure of institutions of higher learning during the first wave, second and now third of COVID-19. We therefore appeal to government to expedite the readiness of Campuses to facilitate reopening especially for Medical Student across the country to be trained for such times as health calamities may occur around our boarders,” he said.
“Government may note that most medical Students on public Institutions have been closed completely without access to E- learning except for those in Private Universities and colleges. Further, we wish to applaud MINISTRY OF HEALTH (M.O.H) for the spirited fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic which hit our country and the globe at large. The country has seen drastic reduction in cases and alot of recoveries which gives us hope.”
Meanwhile, Bwalya called on Government and all stakeholders to join hands in evaluating the submission adding they might regret certain decisions if not carefully discussed with key stakeholders.
“…….and ZANASU wishes to appeal wholeheartedly to the Students before coming on campus to stay away from violence, vandalism or be used in anyway to cause confusion or public misconduct likely to breach peace,” he said.