Police caution students against planned protest
By Staff Reporter
POLICE has cautioned students from different universities and colleges planning to match to parliament in protest against the ban of meal allowances to follow laid down procedures.
And the Zambia National Students Union (ZANASU) has appealed to President Edgar Lungu to help resolve the issue of meal allowances for public university students.
In a statement, police public relations officer Esther Katongo said the police command had information that students from learning institutions were planning to march to parliament buildings over the withdrawal of meal allowances.
Katongo said that Police will not tolerate any acts of lawlessness and would quell unnecessary confrontation with students.
She has since advised the students to follow the laid down procedures in airing their grievances as opposed to taking to the streets, saying the police would deal with anyone involved in illegalities.
Meanwhile, the ZANASU information & publicity secretary Assa Williey stated that one of the consequences of the removal of meal allowances was destress, which could lead to all sorts of vices including prostitution, especially among students coming from poor families.
Williey said President Lungu should not allow Higher Education minister Professor Nkandu Luo to continue experimenting with policies that are putting this administration at odds with the very people he promised to serve when he assumed the Presidency.
“We ask for sobriety and reasonableness from our elected representative. Professor Nkandu Luo has failed our youthful Zambians. She has put her personal fights against students ahead of the national bigger picture and that of the PF administration which was elected on the basis of the pro-poor agenda. Minister Luo’s style of leadership has proven to be one where she wants to show she has unfettered power to make any decision believing no student as a client must have a say, as long as such decisions fulfill her ego,” Williey said.
Williey hoped President Lungu could heed advice from stakeholders on this matter.
“We are very sure the Head of State has been following this discourse on removal of living allowances but we ask him to break his silence over the matter that will hinge on his shoulders and has potential to distance this administration from both students and their poor families for years to come,” he said.
Williey has also advised members of parliament to learn something from the Brexit debates in the UK House of Commons where they are able to remove their partisan jackets and put the interest of their constituents ahead of their own by holding the executive arm of government accountable.