Stall installation of CCTV at CBU, it’s a waste of resources- staff union advises Dr Mushimba 

By Staff Reporter

The Copperbelt University Senior Administrative, Professional and Technical Staff Union has asked Higher Education Minister Dr Brian Mushimba to stop the installation of CCTV and building guard houses as a pre requisite to the reopening of the Copperbelt University.

And the Union General Secretary Lukanga Kapeshi said they could have loved to see Prof Luo take the back bench.

In a statement, Kapeshi said that the security projects were costly to the little resources at the institution.

“We also appeal to our Minister to take keen interest in how, particularly, the Copperbelt University management is utilizing our scarce resources. Management at the Copperbelt University has embarked on the project of installing CCTV and building guard houses at both entrances to the main campus as a pre requisite to the reopening of the Copperbelt University. These projects are draining our little and scarce resources which could havebeen used towards very needy areas in the University such as, building and renovation of lecturer theatres, buying teaching Aids, among many others. The so called security features, which of course were initiated by the outgoing Minister Prof. Luo, are insignificant to the security environment of the University at the moment. We need to dialogue with the Student populace on their demands and reach amicable solution to the demands,” Kapeshi stated.

“We want to put it on record, that we condemn the riotous behavior of students as a way of airing their grievances. However, what is being installed and built in the University campus is just a luxury which we cannot afford at the moment. Please halt these projects Minister and let them channel these much needed resources to needy areas. We would also like to appeal to the Minister to quickly appoint University Councils which the former Minister had failed to do for a very long time. This is what is required for good corporate governance and we can guarantee the Minister that once the Councils are appointed in the public universities, his work will be made easier as these Councils will be supervising University Managements on the day-to-day running of the Universities.”

He stated that Dr Mushimba should also look at the recommendations of the Ad hoc Committee on the misappropriation of University funds and maladministration at CBU.

“We also urge the new Minister to quickly look into the recommendations of the Ad hoc Committee on the misappropriation of University funds and maladministration at the Copperbelt University. We pledge total support to his administration of the Higher Education and we shall be glad if he operated an open door policy, which has eluded this Ministry for a very long time. We willbe engaging him on various issues of mutual interest for a win-win situation,” Kapeshi stated.

He stated that the union wanted Prof Luo take the back bench.

“The union welcomes the transfer of Prof. Nkandu Luo from the Ministry of Higher Education to yet another very important Ministry, though we would have loved her to take the back bench and offer consultancy, research and probably teaching to the government, and in particular, the Higher Education Ministry, which duties she knows best. But unfortunately, it is not our prerogative but that of the President of the Republic of Zambia, who in his own wisdom, maybe, would want to give her a second chance,” Kapeshi stated.

“And we also welcome the appointment of Dr. Brian Mushimba as Higher Education Minister. Indeed we have a lot of expectations from the new Minister and we expect him to do damage control caused by the outgoing Minister Prof. Luo. Though it won’t be an easy task considering the extent of damage, we believe the damage is not beyond redemption. We have every trust and confidence that Mushimba will excel in this new portfolio. We are cognizant of the fact that the challenges which are lying ahead are huge but together, with the student populace and stakeholder unions, if we are involved, we will overcome them. And therefore, we would like to offer counsel to our new Minister of Higher Education that he should inculcate the spirit of dialogue, tolerance, inclusiveness and also accommodate divergent views from the Student populace and the stakeholder unions.”

He stated that the closure of CBU was avoidable had the former minister engaged stakeholders.

“The closure of the Copperbelt University was inevitable and very unfortunate but had the outgoing Minister engaged the stakeholders in the University, things would not have been the way they are today. Anyway, that is water under the bridge and this was her unfortunate management style which we the stakeholders dreaded. We would like to assure the minister that contrary to the reports that we are used by a known opposition political party to destabilise and interfere in the management operations, we are a non-partisan stakeholder grouping motivated to promote and defend workers’ rights and conditions of service within the Copperbelt University. Each time we the Unions offer checks and balances, the defense mechanism from the then Minister and CBU management was that we were being sponsored by the known opposition party. This also goes to the student populace. In a nutshell, concerns raised by stakeholders in the University are not addressed and this approach has led to a lot of issues being unattended to and continue to remain unresolved. As a result, this has created tensions and mistrust among stakeholders and management,” stated Kapeshi.

“We would also like to advise our new Minister not to engage management alone when resolving challenges in the University, because they will not give a true reflection of the operational challenges on the ground, in the universities and colleges. We appeal to the Minister to engage the stakeholder unions and the students too, for him to have a holistic understanding of the challenges at CBU and also for him to make good and informed decisions for the betterment of the Higher Education sector, particularly, universities.”