By McDonald Chipenzi
It is now two months since government forceably closed the Copperbelt University (CBU) for no apparent reasons but all aimed to intimidate and kill citizens right to assembly, association and expression.
The right to demonstrate is enshrined in our constitution and the closure of CBU based on the students’ exercise of their constitutional right is unconstitutional itself.
This is a clear violation of the constitution by Prof Nkandu Luo and must be challenged. In as much as Prof Luo did not swore to respect the Constitution but to be loyal to the President, the President swore to protect, defend and uphold the constitution, must just do that.
Therefore, the continued closure of CBU is illegal and unconstitutional hence must be challenged as it is contributory to continued shrinking civic and academic space in the country and a violation of the Supreme Law.
Let us all amplify the call to have CBU opened. Lawyers, please challenge this decision by Government.
Student militancy is as old as university education itself. Like Andrew Sardanis observed in his book “Zambia: The First 50 Years”, quoting late Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere at the opening of UNZA in 1966;
” Ken [Kenneth Kaunda], you do not know what problems you are bringing upon your head, opening this school. University students are uncontrollable, they go on strikes and on protest marches; they will be descending on State House shouting and making demands, and telling you how to run the country….”
Therefore, Prof Luo can’t kill this spirit associated with universities by closures and banning of their unions.
Let CBU be reopened. Where is students solidarity in all this ?