Zambian gov’t denies banning union activities in universities

LUSAKA, Oct. 13 — The Zambian government on Friday denied banning student union activities at public universities in the country.
Minister of Higher Education Nkandu Luo said student unionism had not been banned but that the system of student representation had been changed to allow for wider representation.
She told reporters during a press briefing that the government, working with students, had introduced the guild system of student representation as a new model in all public universities after realizing that the previous system was not working in the best interest of all students.
According to her, the unions had moved from the old leadership structure that only allowed a few students to participate in union activities, adding that the new system was more inclusive.
The students, she said, were given enough time to research on the new model which she said had been accepted and that workshops were held in all public universities to sensitize the students on the new system.
According to her, it was envisaged that the new leadership model would reduce riots at public universities.
Meanwhile, the Zambian minister said she would not head to demand by student leaders to resign from her position.
On Thursday, the Zambia National Students Union, a representative body of all student unions in universities, demanded for the minister’s resignation, saying she had failed to run the institutions of higher learning.
But the Zambian minister told reporters that she will not resign because she has not done anything wrong.
She said most of the students calling for her resignation were facing disciplinary actions at some of the public universities.