OYV executive director Guess Nyirenda said that the expelled students were not given a hearing before being chucked out of campus.
Nyirenda said that the students may have been wrongly accused of the deed as there may have been no thorough investigations.
Below is the full statement:
16th JUNE, 2018: MINISTER’S UNILETRAL REMOVAL OF 5 UNZA STUDENTS FROM GOVERNMENT SPONSORSHIP STATEMENT BY OYV
The alleged unilateral decision by the Minister of Higher Education Prof. Nkandu Luo to remove the five University of Zambia (UNZA) students from Government sponsorship is not only personal, appalling and unacceptable but also an act abuse of authority and office and total infringement of human rights and right to education for the said students.
If it is indeed true that the affected students were not subjected to legal procedures as laid down in the students’ affairs disciplinary code at the institution, to be granted the much need opportunity to be heard, then the Minister was completely out of order.
It must be appreciated that in no way that OYV supporting any student misconduct and/or riotous behavior, but merely calling for the rules of natural justice to be applied.
The Minister should know very well or in case she has forgotten must be reminded that a person/suspect is innocent until proven guilty by a competent court of law – or in the case of students the Students University Disciplinary Committee – whose decision can be appealed against to the court of law.
It is very worrying that under the Patriotic Front (PF) regime, things are upside down, where one gets punished and then heard later. There are many examples to this effect.
What is also sad is the way and tone the Minister used when addressing the same issue with the media. There was autocracy in handling the whole matter. The Minister must not sound as though the money paying for the sponsorship of students is hers as an individual – it’s not her personal money but tax payers and the same students’ parents and/or guardians are tax payers. It is actually more riotous and inhuman to unilaterally cut students (especially that they have been studying for many years) from Government sponsorship without any consideration for natural justice where the accused are given an opportunity to be heard.
Operation Young Vote therefore demands that the Minister reverses the unilateral decision and allow the students an opportunity to be heard.
In the event that the Minister becomes adamant, as is always the case with the PF regime, we can only urge the students to remain strong and seek a judicial review in the courts of law.
For and on behalf of OPERATION YOUNG VOTE
Guess Nyirenda (Mr.)