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Education Minister, Hon. Douglas Syakalima, has pardoned and reinstated Eighteen (18) University of Zambia (UNZA) students who were expelled following the riot that erupted at the University on September 18, 2023.
Hon. Syakalima announced the development at his Office in Lusaka on Thursday, 23rd November, 2023 when he addressed the expelled students and their parents.
The University of Zambia took disciplinary action on 18 students following the September 18, 2023 riots at the University.
The University expelled 9 students and suspended another 9 following the riots of September 18, 2023 that erupted a day before the 2023 student union nominations.
“You have all been pardoned you can go back to the University but ensure that you are not misled by unscrupulous people to engage in riotous behavior and destroy property at the University.” Hon. Syakalima said.
And the Minister has warned that the pardoning of students, when their respective institutions of learning take action against them for wrongdoing, should not be taken as a weakness on his part.
He has cautioned that should such actions reoccur, students implicated might not be so fortunate as continuation of pardons might show as if the Ministry supports misconduct by students.
And Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary – Education Services, Joel Kamoko, said it is unacceptable that students should resort to riotous behavior and destroy University property whenever they seem not to agree with something.
He urged students to always use existing channels to resolve their issues as resorting to riotous behavior is detrimental to development.
Meanwhile, parents and guardians did not hide their emotions as they openly broke down upon hearing the announcement that their children had been re-admitted to the university.
And speaking on-behalf of other parents and guardians, Mr. Hudson Sakayi, thanked the Minister for the gesture.
He said the pronouncement shows that the Minister is forgiving and focused on ensuring that students get the required education.
Mr. Sakayi urged the pardoned students to go back and remain focused on education and do not allow to be distracted by people with ill motives.
And UNZA Dean of Students, John Munkombwe, said the University welcomes the Minister’s announcements as expulsion and suspension of Students is always an unfortunate development.
Mr. Munkombwe said the University gave the 18 students sufficient space to prove their innocence before action was taken.
On 18th September this year, riots erupted at UNZA following cancellation of the 2023 UNZA Students Union elections.
The riotous took to the streets, blocking Great East Road with drums, stones, and burning tires, and even stoning motor vehicles.
During the riots, several shops within the university premises were broken into, and various groceries were looted.
The University launched an investigation and ended up expelling 9 and suspending the other 9 for being linked to the riots. #moecommunications