ZONDIWE MBEWE & CAROLINE KALOMBE, Lusaka
POLICE have apprehended seven people in connection with a riot at National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) sparked by managementâ€™s decision to increase tuition fees by 15 percent.
And 26 University of Zambia students who were arrested for allegedly participating in a riot yesterday appeared in the Lusaka Magistrateâ€™s Court.
In the NIPA incident, students ran amok at about 22:00 hours on Thursday, blocking Dushambe Road with logs and burning tyres, much to the disappointment of some motorists who reacted angrily by apprehending some of the rioters and handing them over to police.
Police Service spokesperson Charity Chanda, who confirmed the incident, said four rioters were apprehended by police within campus, while the other three were caught by members of the public as they attempted to jump over the perimeter wall fence.
â€œWe are currently screening these people to establish if they are students or not,â€ Mrs Chanda said in a terse statement yesterday.
On Thursday night, some NIPA students blocked Dushambe Road with burning tyres, thereby interrupting the flow of traffic.
An eye-witness, Edward Gondwe, told the Daily Mail that the students became unruly, blocking the road with logs and burning tyres.
â€œI stay at the flats right opposite NIPA and I saw for myself the unrest these students caused. From what I saw, this riot was more of a political nature than a studentsâ€™ affair,â€ Mr Gondwe said.
A physical check at NIPA by a Daily Mail crew yesterday found business going on as usual.
And NIPA Students Union (NIPASU) president Boyd Mumba declined to comment on the matter.
â€œAs a union, we are still looking into the issue, so I have no comment to make,â€ Mr Mumba said.
Meanwhile, the 26 UNZA students charged with idle and disorderly conduct have been granted bail by the Lusaka Magistrateâ€™s Court after they met the required conditions.
Katongo Chilufya, 26, and Ngâ€™andu Lushomo, 20, who are jointly charged with 24 others, all pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The 26, who appeared before magistrates Sylvia Munyinya and Phaides Hamaundu, said they understood the charge but denied committing the offence.
Ms Munyinya granted the 13 students who appeared before her K5,000 bail with one working surety in the like sum, but in their own recognisance.
It is alleged that students on February 2, this year, in Lusaka, jointly and whilst acting with others, publicly conducted themselves in a manner likely to cause the breach of peace.
And Patriotic Front (PF) Lusaka Province youth chairperson Kennedy Kamba has condemned opposition political leaders that are allegedly working with student unions to cause unrest at universities and colleges, TEDDY KUYELA reports.
Mr Kamba said some political party leaders allegedly paid some students to cause confusion in the universities.
And Evelyn Hone College management says a group of people is planning to stage a riot at the institution when the college opens on Monday next week.
The group intends to riot to cause an impression that it comprises students when in fact not.
Evelyn Hone College principal Daniel Fwambo said yesterday that some unknown people have since vandalised the water reticulation system and an ablution block, a situation they want to take advantage of to complain against the poor sanitation at the tertiary institution.
â€œWe have received information that some people who are not students are planning to come and protest or riot when the college opens on Monday.
â€œThese are outsiders who want to cause confusion at this institution. We are appealing to all our students not to protest or riot because the action will disturb their school calendar,â€ he said.
Evelyn Hone College Studentsâ€™ Union president Madalitso Mvula denied the allegation.
â€œI want to put it on record that there is no opposition political party that is funding us so that we can riot or demonstrate. The rumours that are going round that we have been paid so that we can demonstrate on Monday are not true,â€ Mr Mvula said.
He also advised students at the institution to desist from taking to the streets whenever they have a dispute with Government.
Mr Mvula said in a statement in Lusaka yesterday that students should always strive to follow proper channels whenever they have a grievance with either management or Government instead of taking to the streets.
â€œStudents should desist from this counter-productive activity such as taking to the streets whenever they brush shoulders with the government or management,â€ he said.
ZONDIWE MBEWE & CAROLINE KALOMBE, Lusaka