BY NCHIMUNYA MIYOBA
The Copperbelt University Student Union (COBUSU) have demanded for the reinstatement and increment of meal allowances that were scrapped in 2019 to help alleviate various challenges that students are facing.
Speaking in Kitwe during a press briefing held at Zemics Lodge COBUSU president Lawrence Kasonde said most students at the second highest education institute are failing to have three meals per day but instead are having one meal in day as there has been no other feeding program that was introduced to replace meal allowances.
Mr Kasonde said members of parliament should table the reinstatement of meal allowances back in parliament for first and second year students further calling for increasing it from the current K22.50 to K 50.00.
“As students we will not be deceived bye social media or anyone 14 we clearly understand that they president of the Republic of Zambia Dr Edgar lungu is not responsible for the scrapping of or allowances as he is not a member of Parliament and has no voting right or any say in there parliamentarian deliberations as it is an independent organ of the government,” he said.
Mr Kasonde said boarding housing have taken advantage of the challenges of the students by exploiting students through hiking of boarding fees hence the call by student populace to reinstate the allowances.
“Since meal allowances were scrapped off by parliament, we demand and call upon all members of parliament to take back to parliament the motion of reinstating meal allowances for our first and second year students and also increasing it from the current K 22.50 to K50.00 per day,” he said.
Mr Kasonde said Copperbelt based companies and industries should also come on board and assist government by sponsoring students financially like it was the case in the past.
He disclosed that students are pushing for a memoradum of understanding with Mopani Copper Mines to see how best the mining company can help students by providing the contracts and part time jobs hence helping them sustain themselves.
“The students from the University have been using the little resources to be innovative and are running small businesses to sustain themselves all that is missing is empowerment like the increasing meal allowances and financial support from other sectors,” he said.
He added that the completion of the hostels at Riverside campus and the school of medicine in Ndola are some of the top priority that need to be tackled as student population has increased in the past years.
And speaking at the same event COBUSU vice president Musonda Mumba said students will not be deceived by some political parties that are pretending to have students best interest at heart adding that members of parliament should have debated the scrapping off of meal allowances then than using it now to gain political mileage.
“The campaign that these political parties are spearheading now should have been done then and not now when we are heading towards elections. I urge students not to be used as tools of violence,” she said.
On 6th February 2019 Parliament polished new allowances for the newly enrolled student for the academic year 2019 to 2020.