PO­LICE PROBE UNZA STU­DENT’S DEATH

.. as HH told not to use Ves­pers’s death for po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­di­ency

Daily Nation Newspaper - - HOME NEWS - By SI­MON MUN­TEMBA

PO­LICE in Lusaka have in­sti­tuted in­quiries to as­cer­tain what caused the fire that led to suf­fo­ca­tion and death of fourt year Univer­sity of Zam­bia stu­dent, Ves­pers Shimuzhila, po­lice spokesper­son Es­ther Ka­tongo has dis­closed. And Pres­i­dent Edgar Lungu is wait­ing for a re­port from Po­lice on the death of Ves­pers once in­ves­ti­ga­tions are con­cluded. He said this yes­ter­day at the Ken­neth Kaunda In­ter­na­tional Air­port (KKIA) be­fore de­par­ture for Uganda for the Great Lakes Re­gion Head of State Sum­mit. Mean­while, New Congress Party (NCP) pres­i­dent Peter Chanda has ad­vised UPND pres­i­dent Hakainde Hichilema to stop us­ing the death of Ves­pers for po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­di­ency. Ms Ka­tongo told the Daily Na­tion yes­ter­day that in ev­ery death that was un­nat­u­ral in­quiries in that death was usu­ally done. “Yes an in­quiry has been in­sti­tuted. In ev­ery death that is un­nat­u­ral, in­quiries in the death is usu­ally done,” Ms Ka­tongo stated. Mean­while, Mr Chanda was re­act­ing to a post­ing of pic­tures of Mr Hichilema’s visit to the fu­neral house of the late UNZA stu­dent where some UPND sym­pa­thiz­ers were seen putting on party re­galia and where the UPND leader charged that the loss of life was en­tirely a PF af­fair be­cause it would have been avoided had meal al­lowances been paid to the stu­dents in time. But Mr Chanda said it was morally wrong for Mr Hichilema or any other politi­cian to use the death of Ves­pers to gain po­lit­i­cal mileage. “As NCP first and fore­most, we want to con­vey our deep­est con­do­lences to the fam­ily Ves­pers Shimuzhila who died of suf­fo­ca­tion fol­low­ing a riot. But at the same time we would like to ex­press our dis­plea­sure and dis­ap­point­ment at some po­lit­i­cal party lead­ers like Hakainde Hichilema who are us­ing the death of a stu­dent to gain po­lit­i­cal mileage. “We want to ad­vise HH and in­deed other po­lit­i­cal lead­ers to stop us­ing the death of, Ves­pers Shimuzhila for po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­di­ency. Let us as Chris­tian mourn our dear de­parted sis­ter in a dig­ni­fied man­ner. We are dis­ap­pointed that HH went to the fu­neral house with his cadres some of whom were seen wear­ing UPND re­galia and we don’t think it was right for HH to go at the fu­neral house and get pic­tures and later send them on­line, that shows the man was act­ing to gain po­lit­i­cal mileage,” Mr Chanda said. And Univer­sity of Zam­bia Lec­tur­ers’ and Re­searchers’ Union (UNZALARU) claims that fail­ure by Govern­ment and the Univer­sity of Zam­bia (UNZA) man­age­ment to con­demn in strong­est terms the con­duct of the po­lice in mob man­age­ment and the al­leged dis­charge of tear­gas can­is­ters into stu­dent rooms was not only un­for­tu­nate but also in­di­rectly le­git­i­ma­tizes po­lice bru­tal­ity and Govern­ment’s in­dif­fer­ence to the plight of UNZA stu­dents. In a state­ment yes­ter­day, UNZALARU sec­re­tary gen­eral Kelvin Mambwe said the press state­ments by both UNZA and the Po­lice were overly in­sen­si­tive to the mem­ory of Ves­pers as both down­played the sa­cred­ness of life, as they have been de­lib­er­ately crafted to de­mo­nize stu­dents as merely ri­otous. Dr Mambwe noted with a deep sense of sor­row and re­gret that a life of a stu­dent for whom UNZA as an in­sti­tu­tion of learn­ing could be lost in such bru­tal and bizarre cir­cum­stances. He dis­closed that it was not the first time tear­gas can­is­ters have been fired into rooms and rooms gut­ted at UNZA. Mean­while, Chief Govern­ment spokesper­son Dora Siliya has won­dered why the stu­dent demon­strated two days be­fore al­lowances’ due date and chal­lenged the po­lice to in­sti­tute in­quiry into the death of Ves­pers and bring those re­spon­si­ble to book. “Why is it that stu­dents were demon­strat­ing two days be­fore al­lowances’ due date? Why were they demon­strat­ing at night throw­ing stones at cars? Why have po­lice not in­sti­tuted in­quiry into the death of the stu­dent yet? Who is re­spon­si­ble for this un­nec­es­sary loss of life?” Ms Siliya asked. And the Govern­ment has evac­u­ated the in­jured fe­male stu­dent Evern­tyn Chongo to South Africa for spe­cial­ist treat­ment. Health Min­is­ter Dr Chi­talu Chilu­fya made the pro­nounce­ment when he vis­ited her at the Univer­sity Teach­ing Hos­pi­tal (UTH) yes­ter­day. Evern­tyn, who is in her sec­ond year jumped off the sec­ond floor of her hos­tel on Thurs­day night af­ter be­ing trapped in her room that was en­gulfed in smoke dur­ing ri­ots. And Evern­tyn’s fa­ther Ge­of­frey Chongo has thanked Govern­ment for its quick in­ter­ven­tion to evac­u­ate his daugh­ter to South Africa for spe­cialised treat­ment. “I ap­pre­ci­ate the de­ci­sion that Govern­ment has made to evac­u­ate my daugh­ter,” Mr Chongo said.

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