Zambia shuts Copperbelt university over riots

Friday April 05 2019

Anti-riot police stand after Zambian Students blocked the Great East Road with logs and burnt tires early on August 17, 2012 in Lusaka. FILE PHOTO | AFP


Zambian education authorities Friday shut the country’s second largest public university, the Copperbelt University (CBU), following riots.

The government said the riots were caused by students who were barred from sitting examinations because they had not made the cut in continuous assessment tests.

Minister of Higher Education Nkandu Luo told journalists that the decision was made to protect facilities which were being damaged by the students.

She instructed all students to leave campus terming the closure indefinite.

CBU, located in Kitwe, is one of Zambia’s oldest public universities together with the University of Zambia (UNZA).

However, they are beset with problems ranging from poor funding which has led to salaries for lecturers being delayed to inadequate loans to finance student education.


This has caused instability and frequent closures. Earlier this week, Prof. Luo asked lecturers who were disillusioned to leave. 

President Edgar Lungu warned students on Wednesday that universities would be closed if chaos persisted. This followed a go-slow at the university of Zambia in Lusaka over the last three weeks.  

Mr Lungu while opening new hostels at the Zambia Institute of Business Studies and Industrial Practice in Kitwe said the government would not tolerate damages to public property whenever students had grievances.

Last year, a female student at UNZA died from suffocation while another was injured in confrontations with the police. The students were protesting some of them being barred from sitting examinations for not having paid fees.

Lecturers charge the government has mismanaged the institutions.