GOVERNMENT has threatened that it will recommend the dismissal of United Party for National Development (UPND) official Douglas Syakalima from the University of Zambia (UNZA) for his incessant attacks against President Edgar Lungu.
But Mr Syakalima has said Government should have investigated his current employment status before threatening him with dismissal because he (Syakalima) was no longer a lecturer with the University of Zambia as he had dedicated his time to his political party.
Mr Kambwili who is Information and Broadcasting Services Minister and Chief Government spokesperson accused Mr Syakalima of practising partisan politics while he was employed by the University of Zambia as a lecturer.
He said in a statement yesterday that Government had not taken kindly to the attacks against President Lungu by Mr Syakalima and that his partisan politicking had the potential to influence students and disrupt their concentration on their studies.
Mr Kambwili said politically charged university lecturers such as Mr Syakalima were not expected to work for public institutions and advised that such individuals should consider leaving their jobs so that they could concentrate on their political activities.
He stated that Mr Syakalima as a lecturer at the University of Zambia, one of the country’s highest learning institutions, was expected to inculcate good morals in students.
“Partisan politicking as being practised by Mr Syakalima is not allowed in institutions of learning because it only serves to negatively influence students and disrupt their concentration on studies and therefore, if Mr Syakalima continues with his conduct, Government will be left with no option but to recommend the termination of his contract,” Mr Kambwili said.
He said Government was disappointed with Mr Syakalima with his continued disparaging remarks against President Lungu, stating that the UPND official as a former parliamentarian should adhere to the etiquette of being a member of Parliament.
He said it was unacceptable and unbecoming of Mr Syakalima to callously issue disparaging remarks against President Lungu and accused the UPND official of habouring what he termed morbid hatred against the Head of State which could easily destroy the moral fibre of the nation.
But Mr Syakalima said it was unfortunate that Mr Kambwili had not bothered to check his facts about his status but rushed into issuing a statement that was completely misplaced.
He charged that he left the University of Zambia a long time ago and was concentrating on mobilizing and campaigning for the UPND and could therefore not be censured by Mr Kambwili.
Mr Syakalima said it was dangerous for Mr Kambwili as Chief Government spokesperson to issue statements that were unverified on behalf of Government.
He stated that Mr Kambwili should have found out from the University of Zambia management before issuing a statement to the nation because he had left the institution and had been traversing the country campaigning for his political party.
“It is unfortunate that Mr Kambwili has chosen to attack me without verifying his facts. He should have checked with the University of Zambia before threatening to terminate a contract I do not have. The University is a place where Zambians ferment their brains and Mr Kambwili as chief government spokesperson should have taken the trouble to check his facts before running to the media. It is dangerous for a chief government spokesperson to issue statement on behalf of Government without verification,” Mr Syakalima said.