I took a stand in my last entry to pay up the loan that I took from government. This is the loan that helped me meet my undergraduate tuition at Chancellor College between 2005 and 2008. The entry attracted a comment from Kamuzu Chibambo, a lawyer, a Chanco alumnus and also, as we all know, a renowned politician. Enjoy it:
Let me begin by commending you for bringing up this vital issue. Reading through your article, it is clear you have reached the point where you are fully resolved to repay your loan; otherwise, you would not have openly addressed the issue.
Government ought to be applauded for introducing the student loan facility that is basically designed to help needy students.
Ephraim, I believe you will be laying a good example by quickly repaying the loan notwithstanding the inherent weakness of the scheme. Given the long periods the loans have remained unpaid, the value of the same has considerably waned which begs the question: Are these loans interest-free?
I would like to believe the majority are capable of paying off their loan sums without major struggles.
Let me urge all those still owing to seriously introspect and perhaps ask themselves the following questions: ‘Where would I be if it were not for the loan facility?’; ‘Is it right that my luxuries of life should deny somebody the loan benefit and thereby prejudice their future?’
‘Tomorrow, when I meet an individual who failed to pursue or complete their university education because of my abuse of the loan facility, will I be bold enough to confess to them I am partly to blame for their fate?’
‘Is there a possibility that my default one way or another could contribute to the breeding of a cohort of criminal youths of tomorrow as a result of failure to pursue university education and thereby leading to them not able to secure a dignified job?’
‘If it were my own son/daughter that is restrained from pursuing university education because someone is deliberately not repaying his/her loan, what impact would that have on me as a parent?’
These and many more questions could be posed simply to underscore the seriousness of not honouring one’s loan obligation.
On the part of the loan administrators, it is obvious current documentation is fundamentally weak. It has enabled directly or indirectly a defaulting culture to thrive among beneficiary university students. This position has to be corrected immediately. Any good lawyer should be able to draw appropriate instruments to create legally-binding obligations and commit any prospective employer to make necessary deductions.
It is also a fair assessment that those of us who have had the privilege of earning an education at these public institutions of higher learning owe a lot to our society. The sad reality is that we have failed in several respects to be role models or fight for the less privileged. Admittedly, the amount borrowed may appear inconsequential today, but let us not forget that at the time the loan was obtained, our prospect for university education to a large extent depended on it.
I choose, therefore, to be optimistic that as many as have read Ephraim’s article will be moved to clear their dues without waiting to be approached or named and shamed. Remember, society holds you in high esteem. It is my sincere hope that all those affected shall rise to the occasion and demonstrate that they are different. That society truly can count on you.
Apart from that, remember you have a moral duty towards those walking in your footsteps on various university campuses. It is hoped the newly created body (headed by Chris Chisoni) shall urgently come up with legally binding and reasonably water-tight documentation that not merely commits beneficiary students to repay their loans, but as well that empowers university authorities to recover from any future employment or business of such students, with necessary indemnities and/or guarantees.
It is simply irresponsible not to make good one’s financial obligations having personally benefitted from the same. National identity cards (IDs) no doubt could prove vital in this regard, too.
It could also help if university authorities made public bank details into which such loan repayments can be deposited. I assume that is not the case as I do not recall coming across any such details in the media.
Thanks a lot Mr Chibambo. If anybody out there has an issue or some thoughts on Unima loans, please share them. I will publish them here. Thanks.n