Transparency International Zambia


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ABOUT 500 workers at Chambishi Copper Smelter (CCS) have been issued with summary dismissal letters following their two-day riotous behaviour in protest against alleged poor conditions of service. And Police have apprehended seven CCS workers in relation to the riot that took place on Tuesday at the copper smelter company.Both CCS company secretary, Sun Chuanqi, and Copperbelt permanent secretary, Jennifer Musonda, confirmed the figure of the dismissed workers in separate interviews yesterday. Mr Chuanqi revealed that company property worth about US$200,000 was allegedly destroyed by the irate workers during the riot.He said management was saddened that the workers rioted before the conclusion of negotiations with union representatives.

Mr Chuanqi said the workers had been given a grace period of three days within which to exculpate themselves and show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against them.

He complained that work had been adversely affected by the workers’ riotous behaviour.

Mr Chuanqi warned that all workers identified as ring leaders would be dismissed from employment to discourage others from behaving in a similar manner.

By press time yesterday more than 19 alleged ring leaders had been identified while more than 66 workers collected their summary dismissal letters.

Mr Chuanqi appealed to workers to exculpate themselves within the stipulated time so that the innocent ones could be reinstated.

“We’re appealing to the workers to respond quickly to the summary dismissal letters so that those that did not take part in the riotous behaviour could be reinstated because work has been grossly affected and we need local manpower,” he said.

Mr Chuanqi said CCS belonged to Zambians and wondered why the workers destroyed what belonged to them simply because of a dispute that could have been resolved amicably.

“What we are building here also belongs to Zambians, so people must desist from destroying this investment. For those who will not come to collect their letters, we will follow them until they get them so that they can exculpate themselves,” he said.

However, Mr Chuanqi paid tribute to government for its continued support to Chinese investment in Zambia.

He also said the Chinese worker only identified as a Mr Li who was injured during the riot on Tuesday was discharged from the hospital.

And Mrs Musonda also confirmed that workers were served with summary dismissal letters when they reported for work yesterday.

A check by the Zambia Daily Mail crew yesterday at the CCS premises found several riot police officers manning the company.

Some Zambian workers were found waiting to collect their summary dismissal letters while others were reluctant to collect them, claiming that they did not take part in the riot.

Those spoken to said they were ignorant about the whole thing and that they were just forced by some of their colleagues to riot.

Copperbelt Police commanding officer, Antonneil Mutentwa, revealed that six officials of the National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) and their member were apprehended by police in connection with the riot.

Mr Mutentwa said the union officials and their member were apprehended around 17: 45 hours on Tuesday.
NUMAW national secretary Albert Mando condemned the action by the workers to riot and damage company property.

“We are not in support of what the workers did. We are also disappointed with what happened on Tuesday because the negotiations have not yet collapsed, so why strike or riot?” Mr Mando said.

Zambia Daily Mail

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Times of Zambia reports…

Chambishi fires 500

 ALL the 500 striking workers at Chambishi Copper Smelter (CCS) were yesterday fired while seven National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) branch officials were arrested and detained on Tuesday evening.

The workers were served with letters of summary dismissal by management in the morning.

The move by management was as a result of the riotous behaviour by the workers at the company premises on Tuesday morning.

Police said those arrested were detained at Kitwe Central Police Station to help with investigations.

The workers at the Chinese-owned company had been on strike since Monday, demanding improved conditions of service.

The situation worsened on Tuesday when the workers decided to become violent and damaged property worth millions of Kwacha.

Both CCS company secretary, Sun Chuanqi and NUMAW national secretary, Albert Mando, confirmed that all the 500 workers who took part in the work stoppage had been served with letters of summary dismissal and had been given three days in which to exculpate themselves.

But Mr Mando said it was unfortunate that management had decided to serve the workers with letters of summary dismissal, saying there was no reason to continue with negotiations when its members had been served with letters of dismissal.

He, however, said his union would work hard to ensure that the seven branch union officials, who had been arrested, were released so that negotiations could continue.

“Yes, I have been told that the management at the company has also served the workers with letters of summary dismissal, but it is unfortunate management has resolved to take this stance.

“This decision by management will affect our negotiations because how do we negotiate when our members have been given letters of summary dismissal,” Mr Mando said.

And speaking in an interview at CCS, Mr Chuanqi said the management at the company had decided to serve its workers with letters of summary dismissal as a way of disciplining them for their riotous behaviour, but that they were free to exculpate themselves.

He said management was eager to listen to the concerns of the workers, but was saddened that the workers quickly resolved to become riotous and damaged property at the company.

He said the Chinese investment in Zambia was there to benefit both Zambians and Chinese and there was no reason for Zambian workers to become violent and damage property.

“As management, we do not take pleasure in dismissing our employees, but we want them to know that violence does not pay and that they have to do things according to the law. Problems arise where there are people, but things must be done correctly,” Mr Chuanqi said.

And Mr Mando confirmed the detention of the seven union branch officials and that he was trying to secure their release.

Mr Mando, who was still at the Kitwe Central Police Station by Press time, said those arrested were branch chairman, Oswell Chibale Malume, vice-branch chairman, Christopher Yumba, branch secretary, Steven Kabwe, branch vice-secretary, Christopher Nkandu, treasurer, Kafwaya Ndombwani, vice-treasurer, Chanda Mhango and a shop steward, Kachinga Silungwe.

Mr Mando said the seven were picked up on Tuesday evening and had not been formally charged although they were still being interrogated.

“Yes I can confirm that seven of NUMAW branch officials at Chambishi Copper Smelter have been arrested and detained at Kitwe central police station. They were picked up around 18:00 hours on Tuesday.

“I am actually at the police station, but I have not talked to them because they are still being interrogated and have not been formally charged. As a union, we are trying to secure their release,” Mr Mando said.

The Times team which went to CCS found the place deserted with only armed police dotted all over to keep vigil.

End of report.

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MPs have rejected proposals to hold a UK-wide referendum on whether to ratify the EU’s Lisbon Treaty. The House of Commons turned down the Conservative proposal by 311 votes to 248 – a margin of 63.

The result means Parliament itself will decide whether to ratify the treaty, signed by EU leaders last December.

Thirteen Lib Dem MPs rebelled against the party’s orders to abstain on the referendum vote, with three frontbench spokesmen resigning their posts.

MPs rejected the Conservative amendment to the EU (Amendment) Bill, but 29 Labour MPs supported it. Three Tories defied their party leadership.

Manifestos

All EU parliaments must ratify the treaty before it can come into force. The only country which has committed to a referendum is Ireland.

We hope that in this case the Lords will hold the government to their manifesto commitment
William Hague, Conservatives

The three main UK political parties promised a public vote on the EU Constitution in their 2005 general election manifestos.

But the constitution was rejected by the French and Dutch electorates later that year. The Lisbon Treaty was drawn up to replace it.

The government and the Lib Dems say the treaty does not have constitutional implications, so a referendum on it is not needed.

The government says most changes are minor and procedural and it has secured “opt-outs” where necessary.

Month-long debate

But the Conservatives, some Labour and Lib Dem MPs and the UK Independence Party among others, say that it is effectively the constitution under a different name – so there should be a referendum.

Shadow foreign secretary William Hague said: “This treaty will now go to the House of Lords.

“It is convention that the House of Lords does not stand in the way of manifesto commitments. We hope that in this case the Lords will hold the government to their manifesto commitment.

“The Liberal Democrats’ position will once again be pivotal. We will see if they follow their three-line whip in the Commons to abstain.”

The Lib Dem leadership, which instead wants a referendum on whether the UK should stay within the EU, ordered its MPs to abstain in the Tory-led debate.

But 13 refused to do so, instead voting for a referendum on the treaty.

Scottish affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael, countryside spokesman Tim Farron and justice spokesman David Heath resigned from the Lib Dem frontbench team.

MPs have been debating the different elements of the treaty over the past month.
BBC

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By Shapi Shacinda

LUSAKA, Feb 29 (Reuters) – Zambia has asked foreign mining companies for alternative proposals following their criticism of planned tax changes, officials said on Friday.

“As a committee, we believe the government has done its research worldwide on which they are basing their proposal,” Godrey Beene, chairman of a Zambian parliamentary committee dealing with mining issues, told the state media.

“We have therefore given mining companies time to go and prepare a counter proposal which they should submit to us any time this week.”

He did not indicate if the proposed rates by the government would be cut.

The head of the Chamber of Mines of Zambia, Frederick Bantubonse, said foreign miners would pay more than the stated 47 percent in effective mining taxes when the new regime comes into force from April, compared to 31.7 percent now.

The government has proposed a windfall profit tax at a minimum of 25 percent and an increase in mineral royalty to 3.0 percent from 0.6 percent.

It also plans a variable profit tax at 15 percent on taxable income above eight percent and to raise corporate tax to 30 percent from 25 percent.

Bantubonse said the mining firms had studied the proposed tax increases and found they would be higher than 47 percent and detrimental to their operations and future investments.

“(Mining) companies have scrutinized … new mining tax proposals for their own operations and in every case have found that the effective tax rate will be higher than (the) calculated 47 percent,” he said in a statement.

The government had not called mining firms for a meeting to discuss the tax rates, despite numerous promises.

“To date, no such discussions or consultations have taken place. All (mining firms) with development agreements are willing to discuss and renegotiate the terms and conditions of their agreements,” Bantubonse said.

Zambia’s biggest copper producer is Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), a unit of London-listed Vedanta Resources (VED.L: Quote, Profile, Research).

Others are Mopani Copper Mines, a venture of Swiss firm Glencore International AG [GLEN.UL], First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) and Chibuluma Mine, a unit of Metorex (MTXJ.J: Quote, Profile, Research). Australia’s Equinox Minerals (EQN.AX: Quote, Profile, Research) owns Lumwana Mining Plc. (Reporting By Shapi Shacinda; editing by Michael Roddy)

© Reuters 2008 All rights reserved

Due To Popular Demand …

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The trial of former president Frederick T J Chiluba has being going on for almost seven years now and most people (including us at the Zambian Chronicle) are beginning to wonder the seriousness of the prosecutors in bringing the matter to a close.

With the turn of events being what they have been for so long, a second look at the Chiluba fiasco brings into question whether what we have here is a systematic exposition of an abstract political theory aimed at the vilification of the accused. At this point, we are not looking at whether Chiluba really stole or he did not, we merely want to be dialectic by looking at the position taken so far by the prosecuting authorities.

A young Greek Sophist Thrasymachus once defined justice as whatever the strongest decided it was and that the strong decided that whatever was in their best interest was just.

Over the years, we have seen this kind of jurisprudence used; in fact, Chiluba himself used it at several turns in his presidency to his peril.

Nevertheless, just because he too used it does not make it right for if it was wrong then, it is plausible that it could be wrong today. No one wants justice done than any of us the Zambian Chronicle but we also are tired of the circus the fiasco has brought about.

It is time to execute and execute properly. Tones of taxpayer’s money are being used and the end of the day one needs to look at the cost-benefit analysis of the whole enterprise.

If we need to hurl Chiluba in prison then by all means, let us do that now and stop all the pussy pudding we have seeing. If we cannot make the case, let us shut the enterprise (the task force) down and move on to important issues affecting the nation.

One wonders what the powers that be are trying to prove by delaying this fiasco. Is it that there aren’t enough soap operas on Zambian Television and this seems to provide a holier than thou scenario for some? This certainly may seem to have entertainment value to some.

We say it is time to close shop on this and move on to other things, we do not want Chiluba to be Zambia’s main pre-occupation when in fact he isn’t. Once Chiluba is not within public eyes if convicted or exonerated if not, let his name be purged from all Zambian lips as we look forward to things that make Zambia proud.

Many powerful people he associated with around the world do not even want to hear his name mentioned and we are sure the Zambian populace is Chiluba weary either; that’s this weeks memo from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

Copyrights © 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

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It is rather shocking that the Justice Minister – George Kunda has been instructed by the President Levy P Mwanawasa, SC to present a new controversial bill to be enacted into law – The Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) bill. 

It is aimed at tightening the operations of civil society groups at a time when the same NGOs have been very vocal against the recommended constitutional adoption review and dismissed the roadmap proposed by the Zambia Centre for Inter-Party Dialogue (ZCID), as a “body of politicians” with self-interested motives. 

The bill was introduced last evening (Tuesday) amid accusations that the legislation is aimed at stifling criticism. The minister is quoted as saying … “I am a bearer of the message from the president (Levy Mwanawasa) that this bill be enacted into law”.  

“Government has sneaked in the bill in parliament without consulting the stakeholders. The motive behind this bill is very suspicious,” said Rueben Lifuka, president of Transparency International Zambia. 

This also follows media reports that some members of the opposition parties are not willing to put a stamp on government’s plan while the Catholic Information Service for Africa issued a similar demand from Nairobi seeking a people-driven constitution. 

According to the Nairobi report, government’s proposed modus operandi is faulty; firstly because it is politician-driven, secondly because it insists on parliamentary supremacy, and thirdly because it proposes that government should prepare Constitutional Bills for amendments of the Constitution. 

The minister contended that the bill wanted to enhance transparency and accountability among civil society groups and also seeks to provide guidelines for the establishment, registration and coordination of NGOs, including international organizations that have offices in Zambia.  

While we at the Zambian Chronicle find some excellent provisions in it such as its ability to enable the government to suspend civil society groups that fail to submit quarterly or annual returns or when they misapply funds they receive from donors, we find the timing rather suspicious.

If enacted, all international and local NGOs have to abide by the new rules and in some cases be deregistered if found to be non-compliant. The bill comes to the floor for full debate on Friday and is most likely going to pass … thanks a trillion. 

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

Copyrights © 2007 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2007 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.