PF cadre Max condemns Nonde for ordering arrest of whistleblower over HorseShoe racism allegations

PF cadre Max condemns Nonde for ordering arrest of whistleblower over HorseShoe racism allegations

By Chongo Chisha

PF cadre Maxwell Chongu has called on labour minister Joyce Nonde to fire her ministry officials for misinforming her over reports of racism surrounding the HorseShoe Restaurant than ordering the arrest of a whistleblower.

Chongu wondered why Nonde ordered the arrest of Mika Mwambazi, a whistleblower, for raising alarm over the injustices that management at the HorseShoe allegedly practiced without getting her side of the story.

In a posting on his Facebook page, Chongu recounted how managers at the restaurant admitted ill-treating employees when he visited the place to carry out his own investigations.

“The honourable Minister of Labour, Joyce Nonde Simukoko, should instead fire the person who was assigned to carry out investigations at HorseShoe for misinforming the ministry. Barely five days after the incident happened at HorseShoe, I secretly went their (sic) on a Friday around 22:00 hours Zambian time and interacted with most employees who shared the same sentiments although they refused to be mentioned for fear of losing their jobs,” Chongu wrote.

“It did not take long before the HorseShoe management noticed my presence and offered me a drink of which I refused to take, opting to buy myself a drink. After noticing I was squeezing the truth out of them, they quickly accepted their wrongs and asked for my opinion on what to do next. It is at this point I advised them to call the offended, Mika Mwambazi, which they did in my presence and asked her to meet them the following day so they would reconcile and issue a public apology.”

He questioned the credibility of the findings submitted to Nonde by officials from her ministry who were tasked to carry out investigations.

“I am not a well trained investigator but I can assure you HorseShoe was wrong and there is no need to arrest Mika Mwambazi but fire the person who was given this huge task by the ministry,” Chongu added.

“I have a few questions to ask: did the labour minister give audience to Mika Mwambazi to get first hand information? Did police launch formal investigations in connection with HorseShoe? Did anyone from the investigation team give audience to Mika Mwambazi? If the answers are all no, then calls to arrest her are uncalled for. It’s high time the government defended its citizens because that’s the reason why the government is there and not to arrest citizens.”

On Tuesday, Nonde told journalists after meeting HorseShoe management that police should find and arrest Mwambazi for spreading falsehoods on alleged racism that the restaurant management was said to be practicing against its employees.

“Racism stories are not true and the workers are shocked that someone is peddling such lies against this institution. The police must find the person who started peddling these lies, he police must do their job, let her bring her evidence. She (Mwambazi) has to be arrested. The police know her, she is an alarmist,” said Simukoko on Tuesday.

But some questioned why a person of Nonde’s calibre would shamelessly wage war against an innocent whistleblower without seriously studying concerns that Zambians raised.

Others alleged that Nonde had been paid to cover up the HorseShoe saga, while others demanded that she discloses how much the foreign owners paid her.

Following Nonde’s orders for Mwambazi’s arrest, some netizens launched a campaign dubbed #IamwithMika and have vowed to stand by her regardless of the government’s position on the case.

King Buzai wrote on his Facebook page: “Joyce [Nonde] has just embarrassed herself; she has given wrong orders at a very wrong time. That is why I am joining the ‘I amwithMika’ hash tag, sorry Joyce, you are not just my kind this time.”

“Just because you get kickbacks from foreigners doesn’t mean that we should all lick their boots. I can never be a slave in my own country. A** lickers are the reasons why Africa was colonised…the corrupt minions, individual love for money has let us down for centuries… How much did that lady get in bribes or was her family given a pass to wine and dine for free on any given day? When power consumes one’s mind, they become stupid. Since when do police take instructions to arrest citizens who have not committed any crime?” Lishomwa Muyendekwa commented on Facebook.

Phil Tembo wrote: “Her first mistake as Minister of Labour. She has to put the workers first…she needs to read on such matters…lack of being well informed results into making embarrassing statements…shame…shame… actually she should be the one to be arrested. The interest of her stomach, that’s after having had a closed door meeting with the HorseShoe management. The greatest error we have had is to believe former labour union leaders make good labour ministers. That’s what happens when one gets compromised. Reaching to an extent of even calling for the arrest of a whistle-blower and she is an ex-unionist! I’m wondering whether she was representing her fellow employees well.”