ZCTU has embarrassed itself over NUMSA statement – Banda

ZCTU has embarrassed itself over NUMSA statement – Banda

By Elly Musonda

SOCIALIST Sensio Banda says ZCTU secretary general Cosmas Mukuka’s negative reaction to NUMSA’s statement against media suppression in Zambia is hypocritical and an insult to the people of Zambia.

And Banda says Mukuka should appreciate that the existence of a strong and recognised trade union was a prerequisite for industrial peace.

He wondered why Mukuka was attacking NUMSA for speaking out against the media injustices in the country when ZCTU, which was the country’s trade union mother body, had to date remained mute and had not bothered to address the untold sufferings of the over 1,000 Post Newspapers employees the government had sent on the streets after liquidating the company.

“His reactionary statement on his part issued against NUMSA for siding with free press and the suffering masses as a result of the closure of The Post, regardless of the judiciary process, Zambia’s sovereignty and trade unionism, jurisdiction technicalities does not resonate well. It is hypocritical, an insult to Zambians’ intelligence and betrayal of the highest kind. By the way, he raised the issue of NUMSA not being consultative with ZCTU before issuing the statement because of issues of jurisdiction. Well hypothetically speaking, it is like consulting a chief demon whether the Gospel should be preached to people who have been held in spiritual bondage by the devil to accept our Lord Jesus Christ as personal Saviour. It is a fallacy. NUMSA has done a noble thing on behalf of the toiling masses and free press in Zambia, which Mr Mukuka and ZCTU should have done,” Banda said.

“Therefore, your reactionary statement has two possible explanations i) Ninsoni (embarrassed), your self-conscience is eating you up for not doing the noble thing and rising to the occasion or ii) of course, he who pays the piper calls the tune and indeed if this school of thought passes, you are playing the melody so well. By the way, whether either of the two hypothetical options applies, you cannot deceive us and let alone make us dance to your masters’ melody. It is out there in the public domain and in black and white as to what your masters’ real intentions are over The Post, The Mast, Dr Fred M’membe and free press in a broader continuum. With the above said and in view of the two postulating options which you have, here are the three and limited options to position yourself i) stop using the under cover of judiciary process, Zambia’s sovereignty, and trade unionism jurisdictions to deter other well-meaning movements in the region to show solidarity to The Post, The Mast, Dr Fred M’membe and Zambia’s free press in a broader continuum, ii) redeem ZCTU and rise to the occasion iii) otherwise keep quiet and eat the 30 pieces of silver in peace. By the way, I am not a prophet to know which of the options you might [use to] position yourself. But the beauty is, you know which option of positioning applies for your case since you are privy to the details and please do the honourable thing. Last but not the least, I am not saying this out of hate but brotherly love for us as nation to take recourse to the prosperity of our great nation Zambia.”

He urged Mukuka to realise the disappointment Zambians had with him and ZCTU’s failure to condemn the PF government’s continued suppression of the independent media in the country.

“What has the ZCTU done or said, or even to the least did they support the stand of affiliated trade unions to the workers’ cause in those moments? They did very little to say the least. Ok let us bring it home; when Muvi TV, The Post, Komboni Radio and Itezhi-Tezhi Radio were closed, did ZCTU issue a comprehensive statement as it pertains to the probable suffering of employees of these institutions if the government had managed to completely decimate these institutions considering such organisations are partners to informed, peaceful and sustainable collective bargaining between employers and employees and free press to a broader continuum?” Banda asked.

“If my memory serves me right, I never heard anything from them. The ZCTU boss remained mute. And we were not and have not been surprised by the silence. Now the irony is: one cannot bite the finger that feeds oneself. Therefore, does ZCTU know the untold suffering the 1,000 plus workers of The Post have gone through? Or does Mr Mukuka have any idea; in case he does, his masters have taught him to pay no attention to the suffering of the 1,000 plus workers or indeed any labouring Zambian as they deem them as a necessary evil to sustain their stay in power?”

And Banda stated that Mukuka should appreciate that the existence of a strong and recognised trade union was a prerequisite for industrial peace.

“Since he claims to be a trade unionist and leading an organisation at the very summit of trade unionism in the country, he should appreciate that the existence of a strong and recognised trade union is a prerequisite to industrial peace. Decisions taken through the process of collective bargaining and negotiations between employer and unions are more influential. Trade unions play an important role and are helpful in effective communication between the workers and the management. They offer the counsel and support to ensure that the differences of opinion do not turn into major conflicts. The central function of a trade union is to represent people at work. But they also have a wider role in protecting their interests,” stated Banda.

“When the labour force employed by the various industrial sectors of our economy, especially mines which are our major economic base of our country, cry out because of labour related injustices inflicted on them by the capitalistic multinational conglomerate, has ZCTU risen to the occasion, since the government could not come to their aid considering that ‘some’ political leadership at the very pinnacle of power have gone to bed with these capitalistic elements?”