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Indeni workers threaten to protest over unpaid benefits

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WORKERS at the defunct Indeni Petroleum Refinery in Ndola have threatened  to protest if government does not pay them their benefits.

The workers said they are tired of waiting for payment of their benefits after the company was put on care and maintenance late last year.

Speaking to #Mwebantu in Ndola, the workers who spoke on condition of being anonymous said they will have no choice but to protest if government does not pay them their dues on time.

“We demand that our packages should  be paid immediately or we will have no option but to protest. In November we were put on care and maintenance. Government told us we were going to be declared redundant. We did not want to be declared redundant, but we accepted. The government also assured us that they were going to give us our money before June 30.However,  the same government further changed and said they will give us our money in the first week of August,” one worker said.

The workers said they have received Information that auditors have been sent to the company for 15 days to audit the firm.

“Now the Information we have received is that Indeni needs to be audited. They are coming to audit for 10 for 15 days, so we do not understand what is going on. We have budgets and we want to move on. Why audit us after every things have been approved,” another worker said.

“We are wondering why they are sending auditors now after all the process is done. We feel there’s something fishy about all this ,but we have a clear collective agreement which was followed, it’s either they want to dribble us or they are delaying our pay further,” the workers said.

And last month,  Bwana Mkubwa Independent Member of Parliament Warren Mwambazi assured the former workers that they will be paid their terminal benefits before the end of last month.

Mr Mwambazi said he held meetings with Ministers of Energy and Finance regarding the matter.

He said he was assured by Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane that he has instructed the Secretary to the Treasury Felix Nkulukusa to mobilize resources to pay the terminal benefits.

He explained that the delay to pay the terminal benefits was because the Minister of Finance and National Planning was unaware that redundancy letters were already being issued to the former workers.

Mr Mwambazi who is also Public Accounts Committee Chairperson said he is following up on the matter closely to ensure that terminal benefits are paid in good time.

The 327 employees were declared redundant when government decided to put Indeni on care and maintenance as plans are underway to recapitalize it.

(Mwebantu, Monday, August 8th, 2022)

Politics

President Hichilema encourages resilience in agriculture amidst drought challenges

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PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema has urged citizens not to lose faith in agriculture despite the challenges posed by drought in certain regions of the country.

The President said the drought being experienced this year is a wakeup call to have more resources channelled into irrigation and water harvesting.

The Head of State has since called for more investment into the energy sector which hosts and helps give life to other sectors of the country.

Speaking during an Economic Governance Training for cabinet Ministers, President Hichilema said it is prudent to invest in the energy sector which helps uplifting other sectors.

“My appeal is that despite the poor season this year, do not walk away from Agriculture. Let us irrigate,” he said.

And President Hichilema said training of cabinet ministers will help uplift skills set through knowledge sharing of the public sector, private sector and outsourced partnership from South Africa.

He advised the attendees to take a leaf of how Singapore uplifted itself from a poor state to a great nation.

“Secretary to the cabinet, I will send you back to Singapore. I was whispering to the Vice President that I want you back. This time I want you to take a few permanent secretaries, few directors and few procurement officers. Walk them through on how we accepted to be left behind and hopefully when they come back, they can meet a wider public,” he said.

(Mwebantu, Thursday, 22nd February, 2024)

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UKA is not about Edgar Lungu, says Harry Kalaba 

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OPPOSITION Citizens First (CF) leader Harry Kalaba has said the United Kwacha Alliance (UKA) is not about former President Edgar Lungu’s agenda to return to state house.

Earlier this month, a number of opposition parties among them, former ruling party Patriotic Front (PF) announced an alliance with the view of wrestling power from the United Party for National Development (UPND).

However, critics have branded UKA as a marriage of convenience with the sole purpose of pushing Edgar Lungu’s bid to return to power in 2026.

However, Mr Kalaba who is a member of the alliance has said people are mistaken to think UKA is about Mr Lungu.

“The mistake people are making is that this alliance thing, they think this about president Edgar Lungu they think, this is about the PF,” Mr Kalaba said when he appeared on Phoenix FM’s Let The People Talk.

Kalaba said UKA is the people’s agenda and had it been about the PF, he would not have joined them.

“If it was just about the PF, I would not have been part of it. This is beyond the PF and the detractors want to boil it down to say ‘it is a PF agenda’. It is not a PF agenda, it is a people’s agenda.

“We are not going to abandon the people’s agenda because the people we did not agree with in the past have also come on board,” Mr Kalaba said.

(Mwebantu, Wednesday, 21st February, 2024)

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Flags to fly at half-mast as Zambia mourns late Namibian President Hage Geingob in solidarity

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PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema has declares two days of National Mourning in honour of late Namibian President Hage Geingob.

The Head of State has further declared that, as a mark of respect for late President Geingob, all flags in the country should fly at half-mast, with effect from today, 21st February 2024 to Sunday, 25th February 2024.

“In addition, the Republic of Zambia will observe two days of National Mourning on Saturday, 24th and Sunday, 25th February 2024, which will be the memorial service and the burial service days, respectively, of His Excellency, Mr. Hage G. Geingob, late President of the Republic of Namibia,” Sectretary to Cabinet Patrick Kangwa said in a statement.

Mr Kangwa added ,”While mourning with our brothers and sisters in the Republic of Namibia, the Nation is hereby notified accordingly”.

(Mwebantu, Wednesday, 21st February, 2024)

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