PRESS STATEMENT FROM PATRIOTIC FRONT SECRETARY GENERAL HON DAVIES MWILA

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INVESTORS MUST RESPECT LOCAL LABOUR LAWS AND OUR PEOPLE MUST REFRAIN FROM TAKING THE LAW INTO THEIR OWN HANDS

1. PATRIOTIC FRONT IS A PRO-POOR PARTY AND WE ARE FRIENDS OF THE WORKING CLASS

The Patriotic Front is by design, by objective and by practice a Pro-poor party. We are friends of the working class.

The people’s heartbeat is our heartbeat and the people’s pain is our pain.

Therefore, when our people are laid siege in very trying environments by their foreign employers and their contact with the outside world restricted for weeks on end without even having an opportunity to see their families…our hearts feel their pain.

When Foreign Investors reportedly begin to engage in racial discriminatory practices that remind us of what our forefathers went through during the colonial period, our pain turns into a passionate defense of our proud African identity.

However, our passion should not turn murderous. For in defending the pride of our Africaness, we lose our basic human identity when we take the life of another human being- not matter the race.

So our hearts equally bleed when the lives of investors are taken in senseless cold blood by our people.

2. WE CALL FOR ZAMBIAN WORKERS NOT TO TAKE THE LAW IN THEIR OWN HANDS

It is against this background that we call on our brothers and sisters; our sons and daughters – the workers not to take the law in their own hands but follow laid down procedures to report any labour related matters.

3. WE CALL FOR INVESTORS TO RESPECT THE COUNTRY’S LABOUR LAWS AND THE TRADITIONAL VALUES THEY HAVE FOUND IN OUR COUNTRY

By the same token, we call on all investors to respect the country’s labour laws well as our cultural and traditional norms.

When in Zambia, the Zambian way overrides the foreign way. That is the bedrock of our co-existence as a people.

Patriotic Front recognises the importance of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to our economy. However, the said FDI should not be a curse on our dignity. It must always remain a win-win blessing. It should therefore not be at the expense of the dignity of our people or the sovereignty of any nation, including our nation.

“Ichalo bantu.” The Zambian nation is its people. Any racial abuse of any Zambian by any foreigner on Zambian soil is an affront on our entire nationhood. It is inexcusable anywhere in the world.

While we strongly call on our people not to be violent against any foreign investors, we are equally calling upon all foreigner nationals to treat our citizens with dignity while striving to co-exist in unity. Our co-existence must never be characterised by derogatory and racial double standards on either sides.

4. MINISTRY OF COMMERCE TRADE AND INDUSTRY MUST COME OUT CLEAR ON BUSINESSES RESERVED FOR ZAMBIANS

Let me take this opportunity to our Ministry of Commerce and Industry to clearly state which businesses are categorically a preserve of the Zambian people. If it means amending pieces of legislation, this must be done as a matter of urgency.

It is unacceptable that investors should travel hundreds and thousands of miles within and across continents to come and compete with Zambians in cutting hair and selling chickens and airtime at the market? This must never be the case as it is detrimental to the growth of local businesses.

Patriotic Front wants businesses for Zambians clearly stated in subsidiary legislation and this is a clarion call we are making to the economic cluster and Ministry of Commerce in particular.

In the same vein, we demand that empowerment vehicles like Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) must reposition itself as true empowerment vehicle for emerging and existing Zambian entrepreneurs, especially the youth, women and differently abled persons.

5. THE MINISTRY OF LABOUR MUST ALSO BE SEEN AND PROVED TO BE ACTION ORIENTED IN ENFORCING COMPLIANCE AND GENERALLY SERVING INTERESTS OF ZAMBIANS

Allow me to speak to the Ministry of Labour to ensure their inspectors are not only reactive but proactive.

Patriotic Front’s ideology is that of a pro-poor party as it is a friend of the working class. Wr urge the Ministry to ensure labour relations are cordial and where workers are violated, sanctions as provided for under the law must follow. That is the proactiveness we seek to see. That is the proactiveness our people are asking for.

6. WE EXPECT TO SEE MORE ACTION FROM MINISTRY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT TO LEGALLY CORRECT ISSUES WITHIN ITS AMBIT

So since His Worship the Mayor Miles Sampa has apologized, we expect to see more action from Ministry of Local Government and Sister Ministries in legally correcting any prevailing situation with deserved urgency.

7. WE ARE A PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT

We are calling for harmonized relations between the workers and employers, domestic and foreign. We are also calling for a more coordinated and multi-disciplined approach from all stakeholders in working towards improved relations between our citizens and investors from any part of the world.

As a matter of policy, we remain on the side of the vast majority of Zambians that continue to see through and reject the opportunistic immaturity of failed opposition parties and their leadership driven by individuals who have historically been anti working class. While some of them allege corruption against, which has become an old song, they are synonymous with partisan life presidency of a disgruntled conman who cannot explain his riches.

Signed:

Hon Davies Mwila
Secretary General
Patriotic Front
Party Headquarters

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