Ex-Soldiers Challenged

Zambian soldiers returning from a UN peace assignment

Zambian soldiers returning from a UN peace assignment

Ex-service men have been urged to form cooperative societies for them to be able to fully participate in the economic development of the nation.

Addressing ex-servicemen in Kabwe Thursday, bureau for Ex-Servicemen chairperson Col. Newstead Nyirongo said ex-servicemen should have progressive ideas for them to survive.

Col. Nyirongo said it was advisable for the ex-servicemen to form multipurpose cooperative societies so that they can participate in manufacturing, agriculture, trade and mining and other economical ventures.

Col. Nyirongo noted that the general membership of the bureau, especially those that were retired before 1996 when the pensions Act was reviewed, were the most disadvantaged.

He added that those who retired before 1996 were getting below K100, 000 irrespective of the ranks they retired on but those who retired after 1996 at sergeant level were getting not less than K300, 000 monthly pensions while colonels were getting over a K1 million.

Col. Nyirongo said it was however, pleasing that both the pension fund and the National Constitution Conference (NCC) were pushing for a review of the pension Act so as to improve the lump sum and monthly pension.

He challenged the ex-servicemen to build interest in the NCC deliberations saying the outcome from the NCC would affect them as well.

‘ I need to emphasize that as we push for these pension reforms, it is equally important that as an organization, we should be seen to be coming up with progressive survival ideas,’ he said.

He called for a united voice to have the current or coming governments review the situation of retired servicemen as most of the members were dying of depression.

‘Our girl children have gone into prostitution, our boys into criminal activities and HIV/AIDS is devastating this group of persons. What sort of Zambia are we going to leave behind,’ asked col. Nyirongo.

Col. Nyirongo also observed that there was need to pressure government to change social policies for the betterment of all workers regardless of were they work.

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