Embattled labour minister Fackson Shamenda has branded hotel Intercontinental owners as arrogant and says the hotel does not merit being a five star hotel, but his comments have angered tourism ministry officials.
Shamenda, who made the disparaging remarks during a media launch of the construction sector labour laws awareness campaign at intercontinental also castigated the event organisers for holding the event at the hotel.
“I am surprised that they call themselves a five star hotel when their services are like that of a three star hotel,” said the minister who was convicted and fined K112,000 for defaming Dangote Industries. According to Shamenda, the investors were arrogant because they dismissed 130 workers who are alleged to have gone on an illegal strike, but then Shamenda dismissed more nurses and health workers who were making genuine demands just at about the same time.
But a senior official in the ministry of tourism says Shamenda’s comments were defamatory to Intercontinental and retrogressive to the tourism sector because his comments portrayed that the grading of hotels in the country was not accurate.
“Those remarks are defamatory because for any reason if some guests decide to cancel business on grounds of the minister’s careless statements, the hotel can sue him for loss of business and further this is retrogressive to the tourism sector because some tourists who may take his comments seriously would think Zambia has poor hotels. I don’t know what has gone wrong with this minister’s mouth,” said the official.
He further said that it was at Intercontinental hotel where Shamenda planned to meet the Dangote official who he accused of wanting to bribe him.