It is clear that the populist pre-election campaign of “more money in your pocket” has not only brought anarchy but also bloodshed in the country. For all intent and purpose, the unilateral statutory instrument to increase the minimum wage is meant to shift the burden of fulfilling the “more money in the pocket” rhetoric to private enterprises and individuals.
Government itself has failed to raise public workers’ salaries by 100% except for President Sata and His Ministers, but it excepts individuals and the private sector to immediately manage to pay 100% to workers. Any reasonable person has seen that the minimum wage increment decree has simply ignited the pre-election PF anti-chinese sentiments as demonstrated by the brutal murder of a 50 year old Chinese Manager at Maamba Collum Coal Mine by workers who were demanding immediate implementation of the minimum wage decree by labour Minister, Fackson Shamenda.
There is no amount of words to the effect that Zambia is safe for investors that will convince anyone, especially after the killing of the Chinese Nationals, and the near lynching of president Sata by Copperbelt based youths demanding for jobs, forcing him to abandon touring of the stands during the Agriculture commercial society of Zambia in Lusaka on Saturday.
The truth is that there is a ground-swell of discontent among the electorate, particularly the youth who voted in large numbers for PF on the basis of false promises for jobs and more money in their pockets within 90 days, but 300 days down the line, only PF leaders themselves have managed to stuff their pockets with money, courtesy of the 100% increment for constitutional officers.
The creation of jobs by government is not anywhere in sight, neither is there any plan to do so other than the pronounced one-party state strategy of forcing school leavers to go for compulsory training in Zambia National Service Camps.
It is our view that the PF government should swallow their pride, listen to the many voices of reason and sooner than later make a public statement suspending the implementation of the statutory instrument on the revised minimum wage until genuine consultations with key stakeholders are done and consensus reached.
The arrogant and foul-mouthed stance by Shamenda will simply worsen the situation for PF and the country at large. In fact, in a civilised country, Shamenda would have by now been forced by his own conscience to tender a resignation before being fired. Blaming the opposition for consequences of ill-advised promises and actions by the PF will not take away the fact that it is daily becoming clear to even the doubting Thomases that Pf is still politicking instead of governing. And the time is running out for PF, so is patience for most people over unfulfilled juicy promises of creating heaven on earth within 90 days.
Time to act is now, and we sincerely advise the PF government, in particular the man of action, president Sata, to immediately stop the chaos created by the unilateral statutory instrument on revised minimum wage before many jobs and lives are lost.