Journalists and staff at the State-owned and Patriotic Front controlled Times of Zambia have gone two months without receiving their salaries, sources at the Ministry of Information and the institution have disclosed.
By Thursday morning, employees at the Times of Zambia were still frantically checking their accounts in the hope of getting their February dues while their March compensation is nowhere in the picture.
The sources disclosed that the situation at the Times of Zambia was very critical such that individual journalists had been reduced to paupers from well-wishers in the the Patriotic Front government.
“Things are terrible here and this has been going on for over one year. The whole of last year, salaries were delayed. This time its even worse. It’s now two months.
“We have ever experienced this kind of treatment. Some of our colleague in the newsroom are depending on ministers to survive. They told us that salaries should be ready this week but there has been nothing up to now” the source said.
A Ministry of Information source said permanent secretary Amos Malupenga is sweating over the crisis at the Times of Zambia.
“It seems the PS doesn’t know what to do now. He has run out of ideas and is now running away from Times of Zambia officials. He only calls them when there is something from government to be published and given prominence,” the source added.
The employees said Times of Zambia staff no longer receive their mid month salaries like in the past.
“Even mid month which was like a cushion was scrapped. They have told us the company can’t afford to pay twice a month but we are wondering how this was done in the past,” the source said.
There are indications that government could give in and privatise the Times of Zambia but PF in-fighting which has seen defence minister Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba as one of the potential buyers of the institution.