|One of the
miners who were shot, at Maamba General
Mineworkers unions have strongly
condemned the shooting of
11 Collum Coal Mine workers in Sinazongwe by Chinese managers after they
allegedly protested over bad conditions of service. And Chief Sinazongwe has
warned that the shooting of the workers in his chiefdom marked the beginning of
war between the Chinese and the local community.
Meanwhile, PF leader
Michael Sata has charged that the shooting incident had revealed that Chinese
investors were now above the law. Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) president
Rayford Mbulu and National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) national
secretary Godwell Kaluba in separate interviews said it was unacceptable that
investors could resort to shooting workers that were demanding what was
rightfully due to them.
Two of the victims who were seriously wounded,
Vincent Chengele (20) and Simon Simwete (28), have since been evacuated to the
University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka.
“I have dispatched the
general treasurer and director of occupational safety and health. They should be
in Sinazongwe tomorrow (yesterday) to get information on the ground. In a mine
we can’t allow the carrying of firearms, we can’t allow the Chinese to do that.
The police should investigate and bring to book the suspects. We don’t care what
investments people bring in the country. They should have sought dialogue with
the workers or the unions. This is regrettable. What if a life was lost?” Mbulu
“We can’t allow people to do anything they want because they have
brought ‘funny money’ in this country. They can take it elsewhere. They must be
Mbulu said MUZ was dealing with a similar case
three years ago where Chinese investors used a firearm on miners in Chambeshi.
He expressed regret that the case was up to now still being
“Workers should be protected in this country. We want to be
informed that these suspects have been brought to book. They should leave our
country,” Mbulu charged.
He said there were many investors that wanted
to invest in the country but Zambians should never allow such behaviour from
And Kaluba said there was growing concern over some
Chinese investors who had exhibited violence towards staff at their
“There are some bad eggs. It’s very unfortunate, it’s extremely
unacceptable. When people are crying for better conditions of service, it means
there is a problem. It’s either management doesn’t want to listen, negotiate or
dialogue. The shooting is extremely unacceptable. In some cases we have had the
Chinese slapping or beating up Zambian workers,” he said.
unacceptable, that is why some people say the Chinese are bad.”
Province commanding officer Lemmy Kajoba referred queries to public relations
office, as the matter was now being handled by Police Service
Police spokesperson Ndandula Siamana said she was not yet
at the office by press time. However, Chief Sinazongwe has expressed anger and
strongly condemned the Chinese managers for shooting at the workers. He said
firearms should never have been used.
“The issue was very simple, they
(workers) were asking; ‘why no increment for two months’. The other thing could
have been communication was not good, the workers were using English and the
Chinese were using Chinese. Two guns were used,” he narrated.
shouldn’t have used the firearms. That’s very bad. We know they bring
development but they shouldn’t shoot and use violence on the workers. This is
the beginning of war between the locals and the Chinese. We need to harmonize
the situation if no death occurs. If there is a death, this war will never
finish unless we step in as traditional leaders.”
And narrating events
that followed, Chief Sinazongwe said the residents in the area were angered
after they heard about the shooting and that the Chinese managers had run
“The people went to hunt for them. Police came with tear gas and
many people were tear-gassed,” he said.
“The two that were seriously
injured in the chest by this time have been taken to Lusaka (UTH). For the
others (nine) here, we don’t know when the bullets (pellets) will be
UTH public relations manager Pauline Mbangweta could not give
details of the two referred to UTH: “I am told they are at UTH. I am here trying
to check, I will give you details later,” Mbangweta said.
Sata has charged that the Chinese investors were now above the law. Commenting
on the shooting of the eleven workers, Sata said it was only in Zambia where a
foreigner could shoot so many Zambians and get away with it.
the Chinese are above the law. It is only in Zambia where a foreigner can shoot
so many Zambians and get away with it, and the police are only making slogans
that ‘We are going to investigate’. They are behaving the same way they behaved
on Chitambo, MMD member of parliament Dr Solomon Musonda who shot a PF cadre,”
Sata said the Chinese were supposed to be in custody pending
investigations because the evidence was already there that they shot
“That’s the evidence. What more do they want? Why did they let
people who were shot taken to the hospital and leave the Chinese? Are the
Chinese above the law?” he asked. Sata said the slowness by the government and
the police to react to the shooting showed that the country lacked
“If we had leadership, what is happening would not happen
because I can’t see any investor in the People’s Republic of China shooting any
Chinese and getting away with it,” Sata said. He said the opposition should put
aside their differences and speak strongly in unison against the
Sata said the PF would demonstrate to the country how patriotic
they were as the party would stand by the victims of the shooting.
know we can’t be protected by this government because it has been heavily
corrupted by the Chinese for the 2011 elections and the current by-elections,”
An eyewitness on Friday told The Post that the Chinese
employers shot the victims in the neck, mouth, head, shoulder, chest and other
parts of their bodies.
When contacted for a comment, Mines minister
Maxwell Mwale said he was awaiting a full report on the matter.