Traffic on the Kafue-Lusaka road in Kafue today came to a standstill after scores of Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) workers and their families blocked the main road as they demonstrated demanding that government should immediately address their plight.
The workers, who were backed by retirees, school going children and women with babies wrapped on their backs, sat on the Kafue-Lusaka road at Kafue cemetery junction, causing a traffic jam, which lasted from around 09.00 hours to 16.00 hours.
The irate workers, who had just been addressed by Kafue District Acting Commissioner Henry Bowa, expressed dissatisfaction at what they were told in the morning and vowed to demonstrate until the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Sarah Sayifwanda addresses them.
The workers, who together with their wives and children, numbered over 300, sat on the road, much to the astonishment of motorists, who were forced to park their vehicles and waited for the situation to calm down.
A number of trucks and small vehicles that were blocked from proceeding in their respective directions formed a stretch of over 8 kilometres.
Drivers of the vehicles and other passengers were forced to get out of their vehicles to watch the demonstrating worker and families as polices officers watched and kept vigil to prevent the situation from degenerating into chaos.
Motorists talked to by ZANIS described the demonstration as an inconvenience to them because they were wasting their business hours by waiting for demonstrators to leave the road.
They said it was unfair for the workers to block road for a long time.
And addressing the workers in the late afternoon, Agriculture and Cooperative Minister Sarah Sayifwanda, pleaded with the workers to give her up to this Friday, to look for resources from relevant authorities to address their problems.
Mrs. Sayifwanda reiterated that NCZ was still a government ‘baby’ whose problems it was ready to solve.
She was accompanied by Lands Minister, Bradford Machila, who is Kafue area Member of Parliament and Agriculture Deputy Minister Daniel Kalenga.
Speaking earlier, Mr. Machila said that government would listen to the workers’ complaints hence Mrs. Sayifwanda’s efforts to travel to Kafue to address them.
He appealed to the workers to be calm as government was addressing the matter at cabinet level.
The workers however gave the minister of Agriculture up to Friday this week to dissolve the company board claiming that it was not accountable and transparent in the running of NCZ affairs.
They vowed to assemble at the District Commissioner as early as 05.00 hours to wait for her to address them on Friday.
Lusaka Province Police Commanding Officer, Greenwell Ng’uni, and other senior police officers were also present to providing to the minister and motorists with security.