The Full Report by HRC on the Horse Shoe Restaurant Accusations Against Racism

Horse Shoe Restaurant in Lusaka
Horse Shoe Restaurant in Lusaka

23 December 2015
Press Release


The Human Rights Commission wishes to officially inform the members of the Public and the Media that it has completed its independent investigations against a complaint related to racial discrimination levelled against Horse Shoe Restaurant by a member of the public.

In line with its mandate and in the spirit of affording both the complainant and the respondent, the Commission requested for a written submission by the Complainant who accordingly submitted it on 29 th November, 2016. The summary of the complaint is that the Complainant, Ms. Mika Mwambazi, stated that on Saturday, 19 th November, 2016, she went to Horse Shoe Restaurant and witnessed an employee being subjected to abusive and threatening language by one of the managers.

She complained that the alleged dehumanising manner smacked of racism and doubted if the employee was of the same or similar race to the manager he would have been treated in the manner he was treated.

On 24 th October 2016, the Commission also interviewed Horse Shoe Restaurant Workers, one by one, from all the sections who confirmed being subjected to abusive language, ill- treatment and singled out four managers as being culprits in using degrading and insulting language against them. Offensive name-calling such as “disgusting rats”, “rotten eggs”, “f**k you”, “idiots”, “you dog”, useless beings” and “stinking human beings”, were alleged to have been used against employees by some identified managers. The workers also complained of poor and slavery conditions of service and accused management of refusing workers to form a union to represent them in employment and labour related matters.

On 28 th October 2016, the Commission held a meeting with Horse Shoe Management with their lawyers as part of its impartial investigations. Management denied all the allegations levelled against them. They accused the complainant of “cooking up the story” in line with her “Salt Media” media company with the following objective: itself “Salt Media” whose main objective as stated on its Facebook page was to: “SALT is the agency that will enhance your Brand! We specialise in cooking up tasty content and delicious social media campaigns.”

They informed the Commission that they had engaged lawyers and had been to the Labour Office, Ministry of Tourism and the Zambia Police Service in an effort to stop the Complainant from posting any allegations against them.

The Commission, having analyzed all the facts of this case, made the following recommendations and observations:

(i) That the process for unionizing the Respondent’s employees be expedited and resolved within thirty days from the date of receipt of this recommendation. The right to freedom of association is enshrined in Zambia’s Constitution under Article 21 of the Bill of Rights and must be upheld;

(ii) That the Respondent brings a stop to threats of legal suits or police action against the Complainant who expressed her personal opinion upon having interacted with the Respondent. The Complainant exercised her right to freedom of expression within the ambit of the Constitution provision under Article 20 of the Bill of Rights and other regional and international human rights such as the International Convention on the Right to Civil and Political Rights.

(iii) That both parties in the interest of reconciliation immediately stop further personal attacks on social media. This recommendation is not in any way restricting the right to freedom of expression or media freedom but is aimed at seeking an amicable solution that takes into account the rights, reputations and interests of both parties.

(iv) That the Respondent’s managers or agents stop subjecting employees to shouting and yelling in order to create a healthy working environment. The inherent dignity and rights of the workers must be respected and protected even as the employers demand responsibility from the workers.

All these recommendations must be implemented within 30 days from 22 nd December 2016 when both the Respondent and the Complainant received the Commission findings and recommendations. This recommendation is pursuant to Section 13 of the Human Rights Commission Act, Chapter 48 of the Laws of Zambia, which provides that:

“13 (1) The Commission shall-

(a) send written reports of its findings to the parties concerned; and

(b) dependant on the findings made, make such recommendation as it considers necessary to the appropriate authority.

(2) The appropriate authority shall, within thirty days from the date of such recommendation make a report to the Commission, on any action taken by such authority to redress any human rights violation.

(3) Any person who contravenes the provisions of subsection (2) shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding ten thousand penalty units, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or to both.”

It is also worth noting that the Commission was unable to establish a complaint against discrimination on the basis of race as defined by the Zambian Constitution and the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination. Suffice to however state that a crime of discrimination such as racism is a hidden crime which subtly takes place and can mostly be experienced by the victims than be observed by third parties.

The Commission therefore wishes to warn any individuals or institutions that may be practicing any form of discrimination based on race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin, gender, disability, age, social, economic or political status to immediately stop because it is illegal, a crime and a violation of human rights.

Mr. Mudford. Z. Mwandenga


  1. +4

    How does a normal person & for that matter a minister call for the arrest of a whistleblower? this is being f00lish, idi0tic.

  2. +2

    Did you witness these white people using those words you have quoted. Truth is most zambians want to lead luxury lives without sweating. The first thing a ZAMBIAN does when he reports for is to see which items to steal. Like it or not this is the truth.

    • +3

      Every country has people who steal. The truth is if Zambian workers are looked after well and shown the benefits of hard work, can be hard working loyal workforce.

      It is these forigners or non indigenous who want to get rich on the back of Zambians.

    • +2

      @Spaka, KK looked after employees very well. He made sure all senior positions were held by zambians. What happened? You destroyed UBZ, you ransacked NIEC, you brought the mines down to its knees. Even Mulungushi Investment which was created to manufature and supply consumables and other to the mines went down due to rampant pilfering. The list is endless. If you people had enough discipline, those Greeks you’re accusing wouldn’t have anybody to insult because we would have enough jobs to go around. What about that Zambian appointed as GM at Chibsouth Mine, he fired all staff and recruited people who had been fired from KCM for various offenses. The Mine went down and the owners had no option but to replace with Chinese.

  3. +1

    Does HTC have any teeth to bite or their role is just to write such reports? If it has no teeth then let’s give it teeth

  4. +2

    The report does not show anywhere that the employer was found guilty of the allegations made. Furthermore the commission admits that it’s difficult to prove racism generally let alone in this matter. Perhaps the packaging of the case by the whistle blower was below par. I watched a program on ENCA TV channel in which the TV show was investigating similar allegations the program collected or made tv footages as evidence. This was in South Africa. In the case of Zambia I think it’s the word of the whistle blower and the workers on one hand against the employer

    • 0

      It’s common among us to rush to racism when we are found wanting. I’ve lived with with whites since I was 13. There are born racists and liberals among them. Even hard core racists will respect a hard working and honest ZAMBIAN. But of course as human beings one can lose temper and act carelessly. If workers are truthful they can easily sue the proprietor for defamation or some other case as it may be.

  5. vote

    @Joseph, @MALAWIAN HYENA , and others who objected to my comments to the earlier article, where i said I did not find any racisms in the words that were quoted.
    This full report prooves me right and I quote” the Commission was unable to establish a complaint against discrimination on the basis of race as defined by the Zambian Constitution and the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination. ” Please GET OUT OF YOUR BACKWARDNESS THINKING BLACKS ARE INFERIOR, IN ALL SOCIETIES THERE RACIST -BLACKS & WHITES, BUT TIS EXPRESSED DIFFERENTLY THAN JUST THOSE INSULTS. Get out of that hole, and move on !!!!!

    • vote

      Comrade, even the report states that racism can be expressed by the fact that the perpetrator will not insult or belittle anyone who is the same colour or race as himself, the way he insults or belittles those black workers.

      Don’t be so dull and accept workers to be insulted and belittled as not racist. Those insults and deminers are reserved for blacks not whites and you think that is not racism?

    • vote

      As a matter of fact it is illigal to use offensive language towards anyone in developed countries , this takes care of and covers the overt racism seen in zambia where insults and demeaning language and attitudes are reserved for black zambians while no such attitudes is seen targeted at other races.

    • +1

      Deport them for what….. Obtain solid evidence..record the insults,shooting and their laughter whatever…no case here., minister is right. The whistle blower is not even an employee….nkani ya majelasi.

  6. vote

    Most bloggers commenting on this issue are doing so out of gross ignorance, with malice, and full of emotions. I have been to the Horse Shoe restaurant several times without experiencing any form of racism. I know the owners of the restaurant personally and they are neither white nor foreign. They are Bemba speaking coloureds from the Northern province. Where are you going to deport them to? Kasama or Mporokoso?

  7. 0

    So the owners are just coloureds! Hell no! In Germany blacks and anybody who has black blood is coloured.. farbiger
    Honestly, I wonder why a coloured person should be a racist.
    They should go and spend just a week in Germany, they’ll get a shock of their life.

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