The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) has commended President Edgar Lungu for the gesture to visit the former employees at the defunct Mansa Batteries and his commitment to pay the terminal benefits.
YALI president Andrew Ntewewe has observed that the president becomes the second President in the history of Zambia after Dr. Kenneth Kaunda to visit Mansa Batteries and its former employees in Luapula province who have been affected by the effects of privatization.
Mr. Ntewewe notes that this visit could never have come at a more opportune time than this when his organization has been demanding for the setting up of the Commission of Inquiry on Privatization.
Mr. Ntewewe has therefore called on President Lungu to expedite the process of setting up of the commission of inquiry so as to get to the truth, justice and closure to this matter which has haunted the people of Zambia for over two decades.
He said the case of Mansa Batteries makes his heart to bleed but most importantly serves as yardstick to prove to the doubters and the general citizenry that the call for setting up the commission of inquiry is not about settling political scores but genuine and aimed at confronting the evils and scars left behind by privatization.
“Just to refresh and remind our people; the former employees of the once viable Mansa Batteries have never gotten their terminal benefits since the company was privatised in the early 1990’s up to now.Out of the 174 people employed at the time of privatisation, only 81 are alive today. 93 have succumbed to the cold hand of death due to depression and other ailments,their children left in the cold without any future to talk about as they were denied an opportunity to persue secondary and tertiary education.The families left behind wallow in poverty and vulnerability” Mr Ntewewe said.
He said this is not an isolated incident as they are so many other cases in point, others probably worse off than Mansa Batteries and therefore it is time to confront this issue and deal with it once and for all considering that the souls of the departed victims, deceased patriots of our great motherland, the vulnerable widows, the deprived orphans and the poverty stricken general populous are crying out for justice.
“Even as we commend his Excellency the President for to the former workers, we wish to put it on record that this is not an isolated incident as there are so many other incidences and casualties of privatization across the whole country. They all deserve answers and to live in human dignity” he said.