Members Of Parliament Have A Moral Duty To Defend The Dignity Of Retirees By Keeping Them On The Payroll – ZUFIAW President

The Zambia Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers (ZUFIAW) is shocked by attempts by government to amend the Republican Constitution and remove  Article 189 which ring-fences retirees from destitution once pension benefits are not paid.

We find this action as proposed in the Constitution (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019, to be a heartless attempt to send retirees prematurely to their graves.

Pension benefit, as a form of social security, is a human right issue guaranteed by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the Republican Constitution and the Employment Code Act.

In a country which does not have a universal pension for its senior citizens, we fail to understand the logic behind manoeuvres to remove retirees from the payroll once their accrued pension benefits are withheld by their employers.

We are alive to the fact that Members of parliament cannot wait for five years to receive their gratuity, and they shamelessly demand for midterm gratuity, what kind of corporate greed is government trying to promote by introducing a new constitution which takes bread out of the poor worker’s mouth?

This kind of corporate greed is a moral scandal which should be fought by workers across the country, including the Members of Parliament.

MPs have a moral duty to reject the Constitution (Amendment) Bill No. 10 currently before parliament as it has no legitimacy in the eyes of the public especially the workers who pay heavily in taxes during their employment life.

We, the people, have the sovereign right to give ourselves the kind of constitution we want. The role of parliament is merely to enact the laws that we make.

Given the outcry that the National Dialogue Forum (NDF) has raised and the discredit the Constitution (Amendment) Bill No.10 has faced, it’s time for government to eat a humble pie and withdraw the said bill.

There is no need to defy public opinion on the necessity of a people-driven constitution making process.

The contentious gaps identified in the 2016 Constitution have nothing to do with removing retirees from the payroll and their benefits should be withheld by greedy employers.

The same speed with which Members of Parliament receive their midterm gratuity is the same urgency a retiree would love to receive their accrued pension benefits.

Whatever is good for the goose, must be good for the gander.

 

Ackim Mweemba

ZUFIAW President

Issued in Lusaka on Monday, 19th August

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