Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sata is lowest paid head of state - Shamenda
By Allan Mulenga
Wed 16 Oct. 2013, 14:00 CAT

LABOUR minister Fackson Shamenda has urged politicians to stop scandalising the government over its decision to effect a 10 per cent salary increase for the President and other constitutional office holders. And Shamenda says President Michael Sata is the lowest paid Head of State in the Southern Africa Development Community region.

Meanwhile, Shamenda says the Judiciary needs to be protected from unwarranted attacks because it cannot rebut or defend itself. In an interview yesterday, Shamenda said politicians should avoid spreading falsehoods regarding the Statutory Instrument No. 91 on the Presidential salary and allowance, as well as Statutory Instrument No. 92 on the revised salaries and allowances for constitutional office bearers.

"The salary increment for everybody in government now has been only 10 per cent. The nurse got 21 per cent. Ministers and others got only 10 per cent. The other constitutional office holders, like from ministries, the permanent secretaries, they didn't even get anything. They got zero per cent," he said.

"People should be truthful. That is why people say 'politicians should not be trusted'. We should be truthful; you can't be so desperate using falsehood. It is not good. If you go and tell the nurses that 'you nurses you got 21 per cent and ministers got themselves 100 per cent', if that is not inciting nurses, (then) I don't know what incitement is all about."

Shamenda said it was irresponsible for UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema to incite the public to rise against the government over the newly-revised 10 per cent salary increment for the President and other constitutional office bearers.

"This is irresponsible lie from someone who wants to be the President. Because you can cause chaos in the country. We have never been to a situation of war. It is very easy to start war by inciting people. But stopping it is something which is difficult," he said.

And Shamenda urged politicians to stop maligning President Sata as he was the lowest paid head of state in the region.

"Our President is one of the lowest paid in the country ... even judges get more than the President. Let those guys who are saying that look at the salary which the President was getting and what he will be getting if it amounts to 100 per cent increment. That type of politicking is very dangerous and malicious," he said.

Shamenda said President Sata had been leading a humble and simple lifestyle.

"People should be happy when we uplift living standards of others. Surely, in the world today should we be proud that our President is the lowest paid in the region? Others can be because they have made money through other dubious means. But our President is very honest and humble. If you check his lifestyle, it is that of a man who has been very humble throughout his life. If you are adjusting salaries for other people in all honesty, you need also to adjust the salary for the person at the top, isn't? It just makes sense. It is not fair to start scandalising people on issues which are not true," said Shamenda.

On Friday, finance minister Alexander Chikwanda issued statutory instruments 91 and 92 on the Presidential emoluments amendment and ministerial and parliamentary offices emoluments amendment respectively.

According to the SI 91, the President would be paid a salary calculated at the annual rate of K414,406 and a special annual allowance of K108, 934, which translates to K43,611 per month.
The Vice-President has a basic annual salary of K250,551; K62,360 as special allowance per year and K49,098 as utility allowance while the speaker has K239,557, K55, 299 and K49,098 as basic salary, special allowance and utility allowance annually.

The salary adjustments affect all members of parliament too.
And speaking during the opening of the colloquium for judges at Protea Hotel in Livingstone and attended by Tanzania and South Sudan's chief justices, Mohammed Chande Othman and Chan Reecmadut respectively, Shamenda said the judiciary was the only profession that would never be right as even the guiltiest would never be satisfied with judgments.

"That is why it worries me when the honourable men and women of the bench are unfairly attacked by the public. We need to protect the Judiciary from unwarranted public attacks because the Judiciary cannot rebut or defend itself from such attacks," he said.

Shamenda said judgments always had two sides of a coin and that one of the aggrieved sides would not be satisfied with the judgment and even the most guilty.

"Hence they will complain that the verdict was not correct," he said.

He said Supreme Courts had proven a sense of creativity through going beyond the borders to inquire about solutions found in both the case law of other national jurisdictions and the international sphere.

Shamenda said the review of the Zambian labour laws would provide job security to the employees.

"Africa has become an attractive investment destination and there is an influx of investors from around the world…such investments pose a challenge to governments to put in place laws to protect desperate unemployed people against exploitation. Hence there is need to have legal framework," he said.

Shamenda said Zambia has ratified 43 International Labour Organisation conventions out of which 39 were in force and four had been denounced. Shamenda said six ILO conventions had been submitted to cabinet for consideration.

And ILO director Martin Clemensson said the symposium should be seen in the context of increased exchange among judiciaries across borders.

Clemensson said the purpose of the meeting was to promote exchanges of experiences regarding some crucial fields of international labour law and discuss how they could bring added value to domestic legislation.

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