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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

And another thing...

Management of Collum Coal Mine and all the 13 workers who were shot at have agreed that their supervisors should not be prosecuted. This comes after mine management agreed to compensate victims of the shooting between K20 and K45 million.
There's something wrong in a country where the State allows witnesses to be bought off (that is what "compensation" is) before formal criminal charges are brought. The Collum incident was not a civil offence, it was an alleged "criminal" act. That is to say the alleged offence was committed both against the State and the individual. The alleged offence therefore is not a "private deal" between the victims and the alleged offender. A responsible government is supposed to do three things. First, protect the victim and ensure they are not approached or tampered with in any way. Secondly, institute formal criminal proceedings against the alleged offenders, with or without the witnesses, where such a case is in the interest of justice. Finally, after the criminal proceedings have been completed encourage individual victims to pursue civil law suits. It appears we are already at stage three!

In a country where we prosecute people for bouncing cheques, I find it bizarre that shooting someone can be handled through a financial deal between the alleged offender and the poor employee. If it was all a matter of money, the rich (not just those from east bearing gifts) would never face criminal prosecution. 

At this point we must surely ask - is the criminal process in Zambia just for alleged poor offenders?

Where are Zambians who will stand for justice to prevail in our land?

4 comments:

  1. If this is indeed true, then the message being given is that a rich investor (or any other individual for that matter) can get away with murder. It also further ingrains the perception that Chinese investors are being treated with kid gloves and allowed to flout local laws and regulations whilst GRZ looks the other way. This is arrogance of the highest order.

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  2. The commentator is right - this was an offense against the State and should be prosecuted. It's one thing for Collum or the Chinese to pay civil penalties against the victims but this cannot absolve them of their criminal liabilities. It is so clear that somebody is in the Government's pockets. And by the way, what ever happened to the Deputy Minister of Health's shooting of a political protestor some months back? Has it all just been "forgotten"?

    So much is proudly said of Zambians' peaceful ways. I say it's time for people to get angry!

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  3. Hi!

    What is happening at Collum Coal Mine is simply despicable. We are setting a precedent for other foreign corporations to do the same. And believe me others are watching. Quite obviously there is no one on the sceen who is a son or a daughter of miners from the colonial days. Did anybody parents or grandparents work for White Boers in 1950s? Conditions were so bad those days I cannot describe them. Over time we made tremendous improvements but now it seems were going backwards. Shame!

    Secondly, why are we building two-tier justice system – one for the poor and the other for the rich and well connected? If people or companies can buy their way out of criminal deeds, we would not be better than feudal, fascism or the dirty South in America. Oh! We forget so easily. It is funny because President Banda himself is a product of Wenela or Chibalo – whereby Black Northern Rhodesians had to be shipped to either Southern Rhodesia or South Africa as cheap laborers. Banda’s father went to Zimbabwe. The pay and work conditions then were so bad such that those who were weak died. These people had no legal representation or any representation for that matter. So those who died, died like dogs.

    Thirdly, slowly but surely – Chinese are entrenching themselves. They already have a lot of economic muscle. This Sinazongwe case is now also making them neutralize our legal system. That is what allowing them to get away with it, means. Once they have ALL the important parts of administration in their pocket that is it. The trick is – through bribery or other control mechanisms, they want our government people to chicken out – anytime they make a mistake. And as SOON AS they achieve dominance economically and legally, our freedoms will be gone. And always remember that – wherever Chinese have put an imprint, it becomes impossible to undo it. Who can police them with America getting so weak?

    Unfortunately instead of doing what we can to protect our rights and freedoms, we are busy facilitating their takeover. While this is happening, Churches, civil society and opposition parties are just watching. Too bad!!

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  4. Kaela,

    This only underlines why we need to own our own economy.

    It is clear that the agenda of the IMF and World Bank has been to destroy the nation state, and anything to do with national sovereignty.

    Wealth in the United States and Europe is controlled by a dozen families, and it is their agenda that the IMF/World Bank represents.

    They are not here to develop Zambia, they are here to level our economies and nation state, where our resources are accessible to the corporations they control.

    From Greg Palast's 2001 interview with World Bank Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz (fired by Larry Summers):

    Stiglitz helped translate one from bureaucratise, a "Country Assistance Strategy." There's an Assistance Strategy for every poorer nation, designed, says the World Bank, after careful in-country investigation. But according to insider Stiglitz, the Bank's staff 'investigation' consists of close inspection of a nation's 5-star hotels. It concludes with the Bank staff meeting some begging, busted finance minister who is handed a 'restructuring agreement' pre-drafted for his 'voluntary' signature (I have a selection of these).

    Each nation's economy is individually analyzed, then, says Stiglitz, the Bank hands every minister the same exact four-step program.

    Step One is Privatization - which Stiglitz said could more accurately be called, 'Briberization.' Rather than object to the sell-offs of state industries, he said national leaders - using the World Bank's demands to silence local critics - happily flogged their electricity and water companies. "You could see their eyes widen" at the prospect of 10% commissions paid to Swiss bank accounts for simply shaving a few billion off the sale price of national assets.

    And the US government knew it, charges Stiglitz, at least in the case of the biggest 'briberization' of all, the 1995 Russian sell-off. "The US Treasury view was this was great as we wanted Yeltsin re-elected. We don't care if it's a corrupt election. We want the money to go to Yeltzin" via kick-backs for his campaign.

    Stiglitz is no conspiracy nutter ranting about Black Helicopters. The man was inside the game, a member of Bill Clinton's cabinet as Chairman of the President's council of economic advisors.

    Most ill-making for Stiglitz is that the US-backed oligarchs stripped Russia's industrial assets, with the effect that the corruption scheme cut national output nearly in half causing depression and starvation.

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