Sun, 18 Dec 2016 10:01:11 +0000


By Sycorax Tiyesa Ndhlovu

Some plans to demonstrate against the government’s failure to create jobs for some citizens need to be put in the right context for such job protests to be justifiable and helpful to the concerned citizens.

Recently, some groups of individuals on the Copperbelt province said they were planning to stage a job protest against government’s failure to create jobs for them. And some other individuals supported such a move. But President Edgar Chagwa Lungu called such a planned job protest as politically motivated.

Considering the above issues, firstly, one can argue that it’s a human right for citizens in any country to have access to employment. And such employment should be decent; thereby giving workers economic wages and monthly salaries; coupled with good conditions of service.

Contrary, in Zambia, it’s reported that out of a population of about 14 million people, only about one million people are employed in the formal sector. One wonders how up-to-date such statistics are with the current reports that about 3, 000 jobs have been created in airport construction sector alone; and that about 9, 000 jobs have also been created in health sector alone as a result of 650 health centres and some hospitals which the Patriotic Front (PF) government through its massive infrastructure development policy is constructing. Moreover, a number of teachers have also been recruited in the recent past.

One can also argue that some people were working in the mines; but were retrenched. After working in some parastatal firms for some time, some workers were retrenched.

Surprisingly, almost every Zambian, including those in formal and informal sectors; and those who didn’t vote for PF are looking for jobs from President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and his PF government.

It’s appreciated that being out of employment with some negative effects of world and national economic ills; with rising prices of essential goods and services, life can be a bit tough. And probably a job can help in such a situation.

Therefore, with a big fraction of Zambian population being in the informal sector, one can be concerned with high unemployment levels in the country; especially when one considers vast and rich natural resources such as minerals, arable and fertile land, water bodies, attractive wild life species and the available human capital from such a population coupled with a relatively favourable climate.

It’s from such a background that one appeals to government to find workable strategies to create more jobs for many citizens through sustainably exploiting such natural resources.

Additionally, although workable strategies to create more jobs can be found, government should conduct regular surveys to collect and classify available human resources according to fields and levels of training, levels of experiences and skills. District labour offices can be helpful in generating such data from the labour market.

With such statistics in the data banks; coupled with objective and fair recruitment and selection processes, it’s easy for government and the private sector organizations to effectively target the highest, middle and least number of trained, experienced and skilled citizens in various fields for more job creation.

Resource mapping in various districts and chiefdoms as PF government initially planned is critical in industrialization processes and in creating more jobs both in urban and in rural areas.

While this is one of the tasks labour ministry has, those citizens who want to protest for government to give them jobs should also do their homework properly; and follow right procedures before staging such job protests( if such plans are still active).

In democratic societies, there is nothing wrong with planning or staging peaceful demonstrations. But we need to justify such a move with adequate statistics or else we might be misunderstood; and therefore, such actions might not yield intended results.

Organising yourselves according to fields of training, experiences and skills; and preparing one list showing all such training, experiences and skills for peaceful submission to labour ministry; and lobbying the stated ministry to facilitate job creation for the affected citizens could be justifiable and more beneficial to those who would like to protest for jobs than just demonstrating without facts and figures to justify why individuals in the protest are doing so.

Merely planning a job protest without gathering enough facts and figures as justification for demanding jobs from the government might be seen as a politically motivated move against the current government. Is this the case in such a planned job protest on the Copperbelt? If not, organise yourself with facts and figures for lobbying government and many other stakeholders to sympathise with your situation!

Without relevant specific, accurate and up-to-date facts and figures neither the concerned job seekers nor the government can respectively justify their job protests and make a correct and timely decision on job creation.

Moreover, unemployed citizens in any country should also understand that no government in the world has ever employed all citizens who want jobs. Each successive government, Zambia inclusive, has too limited positions to employ everyone who wants a job in the public service. Additionally, hardly has each government enough resources to employ every citizen who needs a job for a decent monthly salary. So it is even in most private sector organisations.

Such situations in every country leave some citizens out of employment.

From such analysis, even those supporting job protests should think twice and be fair with the situation before they sustain their support for such demonstrations.

Providing evidence why you should be employed out of millions of other citizens who also want jobs is important in such cases. And following relevant procedures might yield better results in such an objective than haphazardly protesting for jobs. Or is it that people who plan such a protest have already gathered all such statistics from each of their members?

However, look at foreign nationals living in Zambia. Instead of such nationals conducting job protests in their respective home countries, they have decided to settle in Zambia to exploit the huge opportunities to improve on their own lives. Why not Zambians exploiting such opportunities which foreign nationals living in this country are exploiting to improve on their lives?

And if someone was trained and was working for a certain government department or for some firm; thereby deriving some experience and some skills from such employment, is that not a chance for such a person to start entrepreneurship; and employ some of his or her fellow Zambians?

Someone might argue that to start a business, one needs capital. But what is the size of the required capital? Should we all wait until we win jackpots for most of us to start businesses? How are other people starting tunthemba, restaurants, boutiques, hard wares, transport business, etc to improve on their lives if we are awaiting government to employ us or to give us loans before we start our own businesses to fight against our unemployment?

Just look at how some Zambians are finding some spaces in economic activities as survival strategies! In the streets, markets, transport sector, in crops, fruits and in livestock, one finds some Zambians doing all sorts of economic activities to improve on their lives.

And agriculture ministry permanent secretary, Julius Shawa observed that there is a huge; but hungry and yawning market for farm produce in shopping malls in Zambia. However, Mr Shawa also noted that some farmers are slowly raising reasonable incomes from sale of vegetables, fruits, chickens, goats, pigs and many other farm produce and livestock units.

So why not join such a team of energetic and resourceful Zambians in improving on one’s life and in the process contributing to improving on our national economy through such economic activities; instead of spending time and efforts planning for job protests?

While government is creating and planning how to create more jobs for the available human capital and sustainably exploit the available huge and rich natural resources for the benefit of all Zambians, individual citizens should be resourceful enough to create their own economic activities to better their lives. Complements of the season, dear Daily Nation’s readers.


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