POLICE in Lusaka yesterday thwarted attempts by retirees under the Voluntary Separatees Association of Zambia (VSAZ) to march to State House to protest how their underpayment amounting to K 8 million was being handled by the Lusaka High Court which has so far received over 7,000 names of beneficiaries against the genuine total of 3208.
The retirees cancelled the protest march yesterday after they were told that the Registrar of the High Court would address them in the afternoon over the matter.
But later the retirees were advised to go back home and return today so that their concerns could be addressed.
It was then that the retirees decided to go ahead with the planned protest at State House.
However, quick intervention from the police who had mobilised as early as 07:00 hours and sealed Chikwa Road quelled the move as the retirees were advised to make a fresh appointment with State House so that a few representatives would go and seek audience with the President.
But (VSAZ) general secretary Simemeza Syachoke told the Daily Nation yesterday that nothing would stop the retirees from protesting if the meeting between the court and the four legal firms would not yielded anything.
“By 09:00 hours tomorrow, if no tangible outcome will be communicated to us, we shall go ahead with the protest. We are more than ready to clash with the police and we are not going back. There has been too much reluctance from the people involved and that is why the whole group needs to seek the indulgence of the Head of State,” Mr. Syachoke said.
“We are not going back. We are more than ready to die for our dues because there has been a lot of delaying tactics on the matter. We have had enough of these assurances and if by tomorrow (today) 09:00 hours, nothing comes out of the meeting between the court and the legal firms, then, police should be ready to clash with us,” he warned.
According to the lists submitted to the court on Monday, a total of 7376 retirees’ names were submitted against the 3208 names appearing in the Ministry of Justice records, with over four thousand names duplicated, faked or misrepresented.
The VSAZ members retired in 1997/9 after Government invited Civil servants who wanted to retire under a World Bank sponsored voluntary scheme.