Sunday, September 27, 2020

Dismissed Debswana employees jeer Nchindo and his co-accused

Former Debswana Chief Executive Louis Nchindo, his son Garvas, Jacob Sesenyi and Joe Matome were on Thursday jeered by some former employees of Debswana who were sacked for allegedly engaging in an illegal strike in 2004.

As they left the Village Magistrate Court where they are facing criminal charges, the accused were called derogative names and condemned for allegedly sacking innocent people who were demanding their rights in the form of decent wages only for their accusers to later stand trial for corruption.
”So you were sacking us so that you could illegally benefit from the resources of the mine? Here you are now you are in Court and accused of serious crimes that might land you in jail,” said one young man who had earlier on said loudly that he was happy that their accusers are now in the dock.

”When you sacked us from the mine leaving us destitute,” said one old man also a former Debswana employee, “you never dreamt that you would one day be in hot soup. You thought the world belonged to you but here you are in the dock and sweating.”

A middle aged woman, wearing a tee shirt bearing a legend of the 461 retrenched Debswana workers, like her colleagues, condemned the accused persons for having rendered them destitute just because they were demanding better working conditions.

”I am happy that they are now feeling very uncomfortable just like we are after having been sacked from work unfairly,” she said. “I think we are far better than them because we are not facing any criminal charges as is the case with them and hopefully we will be vindicated very soon when judgment is passed in the case.” She said she had traveled all the way from Kang to come and see the accused persons whom she said had caused all her miseries.

”I have looked forward to this day since the day I heard that they had been charged with the offence and had made sure I traveled from my home village to come and see them in the dock,” she said.

The accused persons appeared unconcerned about the comments which were loudly addressed to them as they passed to their luxury cars parked behind the Court buildings.

The case has, however, been postponed to March 28 after the defence threatened that it would take the matter to the High Court to ask it to order the prosecution to provide them with all the documents they need in order to prepare their defence.

Prosecution is declining to hand over such materials at the moment saying they are still using them in their investigations.

Meanwhile, judgment in the case of the 461 dismissed Debswana employees is scheduled to be heard in the Broadhurst Magistrate Court on the 8 of February. The case was moved from the Industrial Court to Broadhurst Magistrate Court because the industrial Court was too small to accommodate the workers.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.