SOME senior ZNBC employees have said if there is an institution that merits liquidation, it is ZNBC and not Post Newspapers because the national broadcaster has huge debts and has over the years been failing to meet statutory obligations.
And the Zambia Union of Broadcasters and other Information Disseminators (ZUBID) has demanded the resignation of ZNBC director general Richard Mwanza, claiming that he has failed to run the government owned and controlled national broadcaster.
ZNBC workers have reluctantly resumed work after they went on a sit-in over delayed salaries.
“That closure of The Post is nonsense by the PF government. It’s all an act of selfishness and hate for prominent journalist Fred M’membe. It was a well-orchestrated collusion that has nothing to do with taxes. If it is about taxes then ZNBC must be liquidated today. The national broadcaster is in a mess, it has no money because of huge debts. They can’t even talk about paying taxes to Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) because it is in hundreds of millions of kwacha,” the senior ZNBC employees said.
“If you want, ask them about their remissions to the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA); there are serious issues there and everybody knows. This is what happens when politicians, PF cadres, are allowed to directly interfere in the operations of such a very sensitive institution. If a PF cadre today coughs, everybody at ZNBC stands up. A company cannot be viable under such circumstances where directives come from anywhere and professionals cannot even execute their work as expected!”
They revealed that ZNBC studios would be leased to a private company to run them on behalf of the broadcaster because of lack of capacity.
“The leasing has in fact technically been done and secretly so. These are the scandals of the PF and as you might be aware, the Mass Media is a property of the Ministry of Works and Supply and not ZNBC. The national broadcaster is just housed there…now how can there be another lease, a government infrastructure being run by a private company? These are scandals and some day some people would be called to account,” the workers said.
Meanwhile, ZUBID said Mwanza must step down for failing to run the institution.
ZUBID Kitwe branch chairman Chabwela Zulu said the delay in payment of salaries was just a tip of the iceberg regarding the incompetence of management.
He said the workers who were demanding payment of their delayed salaries had resumed work after the labour commissioner advised them to follow certain procedures.
“The ultimate goal was to withdraw labour because of the ineptness of management. We need proof that we have a dispute with management and that’s why we are going to have a meeting with them…the delayed salaries is a tip of an iceberg to the ineptness of Mr Mwanza’s management. He is saying he does not have money but we know that we have money. We are telling him to pave way for people who know where to get money because it’s like he has run out of ideas on how to run this institution,” Zulu said.
He said if Mwanza did not know where money was, he should simply pave way for another person to take over.
“This sit-in is just a start of things. We are just waiting for certain procedures, we will withdraw labour just to make sure that Mr Mwanza paves way for someone else who can take the institution where it is supposed to be. We have been in these situations before but we have been paid. Why should Mr Mwanza today tell us that there is no money? ” asked Zulu.