Zambia: Opposition Politicians Lambast the Lusaka Government`s Timidity After Chinese Managers Shoot Local Mine Workers
Africa-Asia Confidential (London)
25 October 2010
Mayhem broke out on 15 October at the Collum Coal Mine in southern Zambia after Chinese owners shot workers protesting over dangerous and difficult working conditions.
The workers were demanding higher salaries and an explanation as to why they had not been paid for two months. The tense relations between Chinese managers and Zambian workers is a critical issue ahead of 2011 national elections.
Asian investments are an emotive issue in Zambia. Chinese mine managers have clashed with protesting workers several times before. India’s Vedanta Resources has also come under fire from civic groups for refusing to renegotiate its low royalty and tax obligations when world copper and cobalt prices soared.
Opposition leader Michael Sata accused Chinese companies of gross exploitation of Zambian workers at the last election, and delighted in goading Beijing’s ambassador to Lusaka into some very undiplomatic utterances. Within hours of the shooting, Sata sprung into action again, having earlier softened his [continue reading]