Letter to ZAWA Director: Pay outstanding Staff salaries or else…..!

LUPANDE COMMUNITY RESOURCES BOARDS

P.O.BOX 86

Mfuwe

 

20th April 2013

 

Director General

Zambia Wildlife Authority

Private Bag 1

Lusaka

 

Dear Director General,

RE:  NON PAYMENT OF STAFF SALARIES AND CRBs OPERATION FUNDS

Reference is made to the above captioned issue.

Following our letter (attached here) to the Minister of Tourism and Arts, Ms Sylvia Masebo, dated 19th March 2013, we were happy that the government responded to our complaint in a timely manner by releasing KR13 million through the Ministry of Tourism and Arts to Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA). We now request, as Lupande CRBs, that ZAWA without delay remit funds to the respective CRB accounts, to clear what is owed them.

In the Minister’s address to the nation on 25th March 2013 she said that the government had released KR13 million that week, as part of Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) recapitalisation. She furthermore outlined that this money was to be allocated as follows:

1)      KR 3. 5 million to offset ZAWA arrears for February and March, and to cover the month of April.

2)      KR 1.5 million for Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) operations.

3)      KR 8 million for disbursal to the CRBs countrywide to offset all their staff salary arrears.

The funds allocated to the CRBs by government through the responsible Ministry should have been implemented in accordance with the Minister’s address to the nation as above. However, it is now clear that Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) has instead come up with its own disbursement mechanism for these funds contrary to the Minister’s address to the nation:

v  Instead of disbursing funds to the CRBs own accounts as per the legal agreement, you have channelled funds to ZAWA Unities and instructed them to pay CRBs employees.

v  Instead of offsetting the salary arrears of all CRBs staff, you have instructed ZAWA Unities to pay village scouts only, and then just for three months arrears not the full arrears of five, six, seven and other even more than these months owed, leaving all other CRBs employees unpaid and suffering great hardship until other funds are available.

v  There has not been any reason or explanation given to as why and how Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) has broken our legal agreement and a) taken over CRBs responsibility of paying its own scouts, b) paying only one section of employees (scouts) whilst leaving all others unpaid and c) details of the precise breakdown of the KR 8 million sharing across all the CRBs.

Therefore, with regards to good governance, accountability and transparency which the current government is promoting and taking as a priority in all development sectors, we as Lupande CRBs object in the strongest terms to the exercise of the payment of our own village scouts by your ZAWA Unities through the office of the Area Warden for the following reasons:

  • The instructions given to ZAWA Unities to pay CRBs employees through the office of the Area Warden was illegal as it is not contained or prescribed in Zambia Wildlife Act, Cap 12, 1998, as well as in the Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) policy.
  • The modus operation of this method of payment is not clear – CRBs have not been notified formally of this new method of payment. Nor have the powers that be clarified if this is a once-off method of payment or it is to continue into the future. Whatever is the case the fact remains that as CRBs we need to have full knowledge before any new system is agreed and employed.
  • There is no breakdown given or statement explaining how the KR 8 million has been shared across CRBs. There is no transparency.
  • Paying only one section of employees (scouts) within the same Institution and leaving others unpaid has had serious negative impacts both in terms of the effectiveness of the CRBs work and to employees personally. Consequences of the later include harassment, arrests, court appearances and being beaten as it is not understood by the people whom CRBs employees have borrowed money from to help them survive whilst not receiving their salaries.
  • Paying only half of the staff arrears would and will not yield any positive results. It will just make the situation worse than it has already been for all the reasons above.
  • Not funding Operations is a cardinal sin, as it is a prerequisite to facilitating all of the Institution’s activities including anti-poaching programs. Without this no operations can be carried out.

As the Chairpersons elected to represent the Lupande CRBs and the community at large, we feel we are entirely within our prerogative to demand accountability and transparency and that the Zambia Wildlife Act and CBNRM policy be respected and adhered to. In partnership with ZAWA we are committed to the co–management of wildlife in our area and to its conservation.

We consider it a failure of ZAWA that we have been forced to write to you on this issue, and failure to respond timely, we will at that time write to the responsible Minister and copy the Republican President, Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata who has a heart for the poor and we trust will come to our aid.

We await your urgent response.

Yours sincerely,

Board Chairperson                           Board Chairperson             Board Chairperson

Mnkhanya CRB                                Jumbe CRB                        Nsefu CRB

 

Board Chairperson                           Board Chairperson

Kakumbi CRB                                 Malama CRB

CC: Hon Minister of Tourism and Arts, Slyvia Masebo

CC: Permanent Secretary – Ministry of Tourism and Art

CC: Permanet Secretary – Eastern Province

CC: Their Royal Highnesses (Patrons) – Lupande CRBs

CC: Director Conservation – ZAWA

CC: Board Chairman – ZAWA

CC: Director Finance – ZAWA

CC: GMA Manager – ZAWA

CC: Regional Manager – Eastern Province

CC: District Commission – Mambwe

CC: Area Warden – ZAWA/LAMU

CC: Extension Officer – ZAWA/SLAMU