Some of the 25 retired teachers at Kabulonga Boys Secondary School in Lusaka who were evicted from government houses last week have complained that a number of retirees are dying due to depression as a result of not receiving their dues.
And the retirees have appealed to government not to throw them away like “used condoms”, insisting that they are still useful.
A check at the teachers compound, Thursday, found several affected retirees and their families stranded, with goods outside their previous houses while armed police officers manned the area.
Narrating the ordeal to News Diggers!, Smartson Zyambo, who served as a laboratory assistant, said they were ordered to move without considering whether or not they were paid.
“It wasn’t a notice. We were ordered to move, whether you have been paid or not. I have not been paid anything. I worked for Ministry of Education. I have not been given my terminal benefits. I retired in 2010 and I was given a five-year contract. I have served government for 40 years. The only notice we were given was before March. We went to talk to them (regional officers); we told them ‘you have not paid us.’ We were evicted at 23:00 hours and I was not personally victimized, but my friends whom I went to see were beaten,” Zyambo complained.
“Maybe we were paid in absentia…you know this thing where the Ministry of Finance pays you then someone else gets the money, then you are accused of receiving the money. I am not sleeping, we are tired! People have died of depression because of failing to obtain what belongs to them.”
He revealed that retirees were told to wait for their benefits because government was broke.
“The government is broke and they told us to wait for the next (2020) budget to come, maybe we will be given. I have two children who are still in school. Boma ni Boma, but unfortunately, Siimayangana, siimamvela; ikakuchita discard ninshi kwasila (The government does not listen and does not look at the plight of its former employees, once you are retired, you are forgotten)” said Zyambo.
And in a separate interview, David Kaatwe, a former plumber at Kabulonga Boys Secondary School, complained that he was going to spend nights on the road as his family didn’t have any money.
“They haven’t paid me my benefits so I don’t know why they have pushed me out of the house. My money is about K60,000 or so. They evicted us at 01:30 and they have broken a lot of things. They have stolen some of my stuff. They were about six police officers. Although I was given a notice, I went to report to the regional offices and they told me that since I had not received my money, I have to wait. So I am still waiting for that letter so that they tell me why they have decided to chase me today. I retired five years ago and I have not been given any money. I don’t know where to go now because I have no money. It’s either I will sleep on the road,” said Kaatwe.
But General Education Minister David Mabumba says all the retirees that have been evicted from Kabulonga Secondary School boys and girls institutional houses were already paid their benefits.
He said those disputing being paid must present documents so that the situation could be corrected.