The Civil Servants and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (CSAWUZ) has reacted angrily to a statement from Copperbelt Permanent Secretary Bright Nundwe who this week observed that government workers were hindering national development because they were engaging in excessive beer drinking and casual sex.

On Monday Nundwe said some civil servants were drinking like goats, a vice which he said was robing the country of human resource.

“I know government officials like drinking. We can’t deter people from drinking but drink moderately. Drink on average. We can’t have a group of civil servants that drink carelessly because a certain percentage within the chambers of you brains will be corrupt. You can’t even distinguish a K5,000 to a K50,000. I can tell you we have lost lives all over the country because people drink carelessly, like a goat. You don’t do that. Drink the average way of drinking. Leave a small percentage in you head to say ‘I’m going for work tomorrow’,” said Nundwe.

But CSAWUZ president Davy Chiyobe wondered if Nundwe had taken time to drink with the civil servants for him to know that they drink like goats and engage in casual sex.

“It only takes a thief to catch another thief. How did he discover first and foremost? Who told him? And how did he see them? As government supervisors we need what is called physical evidence before we comment on serious matters which lower the morality of civil servants. You have that coverage like Nundwe, he is PS. But if we were to ask him, how did he do his investigation to come up with that opinion or that thinking? Does he have empirical evidence?” Chiyobe wondered.

“That’s why I was saying how did he discover? That’s the question which runs in my head. How did he know that civil servants are drinking too much? How did he know that civil servants are having casual sex? Even I wouldn’t know that social life of the civil servants, unless I meet them in those areas. I’m not accusing the PS but, its just my wiser thinking.”

The union leader demanded respect from supervisors of civil servants.

“At the same time that statement lowers the moral standing of the civil servant; where people will not look at us as serious engineers of the public, because we are the people who offer guidance. Mostly I have always commented to say, whatever we say in the press, let it be that which builds the nation; let it be that [which] builds the civil service. If you insult your wife in public, during the day, in the night where will you go? Are you saying you will go somewhere else? We are workers of government and we need protection from our supervisors,” said Chiyobe.

“So for such a statement to come from the PS which goes to that level of undermining the morality of the civil servants… In my view as a union, it’s not welcome; and the fora where it has been used – the public – it undermines its workforce. So, as leaders at that level, lets be cautious on how we talk about our workers. Because at the end of the day he has said so and how will people look at him. Someone will come in and insult you to say you are a womanizer, you are a drunkard. Who has created that environment? It’s the PS himself. So what I have urged the PS’s is that when they speak, let them be cautious of the implication of that statement and the levels which they will undermine the morals of the public.”