FORMER labour minister Fackson Shamenda says no one has a right to victimise any person simply because they have refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
In an interview, Shamenda said government could, however, use other means of explaining to citizens the importance of getting vaccinated.
“Internally, the law does not allow anybody to get vaccinated even if they are dying. That’s why in other countries they are fighting for the right for the person to die. That’s a debate you have heard about. Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t get blood transfusions; it’s their choice. Nobody has got a right to victimise anybody whatsoever because they have refused to get vaccinated, let it be polio or Covid. Just like Jehovah’s Witnesses, they don’t get blood transfusion, there is no law anywhere in the world let alone Zambia unless they have amended. Because I left government some time back but there is no law which says you should victimise any person, not even government should not intimidate its citizens. They can ask well, they can use means of explaining to them, but nobody should ever victimise anybody for refusing to have a Covid test,” said Shamenda.
“I don’t know what the law says now, the law that I left in place, there were two things which I did, which I think I discussed with my colleagues at the ministry. Because employment is a right, so I left a law that nobody can be dismissed or your contract being terminated without being given a reason. Previously we had a law which says that any person can give notice and the employee can give notice for three months and you don’t need to give reasons. Well, it is understood because slavery was abolished a long time ago. So if you want to leave your employment it’s none of the employer’s business to ask me why I’m leaving. Okay, there is that exit interview which you can give reasons if you want but it’s not mandatory. So employment is a right. So the law that I had left in place was that you can’t dismiss anybody without giving them reasons. If you say I’m dismissing you because you are not vaccinated, it can be challenged in court and you can not be dismissed, the employer will have serious consequences.”