One Night in a Lusaka Supermarket…face to face with cash register girl- Amb. Anthony Mukwita

Amb. Anthony Mukwita

SUNDAY: One Night in a Lusaka Supermarket
…face to face with cash register girl

Amb. Anthony Mukwita wrote:

I walked into a shop late last night because we had run out of bread, picked up a few fruits along the way.

Somehow, I couldn’t help but notice the long face a nice young lady behind the cash register, perhaps 25 years was wearing.

She looked distressed, tired, and sad.

I am sensitive myself that’s why I know names of waiters and waitresses that serve me every time I dine out with family and pals, so I ask albeit its none of my business.

“Why the sadness young Lady you should be happy you are working night so your pay must be double with night shift plus you have a job when many don’t?”

With clear sadness and grim resignation, she responds to me, “sir there´s no night allowance for working night and day here…we all get K45 per day as pay, I am sorry if I am not nice to you, but I am just trying to finish a shift from 18hrs to 8am at K45 per day and see my child.”

Her revelation just knocked the wind off my wings because I saw a young girl just a few years older than my own son slaving in a ´free ‘country´ on a wage that does not meet the stipulated almost K10,000 on basics alone the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflections and other NGOs including the UN talks about for a family of six per month.

A quick reflection shows me that in Zambia, a shop worker like her and dozen others according to the law must earn by law, at least K2,300 per month, at K45 per day she´s starving. Are her bosses breaking the law?

But I take comfort in the fact that instead of stealing or engaging in ´social work´ she´s doing a decent hustle albeit on a slave wage. A bird in hand is better than two in the bush, right?

Even in Africa’s second largest copper producer ironically where Sugilite and emeralds abound.

I walk out of the shop disillusioned and think, “Why are foreign companies paying less taxes and less energy fees compared to Zambians, why are ordinary Zambians that can’t open a bank account be taxed heavily for their mobile money transactions? Why why why?”

I come out with no answer but then the few Zambians in formal employment that pay 37 pc taxes monthly to Ceaser to oil the Zambian economic wheels per month know better maybe. You have got to feed the dragon.

Foreign mining companies and lobby groups that are cashing in billions of kwachas for services (tax breaks) I don’t know in dollars, will look at my view as wapt and bitter. He worked in the previous administration.

Somebody must fix this.

So next time think twice before you cream at the girls at the counter in a restaurant or shop, think again.

Happy new year folks. Cholera is real!

Amb. AM 14.01.24


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