More than 200 listers who were contracted to carry out health formative surveys for the University of Zambia (UNZA) with technical assistance from Zambia Statistics Agency (ZamStats) have complained of non-payment of their allowances.
ZamStats was contracted by UNZA to do the listing in 30 districts of all 10 provinces of Zambia.
The job of the listers in the survey was to identify and list houses with girls between the age of 10- 24 years affected by gander-based violence, HIV, AIDS and sexual reproductive health.
The exercise which took place in August during the 2022 Census of Population and Housing covered three towns per province.
Zamstats was paid by UNZA and the survey lasted for 10 days on average
The payment process of 50 percent down payment which amounted to K4, 970 per lister is said to have been marred by omissions resulting in some listers going in the field without cash.
Listers were told that upon return and hand over of the agency’s tablets and retirement of acquittal forms they would be paid but that did not happen three months today.
A WhatsApp group that was being used for communication was disbanded two weeks ago leaving listers with no clear road map.
Concerted efforts by some listers to get to different ZamStats provincial offices had failed to yield progress.
And when he was contacted for a comment, ZamStats acting statistician general Mulenga Musepa refered the issue to UNZA whom he said was the owner of the survey.
“Kindly get to the organisers UNZA who financed the survey. I believe ZamStats just provided the technical assistance,” Mr Musepa said.
This similar response was given to some Lusaka based listers who had earlier mobilised themselves and reached ZamStats head office to demand for payment.
“We were told that UNZA had not paid ZamStats for the balances. So we went to the Dean, in the School of Public Health Hikabasa Halwiindi to ask. He gave us full information on the issue.
“We wonder why ZamStats organisers were failing to account and retire correct acquittal forms,” said one of the listers of Lusaka who sought anonymity.
Dr Halwiindi explained the reasons why the payment had delayed.
“The solution is there except ZamStats is not playing their role. UNZA are the ones running the research project. We released a lot of money for them to do the listing.
” You might wish to know that the project is being funded by Global Fund. And in order for us to get the money that is supposed to be paid to the listers, it means we have to submit the correct receipts of the previous payment of which ZamStats has not done,” he said.
Dr Halwiindi said ZamStats has been sending receipts but most of them were wrong.
“The [names] appearing on the receipts are not the correct names which were listed as the people who did the work. So we have been asking ZamStats to send all the correct receipts and rectify their errors. Unfortunately, ZamStats is not communicating the full details to their listers,” he said.
“What I proposed to ZamStats is maybe we have [an emergency tripartite] meeting so that [afterwards] there is no finger pointing,” said Dr Halwiindi.
However, the listers talked to said they want their money as soon as possible. They said their patience had since run out and they have vowed to expose anyone involved in the wrongdoing to the relevant authorities.