Zambian Diplomat Abusing Employees, Treats Them as Mordern-Day Slaves

ZambiaWINDHOEK – A number of current and former employees of Zambia’s High Commissioner to Namibia, Wendy Sinkala, have accused her of verbally abusing her Namibian domestic workers and of treating them as if they were modern-day slaves.

Chief among the accusations are physical and dehumanising treatment; working for long hours without pay; working non-stop without being given days off; being insulted for no apparent reason; unfair deductions, as well as abrupt dismissals. Workers at the High Commission also accuse the diplomat of making belittling and degrading remarks about Namibians in general.

The workers, most of whom spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, said that when they signed contracts with the High Commission, they were promised benefits such as medical aid, social security and housing, but when they made enquiries, they were told that these were already included within their contracts.

According to one worker, who was sobbing when approached for comment, Sinkala is so abusive that workers have to wash her hands when she takes her meals, they must clean her shoes, wait for her at the door when she enters her residence and she expects them to run up and down a staircase of 25 steps to serve her.

The High Commissioner allegedly manhandled one of the employees when things were not done according to her wishes. Some of the domestic workers complained that they were forced to work from 07h00 to 17h00 without a lunch break. Those who dare to eat food at the High Commissioner’s residence face summary dismissal.

“She treated us like we are dogs,” lamented one of the former workers who said she left her job because of the continued ill treatment by the diplomat who usually brags that she is untouchable, possibly in reference to her diplomatic status.

She said when there are functions, Sinkala never hires a professional catering service or a chef, but lets the employees do the cooking and cleaning even though it is not part of their job descriptions.

Apparently the High Commissioner insists on being served in bed and having her shoes carried to the bedroom by domestic workers. “She fired G4S security guards like nothing. Every time you would hear her saying: ‘Send me another one’,” said the former employee.

Sinkala apparently changes her domestic workers at will and when the employees try to talk to her, her customary reply is a curt: ‘I don’t talk to low class people, don’t bring me to your standards.’

Another former domestic worker claimed that N$300 was deducted from her salary for “closing the curtains late” while N$495 was also deducted from her salary for not changing the decoder to Zambian television on time.

Sinkala who became the new High Commissioner to Namibia in January 2012, changed the working hours of 08h00-16h00 for one of her domestics to 08h00-17h00 without a salary raise. When the High Commissioner has guests the live-in employees apparently have to work from 06h00 to 24h00 without being paid overtime. “She called us foolish and she insults us. It was so awful to work for her,” recalled another one of the many disgruntled former employees.

John Puriza, who worked as a driver for the High Commission for three years and was fired on Tuesday, alleges that he was fired for not picking up the High Commissioner at the airport last Friday, even though he had made it clear that he was not working on that day since he had worked on Zambian Day. On a separate occasion Sinkala apparently hit him with the car door for not opening her door on time and said: ‘You see your boss, but you are still sitting.’

The former driver, who has now filed a complaint with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, quoted Sinkala as having said: ‘You are stupid, if I fire you, you will suffer.’

Puriza said that they raised several complaints with the High Commission’s First Secretary one Mr Lombe, but nothing came of it.

Sinkala could not be reached for comment, but the Deputy High Commissioner Samson Mujuda said the accusations were “total lies” when New Era reached him. He claims that all the allegations are false since the High Commission complies with all the labour laws of Namibia. “I never got any report of that nature. If they had problems, they could have communicated with me,” he said, adding that they were free to speak to him, because he is the administrator at the Zambian High Commission in Windhoek.

He said the complaints are coming from people who were disciplined for wrongdoing. On the issue of overtime, Mujuda said that in some contracts overtime was already embedded within the workers’ salaries. “Workers are in different classifications,” he said, dismissing allegations that some workers were performing duties outside what is stipulated in their contracts. He further dismissed claims that the High Commissioner had physically or verbally abused any employee, adding that as an immediate supervisor he frequently goes to the residence and has never seen anything like that.

“I sit with them like brother and sister and give them opportunity to talk,” he claimed.

Approached for comment, Foreign Affairs Chief of Protocol, Mbapeua Muvangua, said that he has not received any complaints about the situation at the Zambian High Commission. He said the High Commissioner cannot be taken to court because she enjoys diplomatic immunity. However, he said diplomats are under obligation to respect the labour law and all other laws of Namibia.

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39 Responses to Zambian Diplomat Abusing Employees, Treats Them as Mordern-Day Slaves

  1. mwebe Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    What this diplomat should’nt forget is that the majority of people who voted for PF are the same people she is calling low class.Without the votes of these people madam diplomat you can not enjoy all those things you are enjoying.Please have respect for your fellow human beings regardless of their status in society.

    • KA GELO Reply

      March 28, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      Read the story properly, did Namibians vote for our government? Musendapo icushi mwasha umulilo. I have lived in Namibia and Botswana, these people are naturally lazy. The High commission is paying them a lot of money, they must work for it.

      • TC Reply

        May 2, 2013 at 8:25 am

        Yes, they must work for the money but Sinkala should treat them as fellow human beings. If they are not performing, there are normal and civilised ways of handling these matters. She should not tarnish the name of well meaning Zambians living in Namibia and elsewhere.

  2. maiko Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    She must be immediately recalled from her so called post.Its these same uneducated people who are given high govt posts with no experience.They think working as a diplomat is the same as being in heaven.Re call her honorable president Sata.Who does she think she is and u can see the evil on her face,im just surprised shes not lozi.

  3. xxx Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    let her be called back!!!

  4. The One Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    foolish woman evil one

  5. mc Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Her ass is even lucky its not in southafrica,where they know how to deal with such problems regardless of yr so called high commisioner immunity.They will teach u the joburg style!

  6. Chanda Chimbwi na Plan Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Iwe Maiko walitumpa sana wembwa we! Ninshi ulebikila abalozi mu mulandu uyo tabalimo? Wabe tole Tribalists like u should be shot on sight.

  7. 2pac Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    I think she is divorced and there is noone to service her thus the frustrations

  8. mali Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    @Maiko musantnyoko, why involve people who are highly educated, munungu wa hao wautwa nji, nemba ya ndtaho, *****, does she look like a lozi person, such a chi big nose, musukwalahao, usike wakutiseza fateni ni kamuta, wena wakusachiwa ki kwena, kapa tau. *****.

  9. mwebe Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    @Ka Gelo,what i mean is that,if she can insult servants in Namibia,she can do the same here in Zambia.If you are well cultured,you can not respect elders in your own hope and insult those not coming from your home.hope you get the context within which i commented…

  10. muchite Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Iwe Maiko who told yu that Lozi women are the ones with such behavour? Anyway there’s an element of truth but this Sinkala should be recalled. She is tired. By the way is she married? If not then she is sexialy frustrated

  11. oweeh? Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    The problem of give a job to someone who understands nothing about Diplomacy.

    • Cc Reply

      March 30, 2013 at 2:43 am

      I have seen even career diplomats doing worse things and to make it worse, harming fellow Zambians abroad.nthat diplomacy tou are talking about is mere theory

  12. tifitifi Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    chimayo ichi nimbwa sana. atase ifyabupuba

  13. Barotse diaspora Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Office abuse! Arrest that namwanga woman. Ms sinkala the wil happen to u.

  14. gwido Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    imwe leave her alone she’s got experience, during Levy’s time she served in Ethiopia. Most workers are ungreatful because of envy.

  15. High Above Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Maiko is not Bemba He just wants to cause friction between Bembas and Lozis

  16. Nim Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Mayo mwaba amalepe nga amatwi ya nsofu.

  17. mafo Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    those who do not want lozis are fools, let the lozis rest mina likubaza sata, we have been insulted enough even grade seven failures insulting us ata

  18. Gershom Jere Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Whatever the Naminians attitude may be it does not warrant her to abuse them.
    I myself in particular believes in God as supreme and a rewarder of positions and he can take it away at any time.
    Men are only used by God to either make appointments or demotions.
    Its not conducive to think of oneself as untouchable.

    • enos_Mwale Reply

      March 29, 2013 at 9:19 pm

      Excellent. It can not be better than this. Walasa mudala

  19. Gershom Jere Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Whatever the Naminians attitude may be it does not warrant her to abuse them.
    I myself in particular believes in God as supreme and a rewarder of positions and he can take it away at any time.
    Men are only used by God to either make appointments or demotions.
    Its not conducive to think of oneself as untouchable.

  20. u save me Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    in God eyes we are all the same we are born the same we will die… Pipo remember this…………

  21. digital Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    as woman she must just feel as the way she feels on her on children i do not think she can allow some people to mistreat her on children please try to imitate jesus who is the great leader

  22. bee Reply

    March 28, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    That woman is naturally like that a wicked woman she used 2 be my neighbour in ibex hill she would even push us around even when she came 2 visit in our house,her former gardner once beat her up n locked her in the house n throw the keys outside n left.

  23. Umusambashi Reply

    March 29, 2013 at 2:07 am

    Its common knowledge most Namibians are lazy, and very closed to non Namibians. They ve a very cold attitude towards non Namibians except a mukuwa olo a very light person close to being considered a mukuwa. Elo bapakanwa sana, o konda kani zolubulushanya…ni ba ‘kalimwitoba’. What is wrong is being insulted and abused but even ths word abused is too general a term to be considered in ths context bcos of th degree to apply for qualification of abuse; if one has not met thr target for the day, u wld expect ur superior request u meet ur target in order to achieve ur goal. Thr is nothing for mahala in this world neh.

  24. the general Reply

    March 29, 2013 at 2:37 am

    There are exceptions to diplomatic immunity. if he was fired without due process he can take the matter to court but he has to consult first a lawyer. Like the case of zambia embassy in the united states a complaint was brought to the US employment commission (EEOC),and EEOC had found reasonable cause to believe that zambia embassy had violated the statutes complained of.

  25. Tomorrow Mailes Reply

    March 30, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    This woman once upon a time worked in Kenya as our High Commissioner, she is just like that full of self righteous. in Kenya she mistreated her workers in the same way as described in the article.

  26. Mwapoleleni Reply

    April 2, 2013 at 1:13 pm


  27. Inonge Reply

    April 18, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Interesting comments indeed; Its a pity that in this global village, we still find characters that are so tribal. It may be a fact that a sector of a few lozis are cruel, just like there are cruel people who are Nyanja; Bemba; Tonga; Luvale; Kaonde, ila etc.. even though it may vary in numbers, due to background and experiences and life’s challenges, but to conclude that Ms. Sinkala should have been a Lozi and not a Namwanga to behave in the manner she behaves, is absolutely unreasonable especially when you are a Zambia national where we co exist as 73 tribes. To start with if you are alert to how Lozis behave, you would realize, that Lozis are a proud lot that is why you would rather associate them with ill gotten matters. A lozi does not believe in scrambling for anything or get excited with worldly things. Most if not all Lozis, stand for Truth, and Managing people is a God given skill in them, there are very few who do not have that quality, so please let us not start smearing mud at each other over petty issues like this particular one about Ms. Sinkala, who seems to one of the few people, who even when they are priveledged they do not seem to understand why they have received the blessing, whether its through hard work, or by sheer luck of being a relative to the Authorities in Charge, it is unfortunate for her to behave in such a primitive manner. There is enough referral information,guidance given to everyone who is afforded such a post to help shape their behaviour in a civil way, that if they fail to adapt, it has nothing to do with their tribe, but has to do with Poverty of their mind and just their personality or being. God bless Zambia, we continue to be united even though I realize a number of tribes are still at pains in trying to feel superior over a Lozi, unfortunately certain things are God given, no matter what you do whether you insult, call them names, you realize that your inferiority coplex towards Lozis will not change, because they are LOZIS.

  28. Ndate Reply

    May 22, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Problem with these lazy no good ******* is when exposed to wealth they foget how to treat other people like human.You are messing up the image of our beloved country,i wonder why some people are like that.What are you so bitter about High commissioner?

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  30. HALUBANJE Reply

    May 30, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Even her face looks lethal and not fit to be a diplomat…call her back and send credible people..

  31. levison mutobapolala Reply

    June 4, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Mwe bantu what these Namibians arre coplainig about is the truth if you want to know who Wendy sinkala is please go to Kabwe, jameson street and ask people on how she treated them, step children and her own sisters. You could never enter her small house then with your shoes on. ask anyone who has worked for Zambia railways limited. Wendy was a clerk there. Nichi fye ama politics yaba she was a nobody in Kabwe even tried to become a fireman in the olden days of Zambia Railways limited we are told. Ask ba rev. Gladys Nyirongo they were both clerks ku Insurance department of ZRL. Better still whe has a lodge in Lusaka go there and find out from her workers. Even people who are very close to her cannot work for Wendy Ala tata ba Sata poseniko amano uyu mayo ala misebanya ask ba tat ba Fred Mmembe balesesheko ukupa Wendy his children were underdogs. Infact Mr. Fred Mmembe is the right person to ask. You will hear what you can never imagine.

  32. levison mutobapolala Reply

    October 2, 2013 at 9:45 am

    She has no shame even marrying off umwana bamu88888buceeeeen…………

  33. Mable Reply

    October 6, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    People need to stop their ill judgment about lozi people..not every Lozi is mum has a friend whose loxing..and for the past years I didn’t even know she was lozi..the woman has a big heart n very generous…but dnt get me wrong, I know how some act like from my experience having dated a loxing man before ..unfortunately, I was involved with this tribalistic losing man…the point is,we can’t criticized every lozi because some of them are really nice..And to all the bloggers in this site,please stick to the topic that’s being discussed here..this topic is not about tribes..its about how wendy sinkala is abusing the workers verbally it?

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