The ghost of Mike Musonda Kabwe v BP Zambia and unilateral variations of contract in Zambia

Authors Chanda Chungu

ISSN: 2521-2605
Affiliations: Legal Practitioner, Mulenga Mundashi Kasonde Legal Practioners, Lusaka, Zambia
Source: Journal of Comparative Law in Africa, Volume 6 Issue 1, p. 131 – 148


The case of Mike Musonda Kabwe v BP Zambia was the first case to consider the issue of variations to the contract of employment in Zambia. The case provided that where a unilateral variation of the contract occurs, the employee is entitled to a redundancy or early retirement package. This position has been unquestioned for several years and been applied in a plethora of subsequent cases — including being reaffirmed several times by the Supreme Court. Until now, the case has not been critically analysed adequately to deduce the various shortcomings of the approach it took. This paper seeks to dissect the various shortcomings of the case to deduce what the correct approach to unilateral variations of the contract of employment should be.