In this audio, Prophet Shepard Bushiri says the Zambian government can reposes his emerald mine if it so wishes, but insists that he will not apologise for speaking out against Religious Affairs minister Godfridah Sumaili who is chasing away fake prophets from the country.
Prophet Bushiri was reacting to a warning from Copperbelt miinister Bowman Lusambo who yesterday warned the Prophet that he risked having his mining license revoked if he did not apologise to the Zambian government.
“Take away the mine if you want, you can even close it, I don’t care. But I will never apologise for saying the people of Zambia deserve the freedom to worship. The people of Zambia deserve freedom of worship. I am speaking for the Zambians who cannot speak. They are speechless. I promise you Zambians, I am here and I will speak for you. I will speak against the voice of anti-Christ. You cannot divert the whole nation into politics, never,” said Bushiri.
Take a listen:
Bushiri however claimed that the Zambian government was intending to impose laws which would stop preachers who do not have degrees to come into the country. He added that under the new law, government would not allow prophets who have less than 500 followers to conduct religious activities in the country.
Yesterday, Lusambo said Prophet Bushiri’s attacks on Rev Sumaili were unacceptable.
“As distasteful the attacks from Bushiri are, they have exposed him to the world as an ignorant, self-serving and egoistic man who has no regard for other country’s laws and regulations. The other important lesson I should draw Bushiri to is that in public administration or any other organised setting, there is what is called collective responsibility. Thus, by admonishing Rev. Sumaili publicly, Bushiri has elected to attack the Republic of Zambia and all its people. It therefore goes without saying that as an investor, Bushiri has breached the provisions of his investment code,” Lusambo stated.
He gave Prophet Bushiri a seven-day ultimatum to apologise to Rev Sumaili or he would recommend that his license be revoked.
“As Government, we will carry out a forensic audit on the operations of the emerald mine owned by Bushiri as part of measures to ensure that the interests of the Zambian people are safeguarded. I am hereby issuing a seven-day ultimatum for Bushiri to tender an apology to Rev. Sumaili, the Zambian people in general and the people of Lufwanyama in particular,” Warned Lusambo.
“Failure by Bushiri to apology will attract sanctions which I will recommend to the Ministry of Mines including the possible revocation of his mining licence. As much as the Zambian Government is keen on promoting both local and foreign investment, the guiding principle still remains that the national interests should be the corner stone of any such engagements.”
But the Emeralds and Semi Precious Stones Association has reacted sharply to Lusambo’s threats against Bushiri.
“The rhetorics by the Copperbelt Minister on an investor can not go without comment. This is the second time the Minister is attacking an investor in the emerald industry and its very unfortunate that we are combining cheap politicking with business. It is unfortunate that Minister Lusambo always makes his statements without getting facts straight.
The first time he attacked Kagem without understanding what was prevailing on the ground. The Minister doesn’t even know that the licence he is threatening to withdraw belongs to Zambians and Bushiri is just an investor,” association president Victor Kalesha said.
“It is obvious that Bowman Lusambo is just excited over a position he can not handle as Minister. I want to urge President Lungu to tame some of his Ministers because they are embarrassing him by trying to impress him. It is also becoming embarrassing to the international community because it seems there is no protocol in communication in this government.
It does not mean if you are copperbelt Minister then you are at liberty to get involved in chasing away investors.”
He said Lusambo exhibited childish behaviour.
“Investment in the emerald sector is very difficulty to come by and when we get one we should count it a blessing. The issue at hand is being blown out of proportion because it can be resolved indoors and it is entirely a seperate issue from what Bowman has brought up. So in my view I find the attacks on the investor very childish lacking maturity,” said Kalesha.