Nothing wrong with selling KCM to Chinese – Negotiating team

Kantanshi MP Anthony Mumba speaks to journalist in Lusaka-picture by Tenson Mkhala

Kantanshi independent member of parliament Anthony Mumba says the anti-Chinese campaign being propagated by people on the Copperbelt must stop because it might be destructive to the process of choosing a stable investor for Konkola Copper Mines (KCM).

And Mumba says there is nothing wrong with entrusting KCM operations with a Chinese investor as China is one of the countries with money readily available and it’s also the second largest economy in the world after the United States of America.

In an interview, Wednesday, Mumba said it would be wrong to choose an investor based on the global regions where they were coming from.

“We have nine companies so far that have expressed interest in taking over the mine and the due process will be starting soon. In fact, it was supposed to start yesterday but we are just putting a few issues in place. The whole idea is to have a transparent process and get the best investor for the benefit of our economy and the people of the Copperbelt. We also want to re-model the way business is done where only foreigners are seen to be doing business whilst the Zambians are just ordinary miners. So we need to remodel that and also try to take the same ideology into Mopani which seemingly has been taken over by South African businesses, meaning that all we are doing is picking the left overs. So there is need for that change. The President is encouraging Zambians who are able to form a consortium if they are able to convince the local banks or banks abroad to come on board. But up to now, we only have international investors,” Mumba said.

“But also, in this whole process, there is this campaign which is simmering on the Copperbelt against Chinese investors and I think that it’s important that we start to discredit such kind of talk. I think in my opinion, Chinese investors are the ones that have the money right now and secondly, what has caused most of our transactions with Chinese companies not to be seen to be benefiting the people is because you go on the table without an idea of what you have come to do there. So on one hand someone has the money, one the hand you want a certain product on a certain activity to be conducted but you have no idea of how it should be conducted. So that’s what we’ll try and eliminate form this exercise. We are going there with a clear idea of ensuring that the mine starts running viably so that it is able to contribute positively to our economy through payment of taxes and ensuring that jobs are secure.”

Mumba said Zambia would not risk limiting its investment profile simply because of a perception that certain people had against China.

“When you are looking for foreign direct investment, you do not start to say ‘I am not going to deal with investors coming from Asia’ or coming from South Africa or coming from America, you are going out there to say ‘look, we’ve got this product and we are trying to have a win-win situation and this is how we intend to do it by factoring in all the issues that benefit us as a country’, that is what should be the bottom line. Coming from the Copperbelt myself, I wouldn’t want to be part of this thing saying that ‘we will not support Chinese investment’, I think that;s a very narrow way of looking at the investment. If you check right now the billions of dollars that the Chinese have pumped in the Zambian economy, and after all, China is the second largest economy after the United States of America. So you cannot limit your investment profile simply because of a perception that you have against a particular country,” said Mumba.

“So for me, as we to the negotiating table, I will not look at China or Turkey or Australia or the United States of America or Chile through a perception, no! We re going there with a model that should benefit our economy and our Zambian people and ensure that jobs are secured, contractors and suppliers are paid on time… so that people’s lives start to change in a positive manner. I think that for me is the bottom line. This campaign that is simmering on the Copperbelt which might actually be destructive in terms of us looking at the stability of an investor should be stopped because we should not be seen to be choosing investors due to the global regions where they are coming from, that is wrong. For me I would rather let everybody be put on a level playing field and let the best investor carry the day.”




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Kanyata Mubita
Kanyata Mubita

It is important to understand that those perceptions the MP is talking about are rooted in the experiences of people who have interacted with Chinese investors elsewhere. So these concerns by the people should not dismissed outrightly. First the people are part of the environment in which these investors have to operate and from which the investors draw labour. So these are genuine concerns which must be addressed by those who have been charged with charting the way forward for KCM. Our people and local businesses that work around the mines deserve a better deal and a good measure of… Read more »

Prince Royd
Prince Royd

Think like a normal human being.
People who are against are the ones that are working with those Chinese idiots, they don’t have good working conditions, they don’t care about the community and its people, in terms of safety, they are useless. Who are you to vomit those rubbish?
Behave yourself with your Chinese idiots.

kennedy munshya
kennedy munshya

In addition to Mr Mubita’s comments I wish to state that it is not about the region where the investor comes from that the people are concerned about. People are concerned about the conditions of service and work environment the Chinese bring with them.

Skinjoe
Skinjoe

The negotiator seems to have a predetermined position by rushing to high lighting the advantages of some interested parties. The objective rather should be the best investor with respect to the interests of the people of Zambia. The mandate of the negotiations is not to come with new labour, procurement rules or laws but to scrutinize the bidder’s perported ability to meet the Zambian expectations and interests. The issue of ready money is inconsequential, as that ready money can be dangerous because it can easily be used in a subtle manner against Zambians.

Dr. Makasa Kasonde (Private Citizen)
Dr. Makasa Kasonde (Private Citizen)

Recommendations must remain recommendations. The committee is free to recommend any bid, be it from China bid, Turkey bid, Russia bid, Canada bid or Australia bid. However, if public opinion is saying, enough is enough with China. If the public is saying, let us diversify the investor scenario in the interest of the country. Dependence is counterproductive. The dependency syndrome must be eliminated before it takes root. The public is saying neocolonialism is coming back through the back door through over-dependence on China. The implication of over-dependence is that the margin of maneuver in her relations with foreign powers, the… Read more »

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