ENVIRONMENTALIST Robert Chimambo has petitioned the Constitutional Court seeking an order that mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park violates the Constitution and that the State and ZEMA should withdraw the approval of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

Chimambo, who has cited the Attorney General and the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) as respondents, wants the court to order that the EIS dated May 7, 2021, should be withdrawn for being in violation of the Constitution and an order that freedom of the environmental information is a Constitutional right in Zambia.

He also wants an order that the costs occasioned by the petition should be borne by the respondents and that the hearing of the petition should be expedited.

In a petition filed into court, Chimambo stated that ZEMA on May 7, 2021, approved an EIS for proposed large scale mining in the Lower Zambezi national park for Mwembeshi Resources Limited without public hearing being conducted.

He stated that ZEMA did not demand for a public hearing before approving the EIS despite the area being sensitive, as a national park and despite divergent and contrary views by members of the public on proposed large scale mining in the Lower Zambezi national park.

Chimambo argued that ZEMA’s failure to demand for public hearings before approval of the EIS contravenes the Constitution.

“The decision by ZEMA to approve the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) without a public hearing contravenes Articles 253 (1) (i), 255 (l) (m) and 257 (d) of the Constitution. The approved EIS paves way for large scale mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park an act (mining) that violets the Constitution again. The petitioner contends that open pit mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park will permanently destroy the landscape of the park. The construction and widening of the road and the construction of the power lines in the National Park to facilitate mining activities will compromise the integrity of the park and affect its ecological value. Further, that open pit mining will displace the wildlife from its natural habitat leading to human animal conflict and blasting of copper using explosives in the national park will disturb the wildlife and its ecological system including their hormonal releases,” stated Chimambo.