UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says he was honoured to host small scale miners popularly known as Jerabos at his house yesterday.
In a Facebook post, HH stated that he was touched by their apologies for attacks on him and his party officials during the last election.
“We were greatly honoured to host some representatives of Copperbelt small scale miners popularly known as Jerabos at our residence in Lusaka this afternoon. We fully sympathised with their situation at the moment, and more importantly we were touched with their apologies they offered over the violent and brutal attacks they inflicted in us and our members especially during last year’s campaigns,” HH stated.
“Their story confirms what we have been saying that our people are greatly misinformed by those who have the power.
For example, at no time did we ever say we will grab the copper dumping sludge popularly known as the Black Mountain from them. In fact to the contrary, it’s the same PF leadership that cheated them that the UPND leadership will repossess the black Mountain that has so far done the same to them and given it to their foreign friends.
Our message has been very consistent in terms of empowering our people with the local resources. Any one who cares can check that we have been advocating that the small scale miners popularly known as Jerabos be given small scale mining licenses.”
He stated that he would soon visit the Copperbelt to interact with them and assure them under his administration, Jerabos will not be considered copper thieves.
“We have also been saying that with small scale mining licenses to these mainly youths, they can then be assisted with affordable loan facilities for them to acquire proper equipment. We believe with such an initiative, they can even contribute to the national treasury in form of affordable taxes while providing jobs to our people so that they can no longer be regarded as copper thieves. We have insisted that these youths should be assisted by government with market to legally sell their mechanise so that all their activities can fully be recognised.
We have been doing business throughout our lives and if those in leadership wish, we can help them with a whole concept on how this concept can be achieved. We assured them that we shall soon visit the Copperbelt for rallies and personal interactive meetings where we will clearly state our position once,” stated HH.