Kabwe Central PF member of parliament Tutwa Ngulube says there is no possibility of the PF administration reopening Mulungushi textiles because the promise was just a campaign issue which had no truth.
And Ngulube says he wishes PF members were allowed to speak President Edgar Lungu’s third term bid freely, without fear of being punished.
Meanwhile, Ngulube says it does not matter who among members of the ruling party is calling for an indaba because everyone is a factor.
Speaking when he featured on a Diamond Television programme dubbed Costa, Sunday, Ngulube said he did not Mulungushi textiles reopening because it was just a campaign tool for the PF to persuade voters.
“The issue of Mulungushi textiles was just a campaign issue and as one of the people that was promising the people who formally worked at Mulungushi textiles, I made a lot of promises to the people and the government made a lot of promises too. We told the people of Kabwe that we would reopen Mulungushi textiles as PF immediately after the elections but I think when we saw that things were not happening, we tried to make all the inquiries around and the only answers we were giving were that ‘we will get back to you’. And now the people that we promised, the people that gave me their vote to become their member of parliament, are suffering. Some of them have not even been paid their terminal benefits. So the issue now is, as people who promised so much to the former workers should we close our mouths?” Ngulube asked.
Asked why progress at Mulungushi textiles had stalled, Ngulube said government was handicapped because it held minority shares.
“The problem that we have on the issue of Mulungushi [textiles] is the fact that first of all, there is an agreement between the Chinese and Zambian governments who are the share holders in Mulungushi. The Chinese government owns 65 per cent shares while the Zambian government only owns 34 per cent. So every time decisions have to be made in companies as you are aware, it is the majority shareholders who decide on what to do and the sad part is that the MOU between the Zambian government and the Chinese government over the shares of Mulungushi has a life span of about 10 more years to go, that means the only time they can sit down and decide if they could continue working on the project together is in 2027,” he explained.
“So right now we have been told that IDC has taken over control on behalf of government but what we want to know is when will Mulungushi open? I don’t want to speculate but what I can tell you about all this is that there is no light at the end of the tunnel, I am not seeing any light because everybody you ask is referring you to another person and the other person is telling you they don’t know what is happening. But there was a Japanese investor who was willing to take up the reopening of the company and we were told through statements by senior government officials that the Chinese shareholders had rejected the Japanese investor. So the Board of Mulungushi textiles should sit and discuss how they intend to revitalize that company. Mulungushi Textiles at some point from the records I found employed up to about 15000, people so we are aware that it is the only institution which if it reopened today would give life to a lot of people.”
And regarding President Lungu’s eligibility to stand in 2021, Ngulube said he wished the ruling party had a platform on which its members could speak without being intimidated.
“On the issue of the issue of the third term debate, I think we should be allowed to speak without fear of being punished. I for example I am of the people or I can say I am the only member of parliament that wants to speak where the problem is but of course I do face sometimes threats, where people threaten to say ‘we will do this, we will do that toy you’. If we have a platform where we can speak, we would not even need to go to the media, we would simply go to that platform. If the President can summon all of us as members of parliament to State House and say ‘can each of you tell me what your problems are then probably within that framework we can probably air out our views freely,” Ngulube said.
Meanwhile, Ngulube emphasised that an indaba was inevitable because the PF had a lot of issues to iron out.
“We do have our own issues within the party which we will be resolving within the party behind closed doors. The party has heard our complaints in the media and everywhere else. So what we are expecting now is that the party will now begin to sit down with all of us who are crying foul and see where the problem is. I still believe in the leadership of President Lungu. I know the President has heard our complaints and I also believe he has heard people calling for an indaba, he has also heard people calling for him to fire certain ministers and he has also heard that some members whom we fought with for 10 years in the former ruling party seem to have taken over the party. So the President will take all those issues at his level,” said Ngulube.
“My personal suggestions, if we have a chance of sitting down, either collectively as members of parliament or as party functionaries, it will be very easy for us to identify where the complaints are coming from. Secondly, there have been calls by people to say we need an indaba [but], others have opposed it and the reasons they are opposing the issue of an indaba is that the person who is calling for an indaba is has no position in the party, he is a ‘nonentity’ as they put is. But I think what they need to know is that we are all factors in some way, it is like charcoal, you can not put one charcoal and let it burn to cook the beans, no. For the beans to cook very well, all the charcoal must be put together and the fire should actually light.”