National Restoration party (NAREP) president Elias Chipimo says only a poor leader would distance himself from the Black Mountain tragedy which was deliberately created.
And Chipimo has asked government to halt mining activities at the black mountain until safety measures for the youths were put in place.
Commenting on President Edgar Lungu’s remarks that he will not be dragged into the politics of Black Mountain, Chipimo said it was wrong for the Head of State to try and distance himself from the accident when he was instrumental in creating the problem.
“Only a very poor leader would distance themselves from a tragedy that was created by their own action. If you recall, when the jerabos were invited to State House and there was the official handover of the black mountain, the president, because of the rousing support from those who represent the constituency of youths who had felt dis-empowered, and now felt empowered by this hand over, the president was lapping up the limelight and very keen to show that he was the champion of those individuals who wanted to be part of the black mountain,”
He said Zambians should begin to question themselves if they want to continue with leaders who cannot take up their responsibilities.
“Not that the tragedy has happened, for him to try and distance himself from it and quiet frankly not to apologise when he was directly instrumental in seeing what has happened. We tried to warn against it but the political benefits was seen as being too good to ignore. And now that the consequences of that action has resulted in death and misery on the party of those who have been victims of this collapse of that section of the black mountain, to want to distance himself reflects what I call the kind of leadership that we really need to look at carefully, going into the future and ask ourselves, ‘do we really want to continue with this type of leadership?’ that will not take responsibility for actions that they have been responsible for perpetrating,” Chipimo said.
Chipimo said President Lungu was part and parcel of what transpired at the Black Mountain.
“So whether he wants to be dragged into this saga or not, he is front, centre, and part and parcel of what has transpired and he must just take responsibility to ensure that this crisis and catastrophe does not repeat itself. We will issue the similar warning to what we had issued last time. That site is unstable. It needs very careful and experienced Mine management. We have always said that we believe that youths need to be empowered, but let’s do it in a way that builds their skills and capacity to be able to successfully Mine in a manner that does not compromise safety and therefore lead to loss of life or injury,” he said.
And Chipimo advised that it would be best for government to halt the operations at the Black Mountain until safety measures were put in place before more lives were lost.
“We cannot replace lives of those young men who have died. The families will always have to bear that loss and if we don’t want history to repeat itself, we cannot just carry on as if everything is normal and this incident never happened. So let us learn some lessons. Let us put in place safety measures, let us put a moratoria, let us put a halt for the time being until we can put in place proper mechanisms that will ensure that no life will be lost and no injuries will occur,” said Chipimo.