The President has no powers to stop mining companies from retrenching workers, says former justice minister Wynter Kabimba.

And Kabimba yesterday mocked Chishimba Kambwili saying, evil has paid him after being expelled from PF because he celebrated the misfortunes of others who were forced out of the ruling party.

Meanwhile, Kabimba says he doesn’t understand what the PF is trying to achieve from the privatisation inquiry which can be answered by a ministerial statement from the Minister of Finance, adding that his party would not support the witch hunt.

Speaking when he featured on United Voice radio’s ‘Add Your Voice’ programme, Wednesday, Kabimba, who is the Rainbow Party General Secretary and 2021 presidential aspirant, said the President had not powers to stop mining firms from retrenching workers.

“I noticed three days ago, I saw on TV the Association of Zambian Women Gemstone miners, they were at State House greeting the President. I was very interested in that clip and the conversation between the President and the women. And I listened to them very carefully. One, they said ‘can you help us with listing arrangement where we can list equipment to maximize our production, two, they were crying for finance capital to capitalize their small scale companies. I was interested in the response from the President which was very vague. Instead of just saying we don’t have the capacity and we don’t have those institutions in place, he was promising them something. There is no Zambian owned bank that can extend finance capital to those women. The President has no authority to order any of the existing banks today to give those women money, he doesn’t have that power just like he has no power to order any mining company not to retrench,” Kabimba said.

“He has made those pronouncements before but retrenchments have gone on. Even today, KCM is retrenching some of its workers from its underground pit. Barely a week before, the President had said ‘we are not going to accept any retrenchment but the miners ignored him, showing him that he has no power.”

And Kabimba mocked Chishimba Kambwili saying, evil had paid him after being expelled from PF because he celebrated the misfortunes of others who were forced out of the ruling party.

“Let me get to this statement that ‘people celebrated when you were fired’ I have heard this story before. Ba Kafula (caller) I can tell you my brother who was paying those people that were celebrating. I can tell you the people who were in PF, they are no longer in PF today, they are crying because Edgar has thrown them out and I can tell you how they were spending money to pay the people who were celebrating. Everybody knows this even in PF. I have met people that have confessed that ‘X and Y paid me to demonstrate’. Comrade Chikwelete is seated with me, he can tell you who was giving him money to manufacture those coffins, he can tell you. He can tell you the events that took place,” he said.

“What I like about those events is that everybody who thought that they would benefit by Wynter Kabimba being out of PF are themselves out of PF today and they are more miserable than me. That’s how God in the high heavens punishes wicked men and women. So I can tell you that there was nobody who celebrated. Those who celebrated were celebrating because they were paid to celebrate. And if you want more details, challenge me next time I will tell you. I will even tell you the names.”

And Kabimba said he doesn’t understand what the PF is trying to achieve from the privatisation inquiry because questions can be answered in a ministerial statement from the Minister of Finance.

“I have not been very clear in my mind what the PF government is trying to do. There are people that are saying that ‘no we want to know the privatization process was undertaken, we want to know how much money was realized from that process, we want to know how that money was invested, we want to know that money was spent.’ Surely if that is what you want, you can ask the Ministry of Finance to give a ministerial statement in parliament because privatization was undertaken and superintended upon by the Ministry of Finance. So they have all the records. ZPA was under the ministry of Finance,” he said.

Meanwhile Kabimba said he had not joined the opposition alliance because he had not been invited.

“At the consummation of this alliance, we were not invited. The first time when I came to learn about the alliance was when we were being asked to sign a notification to the police for a peaceful demonstration on the increment for salaries for ministers. So we have not understood clearly the agenda for this alliance. And [those saying that] ‘we didn’t ask you to join the alliance because you are defending PF’ we don’t want to join the alliance. You can keep the alliance and God bless the alliance. We are not defending the PF [and] we have never defended the PF at any time, we stand by the truth. You want to glorify leaders who stand by telling lies [and] I don’t want that,” said Kabimba.