Roan NDC aspiring candidate Joseph Chishala says government’s decision to give back some slug dump sites to youths on the Copperbelt is not an empowerment scheme, but a trick to solicit votes in Luanshya.

Last week, Mines Minister Richard Musukwa gave a provisional license to small-scale miners popularly known as Jerabos to start mining activities at the slug dump site in Chingola and emphasised that he would also empower youths in Luanshya by allowing them to operate on the local dump sites as well.

But in an interview with News Diggers! Chishala urged voters in Luanshya not to fall for Musukwa’s promises, adding that the Chinese who own the dump sites would never give the mine to youths because they were also interested in it.

“My understanding is that for the dump site in Luanshya, the Chinese have clearly indicated that they are not willing to give it out. They have interest in that dump site also and I think that’s a matter for the public to be aware that whatever they are being told by politicians is something that is not going to work out in Luanshya. Those Chinese people are so much interested in that dump site. So, I don’t think it’s going to work out, it’s just a campaign scenario,” Chishala explained.

“If in Chingola it’s working then, yes, it’s a good thing for them to march. But for Luanshya specifically, I am very sure it won’t work out. I have been on the ground and what I have noticed is that the [Chinese] company is not ready to give out the dump site.”

Asked why he deserved votes from Roan residents, Chishala said he was well informed about the challenges that the residents went through because he was a miner.

“I have got experience in the mining industry and most of the residents in Roan are miners and children of miners. So, the suffering of the people of Roan is because of poor conditions of the miners and because of failure to pay the old miners who were retrenched some time back. So, all that suffering has been caused by the current government because it hasn’t been responding to their cries. So, in my case, I understand all their problems and that’s what makes me different from these other candidates because I don’t think they have any background in the mining industry. They don’t know what the miners and their families are passing through,” replied Chishala.

“Then, I also want to urge the people of Roan and my supporters, let’s just campaign peacefully and vote peacefully and show the ruling party that we are heading for change. I am foreseeing a change coming in 2021 and this is the beginning of the change.”