The tragic reality of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) is that UPND and its politicians have ultimately contributed to the misery confronting miners on the Copperbelt, PF Secretary General Davies Mwila has charged.
And Mwila has assured that government has put in place sustainable interventions that will ensure that Copperbelt Province is once more, an industrial hub focusing on manufacturing, small scale mining and agriculture.
Meanwhile, Mwila says the PF government is committed to protecting Zambian mineworkers against indiscriminate job losses.
In PF’s weekly news letter to News Diggers! Mwila noted that the case of KCM made a sad reading, but added that government would not allow foreign mine owners to hold the fate of Zambian mine workers at ransom.
He charged that UPND and its politicians had ultimately contributed to the malaise of the mines and misery on the Copperbelt though they now wanted to portray themselves as saints.
“The particular case of KCM and the plight of Zambian mine workers and contractors makes sad reading; and the PF government will not allow foreign mine owners to hold the fate of Zambian mine workers at ransom. The tragic reality of KCM is that UPND and its politicians, have ultimately contributed to the malaise of the mines and the misery of the Copperbelt. Sadly, they today want to portray themselves as saints,” Mwila stated.
He added that the opposition party had a foul history of siding with and championing the interests of foreign mine owners.
“The unfortunate reality is that UPND and its leaders have a foul history of siding with and championing the interests of foreign mine owners above the interests of Zambian Mine workers. Zambians will recall that until 2001, Anglo American Corporation managed KCM Nchanga Open Pit Mine and the Chililabombwe mine. UPND founding President, Late Anderson Kambela Mazoka worked as Chief Executive Officer for Anglo American Corporation in Zambia before he retired and joined active politics to form UPND,” he stated.
“A known multi-national mining conglomerate thus backed and supported Mazoka and UPND. However, when Mazoka lost elections to President Mwanawasa in 2001, Anglo American Corporation suddenly packed and hastily left Zambia leaving KCM workers stranded. After UPND motivated Anglo to pull out after Mazoka lost, President Mwanawasa was pressured to sell KCM for a paltry USD25 million to its current owners because the late President wanted the mine to keep going.”
And Mwila added that UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema had consistently placed the interests of foreign mine owners and international capital above the interests of Zambian mine workers while feigning concern for the economy of the Copperbelt Province.
“Zambian miners will also not forget how in the moments that followed the announcement of changes to the mining tax regime through changes to the Mineral Royalty Tax during the presentation of the 2019 Budget, UPND Spokesperson, Charles Kakoma welcomed the new mining tax regime saying that the changes in the mining tax regime were timely as they came at a time when Zambians felt that they were not benefiting from the mineral resources. However, a few hours later, his leader Mr Hakainde Hichilema contradicted his party Spokesperson when he disparaged Kakoma’s statement,” he stated.
“When the foreign mine owners subsequently reacted with an announcement threatening the loss of 21,000 jobs purportedly as a result of the new tax regime, Mr Hichilema betrayed Zambian miners on the Copperbelt and across the country; he distanced himself from them and did not make a single effort to plead their plight before the foreign mine owners; ostensibly because he felt he could “kill two birds with one stone” with the prospect of 21,000 Zambian miners losing their jobs. He thought it would perhaps make the PF government unpopular and trigger civil unrest on one hand and further his political interests on the other.”
Meanwhile, Mwila noted that government had put in place sustainable interventions that would ensure that Copperbelt Province was once more, an industrial hub focusing on manufacturing, small scale mining and agriculture.
He added that the PF government was also committed to protecting Zambian Mineworkers against indiscriminate job losses as well as protecting the interests of Zambian mining contractors and suppliers.
“The following are some of the solutions that have been devised to revive the economic potential of Copperbelt Province; (i) Setting up Ndola Gemstone Exchange Economic Zone to promote local auctioning of gemstones and maximise benefits. (ii) Constantly reviewing performance of economic zones to make them more attractive. (iii) Setting up Provincial Industrial Yards. (iv) Implementing an enhanced mineral beneficiation programme in focal provinces like Copperbelt and North Western provinces. (v) Selected Copperbelt as one of the largest recipients of aquaculture development funds under CEEC and African Development Bank and introduced Copperbelt Investment Expo,” stated Mwila.
“The focus of the PF Government is to improve economic activities on the Copperbelt. We have no time to focus on the shenanigans of particular individuals in the opposition whose political legacy is at the root of the misery confronting miners on the Copperbelt. These sustainable interventions will ensure that Copperbelt Province will once more be an industrial hub focusing on manufacturing, small scale mining and agriculture.”