President Edgar Lungu says Attorney General Likando Kalaluka and other lawyers will guide him on how to ‘divorce’ Konkola Copper Mines and Mopani Copper Mines.
And President Lungu says Sales Tax is here to stay, boasting that as soon as KCM and Mopani are kicked out, other investors will readily take over.
Meanwhile, President Lungu says Vice-President Inonge Wina is on the mend.
Speaking upon arrival at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe international airport today, the Head of State said he would not allow the mines to continue treating Zambians as slaves and declaring losses.
“To begin with, I want to thank you, the people of the Copperbelt for the patience you have shown by waiting for me all this time, I am sorry I am late. We had a few matters of state to deal with in Lusaka and then the Vice-President came back last night and so I had to go and see her, she is doing very well. But in coming here, I came here for one special reason, the people of the Copperbelt want a divorce between themselves and the Copper mining companies, namely KCM, even Mopani, I have heard that message. That’s why I am saying that forgive me, I am late in coming here, I had other pressing matters to attend to at State House and I had to go and see the Vice-President, it seems she’s on the mend, she’s okay,” President Lungu said.
“That’s why I said I should come and hear for myself from the Mine Workers’ Union and other workers. The reason is simple, people have cried, I saw women, some of them half naked, our mothers, crying that they feel cheated by the mining companies, especially KCM and Mopani to some extent and I think I want to make it very clear that I have come here to sanction that if it is the will of the Zambian people that we divorce with these mines, we will do so.”
He said his personal position was that Zambians had been taken for a ride for too long.
“This message is being made very clear, I want to consult the Chamber of Mines, I’ll be meeting them, I want to consult the Mine Workers’ Union, and the various unions, to find out what they think, I also have my position and my position is that enough is enough, Zambians have been taken for a ride by these mining companies. KCM was bought for US$25 million, and we paid for it ourselves, our own copper paid for the mines [but] they have done nothing since then, [they’ve just been giving] promises and promises, we can’t continue. I am not prejudicing anybody, but I am aware that there’s a law in this country which should be followed, the Attorney General is here, the lawyers are here, they will guide us in how we will proceed in this divorce…so let’s talk to each other honestly and say ‘what are we going to do about the mines?’,” President Lungu said.
“I want to say this very emphatically because I know that our opposition, those detractors who don’t see anything good in what we do will be saying he is scaring investors, no, no, no, we are not going to scare any investor and the Zambian environment for investment is still conducive, those who want to come in can come and invest, I know people are willing to come and invest in the mines, immediately we kick these people out, others will come and reopen those mines, that I can tell you…Elo ne mwenso nshi kwete (I don’t even have any fear) and you have heard what I have said that if you want them to go, they will go, simple.”
President Lungu said kicking out the mines did not amount to scaring investors.
“Ici kalamba ca kweba ati bamugugulu nomba baleeba ati iyo, mu Zambia nomba temwakutwala indalama pantu tamuli ubuteko bwachine chine, ubuteko bwala konka ifunde (some detractors will start saying that people shouldn’t invest their money in Zambia because there’s no proper leadership, but we will follow the law), we will follow the due process so that those who can’t stay with us because they want to exploit us and treat us like slaves can go!” President Lungu said.
“There’s an engagement and a disengagement. Even in marriage, you can say ‘we will die together’ but when things fail, you just accept. I am saying this without fear or favour, they have taken money out, we will ask the lawyers to tell us, bushe fyalapwa shani? Twala akana shani ifintu ifi? And I know, we are not very ugly, soon, we will get married, so not worry too much. Those are our mines, the best mines, but they are always telling us they are making losses. From that time till now, it is ‘loss, loss’, if they were making losses, they could have gone. So we know we they are liars, they are cheats and they take us for fools, I will not allow that!”
And President Lungu said Sales Tax was here to stay.
“Those who want to work with us should follow our rules, should send the investment back to the country after they get their profits but they are not bringing the money, the suppliers are suffering and now they are saying the workers will suffer just because we said we are putting Sales Tax. Let me conclude by saying Sales Tax is here to stay, VAT is gone, chapwa! It’s a sovereign state and when we decide how we are going to manage our tax regime, we decide on our own, we are not going to be blackmailed by the investors, no, those who feel uncomfortable to stay in our house can go out,” said President Lungu.