UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says the PF and President Edgar Lungu’s approach to place Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) under liquidation is a behaviour of a vulture that lacks around a sick animal waiting for it to die so that it could eat it.

And Hichilema has pledged to give a three bedroom house to anyone who can produce evidence that he sold the mines in Zambia during privatisation.

Speaking when he featured on Radio Christian Voice’s Chat Back programme, Thursday, Hichilema said he agrees that there are problems at KCM but disagreed with the approach used to address them.

“The solution for us is to put KCM under administration, under curatorship, under an interim management, a transitory curatorship, a transitory administration, a transitory interventionist management. Why do we agree with this approach? Why do we disagree with PF? PF’s approach is a behaviour of a vulture that lurks around an animal that is sick and needs medicine. Instead of providing medicine, they actually sit around and wait as a vulture does on top of a tree until an animal is dead, then they can eat it and benefit themselves as PF and their friends. You can see it in the appointment of the provision liquidator [who is] a PF member, a PF office bearer, Lungu’s lawyer directly or indirectly. This is the mind of a vulture,” Hichilema argued.

“I have spoken to friends on the Copperbelt, Mining engineers, geologists, suppliers, contractors and employees who [some of them are] citizens and relatives of ours and it’s clear that KCM is in deep problems. The message is loud and clear that KCM is sick and requires cure. The issue is that how do we solve this problem? I have read in the media where this cantankerous PF media [officer] is alleging that ‘HH agrees with PF and Lungu on the liquidation of KCM’ [but] I don’t agree. They are trying to wash their mess using HH’s name. We agree that there is a problem but we are different in our approach to resolving the problem. The PF have gone through a process of winding up the company [or] liquidation and I don’t agree with that approach.”

The opposition leader said the decision taken by PF would damage KCM.

“The decision they have taken will damage KCM and it will even be difficult to find a buyer. The government cannot run a mine. Please people on the Copperbelt don’t be cheated, the PF government has no capacity to run KCM, not even a small slug dump because the treasury is bankrupt. We need to find a suitable buyer but what we have is a situation where the PF are trying to support a trader who masquerades as a miner,” Hichilema said.

“So KCM has been messed up. Lungu and PF have been irresponsible. And I hear now Lungu’s advisors are now advising the liquidator [but] what advice are they advising the liquidator? So what you will see now is that they will start scavenging on the mine assets in the name of selling to recover money to pay workers.”

Meanwhile Hichilema pledged to give a three bedroom house to anyone with evidence that he sold the mines.

“I never sold mine. If anyone has evidence that I sold a mine, two things they can do, or more; take to court for a crime I committed [and I know] they will not do that and they have never done that because I never sold the mines. The records are there. One doesn’t have to be intelligent to search these records. Secondly, I will give a gift of a three bedroomed house for anyone who comes and has evidence that HH sold a mine. If I had sold them nines, people in PF, a few who hate me to the bone, they would have nailed me to the cross in a similar fashion as they did to the son of God. There is no mine [that] I sold,” he said.

And Hichilema said the proposal to reintroduce deputy ministers was a deliberate ploy by PF to enticed opposition and independent members of parliament with the position.

“We must reject this issues of deputy ministers. And we must not support the NDF. We must not support the parliamentary Bill or constitutional Bill in parliament. UPND members of parliament this is your opportunity to be on the side of the people, independent members of parliament, this is your opportunity to be on the side of the people, PF members of parliament, this is your opportunity. Otherwise, you will be hit hard in the 2021 election by the voters who are in pain. It is also a ploy by PF to actually entice opposition MPs and independent MPs with deputy minister positions so that they can kill democracy and can distort freedoms in our country. PF as you may know are moving towards driving our country back to a one party state,” said Hichilema.