Rainbow Party general secretary Wynter Kabimba has warned that the liquidation of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) Plc may be catastrophic for Zambia if not handled properly.

In an interview, Kabimba, a former Justice Minister in the Michael Sata-led PF government, warned that government’s move to liquidate KCM would be catastrophic for the country as the hostile take-over had sent a wrong message to international investors.

He also observed that government owed it to Zambians to clearly explain the reasons why it decided to take the route of liquidating the mine.

“The government hasn’t given the public enough facts about KCM. We haven’t seen the documents that are in court as to the reasons for liquidation. This is not about KCM only [but] this is about the mining industry. This is the mainstay of Zambia’s economy since Independence [because] 80 per cent, if not more of our foreign exchange, is generated by the mines. So, the government owes the Zambian people an explanation as to why they have decided to take the route of liquidating Konkola Copper Mine. And the reason for that is that, if the liquidation of KCM is mishandled, it sends a wrong message to the outside world about investment in the mining industry,” Kabimba cautioned.

“So, my view is that for whatever reasons that the government has for liquidating KCM, they must make those reasons public; they owe it to the Zambian people to tell us why KCM has been liquidated? Because the impact of the fallout from there on the mining industry as a whole may be catastrophic for the nation.”

And Kabimba added that a struggling mining industry would worsen Zambia’s already-stressed economy.

“People will be worried about coming to invest in the mining industry in Zambia, and that will completely cripple Zambia’s economy. Not that I am an advocate of everything that is said about the mines. I know that they haven’t been paying sufficient taxes, I know that they haven’t been declaring their production levels and figures properly. So, there are many wrong things that the mines are doing. But we are caught up in this situation where if the mining industry is crippled, the situation that we see now, which is already bad, will get worse,” said Kabimba.