National Democratic Congress (NDC) president Chishimba Kambwili says President Edgar Lungu does not respect the courts.
Last week, President Lungu told Bloomberg that government expected to conclude talks with potential buyers of Vedanta Resources Ltd.’s local copper unit in July.
His comments pre-empted a hearing by the High Court, on the State’s bid to liquidate the asset after a dispute between the government and the Indian company.
President Lungu also told Bloomberg that government received expressions of interest for the unit, Konkola Copper Mines, from companies based in Turkey, Russia, India, Canada and China without identifying the firms.
“The team, which we have put up, is interrogating all these companies to see whether they can fit, meet our expectations. I think it’s going on very well. By the end of this month, towards the midway next month, we should wrap up in terms of talking to the would-be investors,” said President Lungu.
But in an interview, Kambwili said President Lungu’s remarks were the highest form of disrespect to the Judiciary.
“Lungu does not respect the courts, Lungu feels that he is above the courts and that he can control them at any time with impunity. The liquidation process being taken by government is wrong. Since when did the liquidator finish the liquidating process?” Kambwili asked.
“Has the liquidator even advertised for the sale of any assets? So how will it be concluded soon? Lungu must not be above the law, we know that all he wanted from the KCM deal is to find another investor who is going to give them commission, that’s all they want to do in that mine. They want to have a big commission that is why he is in a hurry.”
Kambwili urged President Lungu and do the right thing, warning that any unfavorable ruling from the international court of arbitration would negatively affect the people of Zambia.
“Let him do the right thing so that the Zambians do not suffer the backlash of doing something without following the law because if we do not handle the KCM issue properly, Vedatta is capable of suing and the verdict will be against the people of Zambia who are the tax payer. We all support the idea of Vedanta leaving Zambia, but the route Lungu is taking is dangerous and illegal one and when you do illegal things and the international courts rule, it will not be against Lungu, it will be against the Republic of Zambia and the people who are going to pay whatever the courts will rule will be tax payers money and Lungu doesn’t care about that because all Lungu knows is short cuts, corruption and thieving,” charged Kambwili.
“I can only appeal to President Lungu to do the right thing so that we can save the jobs at KCM, so that this does not work against the economy of Chingola, it does not work against the miners…The PF have terribly failed the mining industry. Look at the salaries miners are getting now and the salary increment they get now, they have terribly failed the industry.”