National Democratic Congress leader Chishimba Kambwili says Zambians must protest government’s plans to give Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) to a Chinese investor.
And Kambwili says there is no transparency in the KCM liquidation process.
In an interview, Kambwili observed that all indications showed that government wanted a Chinese investor to take over KCM but warned against that, saying Chinese were not good at adhering to labour laws or engaging in corporate social responsibility activities.
“I have spoken over that time and again and thank God that Mwila went to Chingola, he was on Radio Kokoliko and he said ‘we are not giving the mine to the Chinese. I hope he can live by his words. All indicators are pointing to the fact that they want to give the mine to the Chinese, I have warned them that Chinese running the mines is as good as not having an investor. One, they don’t give business to Zambian companies, everything is done by fellow Chinese, they pay low salaries, they don’t follow labour laws and government cannot do anything about the Chinese, they have failed. So, look at the way Chambishi is, look at the way Luanshya is, that’s the way you want Chingola to be? Posterity will judge them very harshly and I can only hope that is not the direction they are taking,” Kambwili said.
“The poverty levels will go up, the economy of Chingola will definitely be in shambles, there will be a lot of suffering because usually what they do, they employ a few Zambians and bring a lot of Chinese who are either prisoners or cheap labour so that they cut off costs and we don’t even understand who gives them work permits. So such is the behavior of the PF government under Lungu and there us very little that we can do, we can only advise but insoni ebuntu and I have said, Zambians are scared of demonstrations. Because if the government wants to give the mine to the Chinese, it is better to go on the streets and demonstrate. It is better to go on the street and demonstrate, all over Zambia, to say that we cannot accept this but as usual, there’s a lot of fear among the Zambians. When they just see police uniforms, they want to run away but I want to urge the people of Chingola and the Mine Workers’ Union of Zambia, reject Chinese, you accept them at your own peril.”
And Kambwili said the whole KCM liquidation process lacked transparency.
“There is no transparency, the moment they appointed that Milingo Lungu, who is close to State House, who is a PF cadre, there is no transparency whatsoever, the whole thing has been going to favor those in authority to get some good kickbacks,” said Kambwili.