Senior Chief Mburuma of the Nsenga-Luzi speaking people in Luangwa district has ask the court to cite those calling for a stop to the mining project in the Lower Zambezi National Park for contempt.
And Luangwa district Council Chairperson Austine Bota has challenged Minister of Tourism Ronald Chitotela to visit the district and get the views of the local people before making uninformed pronouncement on the matter.
Speaking to journalists in Luangwa district, Saturday, Senior chief Mburuma said the circulating images of wildlife in the Lower Zambezi were from Chiawa, complaining that his chiefdom was faced with human starvation exacerbated by unemployment.
“I condemn certain chiefs who are saying this mine should not go ahead. It’s not in their chiefdom, the mine is in my Chiefdom and we are the people that need to be asked first in Luangwa District. Those white people I saw on TV are not from here and have never stepped foot here, even those pictures they were showing of hippos and elephants are not nearer to the mine. Chiawa is far away from the mine. People in the district want the mine there are no jobs here, even the fish you hear about, it comes from Mozambique, people go all the way to Mozambique, buy fish then take it to Lusaka. There are no economic activities here. Even the money they make from those lodges, have they contributed anything to Luangwa Council? I have never heard anything. In fact the animals they are trying to defend, they are being airlifted to other places that we don’t know. They can come and challenge me. Where you find animals it’s in Chiawa not here so which animals are they protecting? In fact the court has ruled so are we challenging the court ruling? Isn’t that contempt? I don’t know why they can’t be cited for contempt. I am asking the court to cite these people for contempt,” Senior Chief Mburuma said.
“Those talking about development, let them come to Luangwa and we shall tell them what we want. We have suffered enough. In South Africa we have a mine next to a national park, in Australia the same and so we are saying let them change and leave the issue to us the owners in Luangwa District. Go and tell the President, people in Luangwa want the mine, that mine is in Luangwa District, it is not in Chiawa, it’s not in Chongwe, Mr. President I beg, your words were right, give us that mine, its our mine, we know people from Chiawa will also benefit once mining commences.”
Bota challenged Chitotela to visit the district.
“I want to appeal to the Minister of Tourism Ronald Chitotela to come to Luangwa district here and talk to us. Come and talk to the people here before making pronouncements. Come and talk to us. This mine is in Luangwa district and we are pleading with the President, kindly listen to us because we want that mine. That mine will benefit youths in the district who are currently doing nothing. The PF government has given us very good road and electricity now for the people to connect that power to their houses, they will need money and they can only have it once they get some employment from the same mine. Even my Council here will also improve because we shall be getting something from the mine. So my appeal once again is let Chitotela come and meet us here. Come to us and we will tell you how much we need this mine and we shall give you the reasons than you going to wrong place where the whites have lodges which we are not even benefiting us local people. That mine is 100 per cent in the senior chief Mbuluma chiefdom,” Said Bota.