Luangwa establishment has backed suggestions that mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park should go ahead.
At a press briefing, Thursday, Luangwa Establishment chairman Joseph Felemenga said the developmental impact of mining was huge and could not be ignored.
“In our esteemed opinion, any developmental option must demonstrate that it will benefit the local people first. We have seen developmental strides in North Western Province as a result of the mining activities in the area. We have also seen social impact as now the province is able to produce supper league teams in football.it is not in dispute that mining is a wasting asset but the developmental impact is certainly huge and can not be ignored,” Felemenga said.
“On the other hand, we are cognizant of the contribution of the tourism sector to our economy. However, 55 years after independence, there is no tourism that can be talked about in Luangwa District. To the contrary, we have always lamented on the animal human conflict that has seen a number of our relatives lose precious lives in the recent past. In view of the foregoing, we strongly recommend that we take the mining route. We pray that the powers that be will settle for a serious investor and actualize our dreams and aspirations.”
Felemenga said the mines would contribute to the national treasury through taxes and called on President Edgar Lungu to listen to the voice of the people.
“In this respect, we are solidly behind the two Luangwa chiefs and all well meaning partners and are optimistic that Luangwa district through the mining activities will uplifts the living standards of our people and that these mines will contribute to the national treasury through taxes. We remain resolute to ensure that this matter comes to a logical conclusion at the earliest. Let me hasten to mention that this submission does not represent a 100 percent agreement on the resolve but the dictates of democracy require that we follow the majority,” said Felemenga.
“It ought to be appreciated that Luangwa district is one of the poorest districts and often prone to poverty due to the geological location. We have noted a number of comments and opinions from different people most of whom do not represent a constituency of any group. We are grateful that the president, His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has clearly stated that government will listen to the sentiments of the people. In arriving at our opinion, we have taken note of the submission from the first republican president and equally from the third Republican President. Of equal importance, we have taken note of the submissions from the traditional leadership including among others his Royal Highness Senior Chief Mburuma, his royal highness Chief Mphuka and her royal highness Chieftainess Chiawa. We have also taken note of the submissions from the tour operators and lastly but most importantly the people of Luangwa themselves.”