FORMER north-western province minister Dawson Kafwaya has demanded that PF must immediately release its findings from investigations conducted into the Mwinilunga gold scam in which its North-Western Province chairman Jackson Kungo was implicated.
And Kafwaya has questioned PF’s special interest in gold mining, which is supposed to be a national strategic asset meant to benefit the masses.
In an interview, Kafwaya demanded that the ruling party released the outcome of its investigations into the Mwinilunga gold scam involving Kungo, dismissed North-Western Police Commissioner Hudson Namachila, among others.
“They said some team had been sent to Mwinilunga to go and investigate what happened at the mine in Mwinilunga. But up to now, the outcome of that investigation hasn’t been availed to the people. So, people are anxious! They want to know what the outcome was from those investigations because it’s like some people are sacred cows. When you look at the provincial chairman, Jackson Kungo, he looks like a sacrificial lamb. There are a lot of people, who are involved in that scam and they should be exposed so that they are known that they were also part of the same syndicate. So, for me, I think Mr Kungo has been sacrificed because we saw a lot of people going there and truly if it was a fact-finding mission about the illegal mining in Mwinilunga, a lot of names, even big names, should have been exposed,” Kafwaya said.
And Kafwaya questioned PF’s particular interest in gold mining.
“That mine is a public thing; it’s not for the party. It is a natural resource for the people of Zambia. So, if there is any investigation, which is done, it should be done publicly so that the people know. And when you compare, there is gold in Petauke, there is gold in Mumbwa and other places, and we have seen small-scale mining going on up to now, but there hasn’t been any serious thing done like the way it has happened in Mwinilunga. So, now, people are wondering that what is it which is in that mine? So, there are just lots of questions about that mine because the locals feel they are being deprived of their birth-right, they should also benefit! So, people are complaining that there is unfairness because if you look at the people, who have been mining gold from the time the local people were displaced, it has been people coming from other areas, not local people,” he observed.
Meanwhile, Kafwaya noted that Zambians could only benefit from the burgeoning gold mining industry if government and its officials did not involve themselves in conducting mining activities.
“The gold mines in Solwezi, Kalumbila, Mwinilunga and surrounding areas should be privately owned if real and meaningful development is to go to the local people. What happens in other parts of the world is that, if you have oil at your family land, you will not be displaced by any other investors and receive little to no compensation at all. Instead, the government will help you find people, who can help establish your plant and start extracting oil. It will be a family mine and the role of government is to ensure you get the best investment so that they can do what governments do best – collect tax! The role of government is not to run mines, it is to collect tax. Mines should be run by families on whose land there is gold, or, indeed, whatever mineral is there,” advised Kafwaya.
“But in this country, we have very colonial laws and policies that are aimed at disadvantaging the locals at the expense of foreign investors so that those in government can get kickbacks! When the British were developing the colonial Constitution, what they had in mind was to ensure that native Africans did not benefit anything from the minerals on their ancestral land, hence the archaic law on land and mineral resources. And today, colonialism is in form of government operatives, who come to beat people, lock them up and displace them out of their ancestral land in the name of government assets. The idea is to enrich themselves! What is happening in North-Western and the surrounding areas is terrible to say the least. No natives are benefiting or will benefit from the gold mines in Mwinilunga. Instead, people from outside the province, in the name of government, are looting North-Western Province of its resources leaving nothing but polluted land, air, water, noise pollution and disease.”