HOME Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo has called on the Central Province provincial administration to ensure that illegal mining in the area is curtailed.

And Kampyongo has insisted that political activities, including intra-party elections, will remain on halt until proclamations are made in line with health guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Central Province Minister Sydney Mushanga, Kampyongo said only legitimate mining operations should be allowed in the province.

“The other challenge I would want you to also focus on is these repeated reports of illegal mining activities that are also taking place, and I think the Honourable Minister of Mines (Richard Musukwa) has equally shared this challenge with me and let us know. What I would request from you is to let us know the areas of concern so that we bring order and make sure that only legitimate mining activities take place for obvious reasons. And we will be at hand to make sure that we get on the ground and bring sanity because where there is disorder, expect a lot of illegal activities to take place,” Kampyongo said.

And in response, Mushanga disclosed that two masterminds had so far been arrested in a bid to curb illegal mining in the area.

“Illegal mining activities, already, so far a lot has been done; we have been to the sites, some of the sites where illegal mining activities are being undertaken, just last week, I was in Mkushi with the Minister of Mines, we were joined by the Police Deputy Commissioner for Mkushi and two gentlemen were arrested. You can say these are masterminds when it comes to the illegal mining activities taking place in Mkushi and the other status I think was, security reasons we can’t talk much. I think we will brief you before you leave the province. But your concern is our concern as provincial administration because these illegal mining activities, they are making the Government of the Republic of Zambia and the people themselves losing huge chunks of monies. If mining activities were well done and the procedures followed, we can get a lot of resources from the same mining activities, which can also help in improving the GDP of this country. So, I think we need to work together, especially the police, as you will be meeting the Command,” said Mushanga.

And speaking when he paid a courtesy call on the Provincial Police Commissioner, Kampyongo asked police not to slacken in the fight against COVID-19.

“I must commend you for supporting the provincial administration in fighting this invisible enemy that has terrorized the whole globe. Don’t slacken because you know, people easily forget and they want to go back to the old ways of doing things. We are talking of the new normal and that is to change our way of living. I know you have got challenges with our drunkards; the President has made it very clear that we have to wait a little bit for the social places to be opened. If the churches are being conscious, I think it goes with everyone. With political activities, I think pronouncements will be made when all those that are political players want to do intra party elections, pronouncements will be made, we have started engaging. And I think, just last week, I was discussing with one of the major opposition political parties, UPND, and we have agreed that until that pronouncement is made for the activities, those that want to do intra-party (elections), they will have to wait a bit until consensus is reached on how you are going to police those activities, together with the health authorities. So, all this is being done in order for you not to be dragged into this political mudslinging. The guidance is that, for now, everything is still on hold until when pronouncements are made when to that effect,” said Kampyongo.

Kampyongo was in the province to hand over heavy-duty farming equipment that had been procured for the Zambia Correctional Service (ZCS) to help enhance their farming capabilities.