THE kind of President that we have is above board, he is a person who has allowed us to work and doesn’t force things on us, says Mines and Minerals Development Minister Paul Kabuswe.

Reacting to PF vice-president Given Lubinda’s accusations that the government was secretly selling the mines, Kabuswe insisted that there were no such plans.

“As a minister, there is no pressure from any quotas to say ‘sell to this one or bring back this person.’ The kind of President that we have is above board, he is a person who has allowed us to work and doesn’t force things on us. Of course, we consult him on issues that pertain to the running of our ministries and the nation, so there is no pressure whatsoever. But we will do what is best for the country. Just from his [Lubinda’s] statement to say ‘government has sold back’, how can we sell back to people that owned it in the first place? You can see that those are lies,” Kabuswe said.

“He (Lubinda) is just trying to play to the gallery and trying to look like he cares for Zambians. These are the guys that left us in these problems around KCM, they are the creators. As a government, we are trying to resolve this. Whatever Lubinda said are proper speculations and lies. There is no evidence to such effect.”

Kabuswe insisted that government was still studying the issues at KCM and Mopani before charting a way forward.

“Government is still working round the issues of KCM and Mopani and when the time is right to make a statement on this, we will tell the nation. We appreciate the challenges and anxiety around these assets but we have to do the correct thing. I know that it looks like we are dragging our feet but we want to do the correct thing around these mines and the correct things will be done. So the PF are just trying to play politics,” said Kabuswe.

At a media briefing recently, Lubinda said the sale of KCM had reached an advanced stage.

“We have information that the sale of KCM has reached an advanced stage. Reports reaching us indicate that the employment process of key staff both locally and abroad has already started. However, the worry of the Zambian people is that the sale is being done in secrecy. The problems of KCM are not new to the Zambian people. The Zambians and the miners in particular have vehemently objected to the idea of giving back KCM to Vedanta. The Zambian people are wary of the fact that Vedanta may come through a proxy. There was information before the elections that Vedanta contributed some money equivalent to US$300,000 and that the UPND would give back the mine to them if they assume power as consideration for the sum Vedanta contributed,” said Lubinda.

“We also know that for one to exercise an option to invest in a mine of that magnitude they need to do an extensive due diligence to make a proper investment decision. There is no information so far regarding any due diligence going at KCM neither have we heard any investor openly expressing interest to buy KCM. Zambians are therefore asking who is buying the mine. There is no doubt that the process to sell has already commenced. The Zambian people have therefore come to a conclusion that only those who understand the mine can buy it through this abridged process and in this case, it can only be Vedanta. Can president bally clear the air around this important matter.”