Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) Presdent Dr Nevers Sekwila Mumba says he is shocked at how President Edgar Lungu is mixing up his priorities by rushing to politic in Lubansenshi Constituency where there is a by-election coming up instead of visiting Baluba Mine in Luanshya where 1,645 miners have just been laid off.
On a tour of Baluba mine on Friday 11th September 2015 to assess facts on the ground for himself before proceeding to Lubansenshi in Luwingu District in Luapula Province, Dr. Mumba was met by anxious National Union of Mine and Allied Workers (NUMAW) officials led by their Vice President Mr Adam Zulu, who narrated the desperate situation facing them. They explained that only 45 workers have been retained and that the Minister of Labour, Honorable Minister Fackson Shamenda’s visit the previous day yielded no tangible results as all he did was issue threats to the mine owners and to tell the union to fight for the workers without making any commitment to the workers.
“It is shocking that in the midst of a serious crisis here at Baluba mine, where 1,645 miners have been laid off indefinitely due to placement of the mine on care and maintenance, the most urgent item on President Lungu’s mind is to rush for politicking in the Lubansenshi by-election. He could have at least passed through Luanshya like I have done and had dialogue with the mine owners and assess for himself what is going on and deal with the misery and uncertainty facing these miners,” Dr. Mumba said.
“The PF government has never brought any new investor to the mining sector since coming to power and has miserably failed to look after what the MMD handed over to them in 2011 but instead has destroyed everything. President Lungu is ruling this country by remote control because it is clear that he prefers to fly to foreign countries instead of finding a solution for this crisis. He needs to come here and give hope to these miners and their families. He is now day-dreaming that as far as the Government is concerned, the mine has not laid off any workers and that no one will be allowed to lay off any miners on account of lack of electricity. He needs to come and verify these stories for himself instead of relying on false stories from his ministers. We demand that he immediately comes back from Lubansenshi and hold an emergency press conference to give confidence and direction to the nation.
“The President is instead wasting time and scarce resources ferrying innocent traditional rulers to State House just to get a false sense of security from them that things are okay instead of solving national problems. Our chiefs cannot protect Mr. Lungu, it’s the people who voted for him that he needs to attend to. All of us political leaders are going to Lubansenshi except Mr Lungu. Surely this matter needs urgent attention” said Dr. Mumba.
Baluba Copper mine is owned by China Nonferrous Metal Mining Corporation Luanshya Copper Mines (CLM) which was rescued by the MMD Government’s successful search of new investors after the mine closed due to underground flooding. The mine is now facing an imminent closure arising from the withdrawal of 30% of power by the Copperbelt Energy Company (CEC) due to the on-going nation-wide power shortage which has negatively impacted mining operations on the Copperbelt and North-Western province.
Dr. Mumba later stopped at Mpatamatu market where he was thronged by a spontaneous, enthusiastic crowd of marketeers who took turns in narrating their sufferings to him. Dr Mumba featured on Sun FM Radio in Ndola.