Chief Government Spokesman Chishimba Kambwili has lashed out at UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema over his sentiments about Zambia’s investment climate at the ongoing mining indaba in Cape Town, South Africa.
Mr Hichilema was a key speaker at the 2016 Mining Indaba and spoke about the great opportunity that still exists in many areas of Zambia for mining projects, and in particular projects that will bring benefit to the people in terms of jobs and stimulating local economies.
The UPND leader stressed that with a stable policy environment, Zambia should have been producing 1.5 million metric tons of copper today, compared to the 750,000 metric tons it currently produces.
When asked what Zambia had learnt from the recent price fluctuations, Mr Hichilema suggested that for far too long Zambia has been like a microcosm of the mining industry, believing during the good years that they will last forever and not reinvesting the money in diversification, and when the bad times happen panicking and trying to impose legislation that ends up causing further harm.
He said this is a cycle that the country must break out from.
On the question of sustainability Mr Hichilema proposed that actors need to change their time horizons when looking at the sector.
He cautioned that politicians must be careful not to get caught in the trap of politicising the sector.
But Mr Kambwili who is also Information and Broadcasting Minister charged that Mr Hichilema showed that he will say anything to get into State House.
He said Mr Hichilema demeaned the country which he wants to lead.
“HH showed himself up at the mining indaba, he really showed the whole world that he is just a frustrated and disgruntled opposition leader who will say anything to get into state house. In his usual style of demeaning the country he wants to lead he heaped a lot of negativity about the mining sector, forgetting that he was heavily involved in the privatisation,” Mr Kambwili stated.
Mr Kambwili said Mr Hichilema failed to mention that he was part of the privatisation exercise that saw Zambia’s mining sector take a nose dive.
“Now do you listen to someone who played a part in the loss of thousands of jobs, or someone who is currently in the sector and has more of an idea of the current situation. We must realise that whenever we speak about Zambia abroad, we must try and sell our country not demean it, nothing positive ever comes out of a negative mouth,” Mr Kambwili said.