The opposition UPND says the protests that took place on the Copperbelt over the alleged sale of ZAFFICO should not be taken as a mere protest against the Chinese but as a protest against the corrupt Patriotic Front who have allowed China to take over Zambia’s sovereignty.
Party Secretary General Stephen Katuka said there is no smoke without fire and whatever President Edgar Lungu owes China, whether economically or politically should not be the reason for him to indirectly mortgage the country.
Mr. Katuka said the challenge UPND has with PF is that they are blackmailing citizens every time serious questions are raised by the citizens.
the people of Zambia have the right to know what is happening to their resources and it is immoral for government to begin giving all the national assets to Chinese.
He said it has become fashionable for the PF and its government to blame the UPND for their failure to run government properly adding that Citizens have for a long time raised questions about the Chinese and Zambia’s natural resources, including land and the mukula tree.
Mr. Katuka said Zambians saw for themselves law enforcement agencies confiscating timber from citizens and selling it to the Chinese.
“Government has since informed Zambians through Parliament that the money realised from the sale of the mukula tree was given to ZAFFICO. Then suddenly, people have picked up information that ZAFFICO is up for grabs and will be sold to the Chinese. That has annoyed the people.”, Mr. Katuka added.
Last year Defense Permanent Secretary Stard Mwale told a media briefing that Zambia Forest and Forestry industries (ZAFFICO) had been mandated by government to export illegally harvested and confiscated precious mukula logs to China.
Mr.Katuka pointed out that the Chinese are the ones that are most interested in Zambia’s timber industry and ZAFFICO and the UPND equally share the same concerns of the people on the Copperbelt on the impending sale of ZAFFICO.
Mr. Katuka added that the people of Zambia have the right to know what is happening to their resources and it is immoral for government to begin giving all the national assets to Chinese.
He emphasised that the UPND is not against the Chinese but is against the PF style of leadership given the rate at which they are giving up land and companies to the Chinese nationals.
“We want to warn that we shall not also sit back and watch government mortgaging the country to China with impunity. Zambians have the constitutional right to demonstrate against government way of running the country”, He added.
He said threatening UPND leaders with investigations or arrests will not take away the citizens constitutional rights to protect and defend their natural resources and has demanded sanity in the running of institutions in the country.