By Sunday Chilufya Chanda
Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s recent obtuse remarks on mining taxation is a betrayal to the Zambian people who deserve better revenue from the Country’s mineral wealth. It is equally an insult to the intelligence of Zambian mineworkers whom he seeks to mislead.
It appears that the UPND leader has very bad advisors, but then it is not surprising given that he himself is his exclusive Chief Advisor; he objects to ideas only when others have them, and accepts ideas only when he originates them.
It is such vanity that has consequently rendered him incorrigible and beyond advice.
Mr Hichilema’s vacuous commentaries on mining taxation and related matters reflect the lack of depth in a party that has not had a manifesto for over a decade; but is instead marshalled by the prevailing whims and mood swings of an individual on a day to day basis.
Hakainde enforces an Exclusive Patent of wisdom on a Political Party he treats as his personal Property
Ironically, Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s blithering contradicts the UPND position in the moments that followed the presentation of the 2019 Budget On Friday 28th September, 2018.
Speaking to an array of journalists after the Budget Speech presented by the Minister of Finance by Honourable Margaret Mwanakatwe, UPND Spokesperson, Charles Kakoma welcomed the changes to the Mineral Royalty Tax.
Footage was subsequently shown of him on ZNBC TV News and Private media channels elaborately praising the 2019 Budget saying that the changes in the mining tax regime were timely as they came at a time when Zambians felt that they were not benefiting from the mineral resources. The UPND Spokesman further described the changes as “fair”.
A few hours later, Mr Hakainde Hichilema in a vicious mood swing at his party secretariat brutally trashed Kakoma’s statement that welcomed the new mining tax regime (which was ironically representative of UPND in-house economists). Mr Hichilema further savagely cast aspersions on the new mining tax regime. What a callous circus master who has no qualms embarrassing those around him!
We feel for our longsuffering brothers and sisters in UPND who have to tediously toil under the tantrums of their leader who pays little or no attention to teamwork and mutual respect.
The billion dollar question is why is Mr Hichilema rubbishing the voices of reason even in the UPND and why is he siding with the exploitation of Zambians by agents of international capital?
Could it be that Opposition parties in Zambia have sold out completely to mammon so as to become mouthpieces of capital?
How can Mr Hakainde Hichilema honestly say the mines are contributing enough to the economy?
As his very own Spokesperson Mr Charles Kakoma rightly observed, Zambians are not benefiting from their mineral resources.
The government, with the support of the Citizens of this Country, is thus determined to change this scenario for the benefit of ALL Zambians.
Mr. Hakainde Hichilema would be wise to know that this particular issue is above partisan politics; it touches on patriotism which is above all political parties because it touches on our very nationhood; Zambia’s sovereignty!
We surrender him to public scrutiny to judge his levels of opportunism and patriotism. For once we are asking our brother for once in his political career, to stand with the people.
Zambians Are Geared To Benefit From Zambian Minerals; The New Mining Tax Regime Is Beneficial To ALL Zambians
The mining sector, being an important source of foreign exchange earnings, plays a critical role in the economy.
The revised Mining Tax Regime that has seen an increase in Mineral royalty tax rates to be and the introduction of import duty on copper and cobalt concentrates among other measures is designed to benefit the ordinary Zambian.
Therefore, how can a man who claims to be an “expert” call for the scrapping of a measure that will benefit Zambians such as the proposed 5% import duty on copper and cobalt concentrates? But this is what mouthpieces of capital do!
Could his itch have something to do with scratching his reported business interests with some mines?
Mouthpieces of Capital fighting against the Socio-Economic welfare of Zambians
Why should Mr. Hichilema be so keen to play the role of a “puppet mercenary” to be used to arm twist government and manipulate the peoples-chosen administration into backing down over an issue that will benefit miners and citizens at large?
Citizens and mine workers in particular should find this call as shameful and disgraceful!
Such greed is extreme and is evidently bent on protecting the interest of those to whom Mines were sold to at the expense of ordinary Zambian citizens.
We are aware that while some Opposition leaders sold some of our mines for a song, others remain as suppliers and looking for better contracts! Their interest is personal profit at whatever cost but Zambians will never allow them to sell our nation’s soul or trade our country’s extractive inheritance for a bowl of soup.
Zambia is not for sale to the highest bidder as some of these Opposition leaders would want make their interests to believe.
It is very clear the interest they represent and that why they have been miserably out of touch with Zambian voters for more than a decade.
While government is busy continuing to solve the problems helped to create; we advise Opposition leaders like Mr Hakainde to keep quiet if they have decided not to side with the masses.
Better to remain silent and be thought an unpatriotic fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
The Author is Patriotic Front Media Director At the Patriotic Front Secretariat Lusaka