Dr. Henry Kanyanta Sosala
In May 2019, President Edgar Lungu announced that the Government would disengage with Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), stating that he would not allow Zambia to be blackmailed or arm twisted by mining investors as the country was still ripe for investment. He went on: ‘’We have been taken for a ride by some of these investors for a long time. Government has now resolved to part with KCM. So I am here to announce that Government is divorcing KCM and would invoke the legal process to that effect.’’ President Lungu assured the nation that Government would follow the due process of the law in disengaging KCM investor, Vedanta Resources.
In the meanwhile, Information Minister, Honourable Dora Siliya explained that the provisional liquidation of KCM was not about the mine being insolvent but the government was opting to terminate its partnership with Vedanta Resources. The Minister went on: ‘’Vedanta Resources owned by Anil Agarwal of India is the parent company of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) with 79.4% shareholding portfolio. ZCCM-IH has 20.6% of shares in KCM and it holds those shares on behalf of 17 million Zambians and so the interest by the Government is very large. The liquidation of KCM has not been prompted by its creditors; it has been prompted by one of the partners in KCM, in this case ZCCM-IH on behalf of the 17 million Zambians. The liquidation has been very clear that this is still an ongoing concern because it is not insolvency liquidation where you shut down and you send the workers away. In this case it is only the partnership that is finishing.’’
The minister further said that by 2018, it was clear to the Zambian Government, through its shareholders ZCCM-IH that what had been agreed in 2013 had not been done. In April last year, a default notice was sent to KCM in relation to breach of agreement terms: ‘’As a result you (KCM) are putting the company at risk…… the purpose of going in any business is to make profit so that this profit is shared, so that we can put that money in other development projects.’’ Honourable Siliya said that the idea of coming together was that we must be able to realize benefits from both parties i.e., ZCCM-IH on behalf of 17 million people and because this was not happening that was why the Government wanted to go into a separation with its partners in KCM, Vedanta.
We have in the meanwhile read in papers how some senior people from Vedanta want to have transparent and constructive talks with the government, by why now? The answer comes from Professor Akuffo: ‘’When a fool becomes wise, then the game is over since there is no one to play the game.’’
Now these are the reactions to the above: a headline appeared in the Mast quoting the Canada-based lawyer, Elias Munshya: ‘’What PF ‘mafias’ will do with KCM.’’ And he blindly talks about the ‘’rule of law.’’ He said, ‘’…those who undermine the rule of law do so under cover of ambiguity and mostly under cover of secrecy.’’ (The Mast 23rd May 2019). And yet he contradicts himself since he had earlier elaborated on the same issue and he was quoted in The Daily Nation of 3rd February 2017:‘’The Republic of Zambia is a political system first, before it becomes a legal system. The people of Zambia are the reservoir of all government power in Zambia which they exercise through their elected representatives and government. Zambia is not a technocracy; it is a democracy. No matter our fidelity to the rule of law, the rule of law itself is not a governing system. The rule of law is not a governor of Zambia. An idealistic commitment to a philosophical concept such as the ‘rule of law’ should not be used as an end in itself. It is a means to an end.’’ But unfortunately he ends up contradicting himself. This means, ’’No one knows the truth better than the liar.’’
In fact President Lungu had assured the nation that Government would follow the due process of the law in disengaging KCM investor, Vedanta Resources. What Munshya is actually talking about in essence is what the indigenous radical South Africans are demanding to repossess the stolen land without compensation.
Elias Munshya further went on: ‘’…. It is quite telling that the ex-parte order appointing the provisional liquidator of KCM has the signature of the Judge, without the name of the Judge. The world does not know which of the 30 plus judges granted this order that has liquidated one of Zambia’s biggest mining companies.’’ Yes, it has the legal signature of the Judge and it is enough and sufficient. Anyway is it illegal in Munshya’s perceived world not to know the Judge’s name? And why is he so desperate to know the Judge’s name? I believe he wants to know the Judge’s name and deduce from the name if the Judge belongs to his enviable and opposite tribe, then make a tribal capital out of it.
And Brehner Changala was also quoted: Learned Criminals have assembled under PF to dismember rule of law.’’ And he went on to say, ‘’there is a new trend that has come in where the government has assembled a cabal of lawyers who have brought in a new legal system of acquiring and taking over companies that are not in good books with the state.’’ (The Mast 23rd May 2019). If you compare this with what Honourable Siliya explained on KCM saga, then you can easily see that Changala is indeed the real confused criminal who is ready to abandon 17 million Zambians and his own flesh and blood in preference to a capitalist-exploiter. What shame!
What is amazing is this that Munshya and Changala have one common characteristic and that is they are both folk-tongued and highly unprincipled. It was Changala who said: ‘’A highly sophisticated and heavily financed scheme oust President Lungu and the PF has been hatched…… it has become fashionable for Western governments to influence regime change in Zambia and other African countries to counter the Asian influence, particularly the Chinese dominance in Africa since they have felt betrayed by PF and the late President Sata’s failure to chase the Chinese, a campaign message that was used to dethrone the MMD.’’ (Daily Nation 11th January 2016).
But on the other hand, when Professor Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba was denied entry into Zambia when he was invited to come and deliver a lecture on China’s Imperialistic involvement in Zambia, Changala who described Professor Lumumba as ‘’an African intellectual who inspired both the young and old,’’ went on to say, ‘’Professor Lumumba would be graciously and honourably received by the people of Zambia when these criminals have been kicked out of power.’’ (The Mast 2nd October 2018)
If Professor Lumumba is a genuine intellectual who knows so much about the Chinese economy and their penetration in Africa, what has he done to try and help revive Kenya’s economy which is on fire? I believe that any knowledge, and especially at this critical period in Africa which does not come down to try and break the vicious cycles of youth unemployment and high poverty levels especially in rural areas, no matter how brilliant is just an illusion. Education can only be valuable to us and to those around us when we grasp its essence and properly apply it to our daily realities. It is not the acquisition of book knowledge, but the application of that knowledge to serious national issues at hand that counts.
I think Trywell Kalusopa makes this point more clear: ‘’I believe that political and economic brains that do not liberate their own people from oozing poverty when they have the instruments to do so are worthless. Brains that recite a pseudo-capitalist agenda for self-aggrandizement are a curse to their nations. Brains that cannot break an exploitative system for the good of their people are dead brains. They are not worth the of brains! They are sterile!’’ (Sunday Post 19th August 2007).
What is heart-wrenching is that our newspapers are just full of stories of politicians insulting each other and was it really necessary in this clear incidence of KCM saga to describe our leaders as ‘’criminals.’’? On the all, Zambian politics is based on reactions to issues and not on principals or on sound reasoning. And someone crudely put it: ‘’We just keep on barking at each other like mad dogs.’’ Ngande Mwanajiti wrote: ‘’Those who resort to unpalatable language and insults are just not capable of dealing with issues at hand in a reasonable manner. It is not any different from the case of war lords or terrorists who measure success by the number and level of destruction.’’(Daily Nation 1st July 2015).
I have just observed from KCM saga how the power of the spirit of hatred and jealousy can easily distort a person’s way of thinking because some who claim to be Marxists or socialists have condemned the Government on KCM issue. And I think the victim is President Edgar Lungu, but unfortunately there is only one Presidential vacancy and which is not so easy to fill and that is why the Americans say: ‘’Unum Pluribum Est’’ i.e., ‘’Out of Many One.’’
Jealousy is as strong as death and as poisonous as venom. The trouble with it is that it unleashes more harm to the person harbouring it than the person targeted. And to you President Lungu, you have taken a very bold step in trying to reclaim our property which was obtained through fraud and let me say: ‘’Don’t worry, some people will hate you while others will love you and both are to your advantage. It is either a heart medicine or head disease! When people love you, you live peacefully and happily in their hearts. But when they hate you, you become their landlord in their heads i.e., living painfully in their brains everyday and giving them sleepless nights and incurable headaches. So why worry, move on.’’ Eckhart Tolle wrote: ‘’Whatever you fight, you ignite and strengthen and whatever you resist persists.’’