Mines and Minerals Development Minister Hon Richard Musukwa
Mines and Minerals Development Minister Hon Richard Musukwa

I hope this letter finds you in perfect health and peace.

Am a Zambian born and bred in the small but significant town of Mufulira. I was privileged to be born at a time the mines were owned by the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM). And I saw how our small town, together with the rest of the Copperbelt Province enjoyed the fruit of its God given mineral resources. I saw how our socio-economic outlook was the envy of the rest of Zambia. Even the education and sports systems and facilities thrived in Zambia because of ZCCM. Service provision was top-notch because the mines ran the hospitals, built roads, street lighting, housing infrastructure, water and sewerage, garbage collection, etc. God knows how those years were harshly swept under the carpet by the evils of a hastily done privatisation.

Most investors in Zambia are not conducting themselves properly because we have permitted them to do so. We have engaged them by begging as though they were doing us a favour to manage our resources forgetting that they are reaping huge profits. We have approached them as junior partners with nothing to offer.

I very well know that ubulimi bwa kale, tabutalalika means. And am alive to the fact that those days are long gone. But we still have the chance to take remedial steps. Steps that can improve our current scenario. Steps that can even make Zambia a gem. What am I driving at?

Konkola Copper Mines Plc (KCM) is here before us. Hon. Richard Musukwa, Minister of Mines and Member of Parliament for Chililabombwe. Your entire constituency is highly affected by the happenings at KCM. This is an opportunity for you to help the people that put you in that comfortable office by doing the right thing. And Zambia in general will benefit. How you engage the prospective new mine owners at KCM is vital going forward.

I personally do not care whether it’s the Chinese, the Australians, the Canadians or even the Peruvians. All I care about is that this process is done diligently, to benefit Zambia as a whole. I know there has already been talk of the Chinese being favoured to take over. They have the money, we have the commodity. Is anything wrong if the Chinese took over? Certainly NO if your office Honourable Minister will take a few things into consideration.

The two things to consider are:

1. Zambia must ultimately benefit from its God given natural resources. Our youths must either be directly employed or be given contracts to supply goods and services to these mines. And the treasury must not be duped into giving the useless tax holidays like in times past.

2. Our leaders, especially those tasked to get new owners, must exhibit a high standard of moral and ethical conduct to get the best investor.

The issue of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) must be outlined clearly. They (investors) must agree to provide good medical and education facilities to their employees and families and even sponsor proper sports clubs and activities.

The discharge of toxic substances into the environment should be guarded against. Our people must never drink polluted water at the expense of an investor who will be long gone when we will be left with empty open pits and undergrounds to deal with.

These investors must be made to employ any qualified Zambian and pay them appropriately. Expatriates should come to Zambia not because of their skin colour but their skills set.

Hon. Musukwa, you worked in the mines and I know you understand the expectations that Chingola-Chililabombwe people have. And I believe you have the desire, ambition and drive to do the right thing and leave a lasting legacy. Doesn’t it pain you that your people still affectionately talk about Mr. Edward Shamutete long after he left?

By the way, am a registered voter in your constituency under Kafue Ward. See you in 2021!

Napita Mukwai,

By Percy Mwale

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17 COMMENTS

  1. I also lived in Luanshya and Kitwe during the ZCCM and benefited from the mines. However, you have got it all wrong. The problem in Zambia to day is we are over fixed with the ZCCM days. ZCCM was owned by GRZ hence provide school and hospital as it was government. No investor is obliged under any law to provide medical school facilities. You can go to Australia, Canada etc such do not happen and you are living in dream land.
    For KCM, its as good as dead. Its the highest cost producer in Zambia and no one cam make money unless they reduce labor and close most unproductive operations. Did you know that they is $2bn owned to Standard bank? Who will pay for that? Any buy will factor that in the price. Once all is done Zambian will wake up and realise that KCM is a dead cow.

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    • I doubt you know what author is talking about. We can not compare Canada etc to Zambia. What the author has alluded to is feasible if we have political will. We can do this. Well written article.

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  2. ‘By the way, am a registered voter in your constituency under Kafue Ward. See you in 2021!Napita Mukwai’

    Mr Mwale,what are you insinuating to the law maker? te selenteni iyi mwayamba ukubomfya ba Kopala..lol

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    • MAY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER ALSO CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING?
      1. The De-Zambianisation at Mines, particularly Chinese-owned mines where there are parallel managements. Most top positions are now occupied by foreigners and Zambia has lost the cadre of managerial skills that were common prior to privatisation
      2. The use of Chinese labour at the expense of our youths requiring jobs
      3. The rampant corruption by those government employees charged with issuance of work permits leading to item 2 above
      4. Contrary to the Mines and Minerals Development Act, even pens come from China and hence very very little business is offered locally: NO LOCAL BUSINESS PLAN
      WHAT IS WRONG WITH US??!!

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  3. Good letter to our hon minister. I from his neighbors hear his Chililabombwe residence is always busy with an influx of Chinese coming in and going out. What are they going to do there.? Is it where the tender being conducted.?

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  4. Zambians are gullible surely do you expect this govt to do anything right…Lazy Lungu has already agreed to the Chinks and that’s before he has even put forward those things you have highlighted.

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  5. Do not forget the Africa Cup. It was largely supported by private mining companies operating in the country. Remember that cutting costs is not easy but necessary at times. Government must show leadership by dialogue with Trade Unions and also the Chamber of Mines. State Owned Enterprises can prove burdensome when technocrats are corrupt and incompetent. Shareholding is more convenient tha ownership for Government and for individuals.

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  6. As is usual with human nature, we all harken back to the “good old days”.

    Fact: under private ownership in 1965.our copper output was 800,000 tons. By the time chiluba got into power, output was 250,000 tons

    UNIP grabbed the mines. They turned it into a piggy bank and lumbered the mines with the cost of all these sport and health facilities the author is dreaming about. Instead of replacing obsolete machinery, money was being pumped into vote buying.

    Yes author. You got your social benefits. But are you competent to read a balance sheet to know what the impact on ZCCM was ?

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  7. Comment: perfect and correct…. I know this article ba Percy has been read the honorable minister to do it right

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  8. MAY THE HON MINISTER ALSO CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING?
    1. The De-Zambianisation at Mines, particularly Chinese-owned mines where there are parallel managements. Most top positions are now occupied by foreigners and Zambia has lost the cadre of managerial skills that were common prior to privatisation
    2. The use of Chinese labour at the expense of our youths requiring jobs
    3. The rampant corruption by those government employees charged with issuance of work permits leading to item 2 above
    4. Contrary to the Mines and Minerals Development Act, even pens come from China and hence very very little business is offered locally: NO LOCAL BUSINESS PLAN
    WHAT IS WRONG WITH US??

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    • You are absolute right, let any Investor taking over KCM show us his proposed business plan how local business people are going to benefit from this investment. The govt must own 45-49% shares. This should include social corporate responsibility such as hospital, recreation and education.

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  9. Why can’t we nationalise this mine? Why Zambians are scared of nationalisation? We will never be respected until we learn how to run our businesses at a higher level. If we cant run these big businesses how are we able to run the government then? Government also should be privatised.

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    • Capacity to run the mines tapali boss. Running those things is highly capital intensive. I don’t think in the long term our treasury can sustain the costs. Fact!

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  10. As the future president of our beautiful country, I would like to say two very important things 1. ZCCM days are gone move on 2. Stop posting xenophobic statements like, “don’t give this mine to the chinks.” Without the “chinks,” our economy today would be on it’s knees. Zambians know who is your real friend and your enemy. Are the Chinese the ones who colonised you in 1874 and robbed you of your precious metal for 70 years still counting? Wake up, these people(Chinese) are rooting for us. Who is giving your Zambian students free education in China?(Hundreds per year) compared to a fist full on the chevening, commonwealth or rhodes scholarship?
    Wake up.

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