A consortium of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Northwestern province has called on the government to halt the stakeholders’ consultations on the draft mineral resources and development policy to allow for wider discussions.
The consortium says the consultation process lack information because the government has not made available the draft policy to the stakeholders before engaging them
Publish What You Pay National Coordinator Nsama Chikwanka said the CSOs in the province have jointly resolved that if the policy and the process continue as it is, the challenges the sector has been facing will remain unresolved.
Mr Chikwanka said this during a press briefing in Solwezi today following a Provincial consultative meeting on the new draft policy for chiefs and Mining in Indaba.
“Many people are learning about the draft policy while they are already in the meeting and the criteria used to identify stakeholders who are invited to these consultations are unclear,” he said.
Mr Chikwanka further suggested the translation of the policy into local languages to ensure no one is left behind.
He said in view of the concerns, the CSOs are not convinced that the new draft mineral resources policy will meet the aspirations of the Zambians.
“It is yet again a government centred and driven activity which in its current format is far from serving the interests of Zambians who have for a long time been calling for an equal share in their natural resources,” Mr Chikwanka said.
Mr Chikwanka said the significance of mining to the social and economic development of the country cannot be over emphasized, therefore there is a need to respond by putting in place a befitting policy and legal framework.
When Government begins to sneak policy documents to a selected few it means it’s got a narrow agenda. This was what we told Jean Kapata when she wanted to rush the Land Policy, and now she’s left office and her successor doesn’t even talk about it. Similarly, as long as there’s no transparency in the manner that GRZ makes consultations on an important topic as the Mineral Policy the outcome won’t be a people’s document. Who bewitches politicians? They all seem to behave differently the moment they’re sworn into office. I support the call by CSOs, Government must avail this draft to the public and allow more time for consultations, and by that I don’t mean stage management events like we witnessed in Chililabombwe
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