Mines Minister Paul Kabuswe has charged that it is unfair to label the UPND administration as a puppet government. Mr. Kabuswe said it is the policy of the UPND government to listen to all experts including both local and foreign ones.
He said embracing policy advice from foreign experts does not make the UPND administration a puppet of the West. Mr Kabuswe was speaking when he delivered a Key Note speech at the opening of the Mining Indaba under the theme, “Mining for Change,” organized by the Leadership Conferences Foundation.
Mr. Kabuswe’s comments follows a statement by Socialist Party President Fred M’membe who has labelled the UPND government as a puppet of the West.
Mr M’membe who was in attendance at the Conference did not respond to Mr Kabuswe’s defence of government.
“We will listen to all experts, we will listen to local ones and foreign ones too. As the New Dawn government, we will not discriminate where knowledge will come from, that doesn’t make us a puppet government.”
And Mr. Kabuswe says has urged Zambians to put their heads together and start greenfield mining projects instead of leaving the sector to foreigners.
“We have been managers and supervisors for a long time its time we became mine owners. Apply for licenses now and we shall give you,” Mr. Kabuswe said.
Mr. Kabuswe lamented the fact that only 50 percent of Zambia has been explored for mining while the rest remains unexplored.
“We need to do a comprehensive audit of our mineral resources, this has never been done before and now is the time we got to know exactly how much wealth we have in the ground,” he said.
The Mines Minister also cautioned would be foreign investors against flouting Zambian laws.
“Don’t come to Zambia and misbehave. We also want investment pledges to translate into the well being of Zambians in the mining localities.”
Earlier, Fred Mmembe, the President of the Socialist Party reiterated the call for Zambians to wake up and call the UPND government to check for being western “puppets”.
Dr Mmembe said this during the mining indaba organised by the Leadership Conference Foundation in Lusaka today, also restating that the US combatant arm aka AFRICOM will bring nothing but instability to Zambia.
“I challenge them (government) to face me and deny that they are not puppets because I am saying it again that they are puppet government sponsored by the west,” said Dr Mmembe.
Dr Mmembe cautioned that the same way the west, Belgium to be specific killed DRC (Zaire) Prime Minister 60 years and melted his body in sulphuric acid is the same way they will harm the ones that will oppose them in Zambia.
He said the return of Anglo and entry of AFRICOM is “not in the interest of Zambia its in the interest of themselves as seek our mineral resources such as copper and cobalt.”
Dr Mmembe said, “we were duped over privatisation, duped over liberalisation and today we are being duped about the return of the so-called investors through the puppet governments such as in Zambia and Kenya which they are sponsoring.”
Dr Mmembe said it is a shame that Zambia continues to allow foreign mine companies to continue tax evasion while Zambians go hungry without food or money to educate their children.
“They (so called investors) take you to Cape Town, fund your election and you feel indebted to them. They (government) can ignore my statement its ok, we will also have our time and they won’t manage to ignore us.”