Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Unfulfilled Promises and Careless Statements: Challenges in Resolving Zambia’s Mining Issues

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Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on National Economy, Trade and Labour Matters, Mutotwe Kafwaya, has expressed his lack of surprise regarding President Hakainde Hichilema’s unfulfilled pledge to resolve the issue of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) within the first quarter of 2023. President Hichilema had made this statement during a radio program on Sun FM in Ndola in mid-February of this year. He also claimed that the government’s negotiations with KCM owners, Vedanta, would be concluded during that period. Additionally, President Hichilema had mentioned during the same radio program that the government had secured funds to recapitalize Mopani Copper Mines.

In an interview, Mr. Kafwaya, who is both the Member of Parliament for Lunte and a presidential candidate for the Patriotic Front, criticized President Hichilema’s track record of unfulfilled promises. According to Mr. Kafwaya, the president’s current promises made in government can only be evaluated after he fulfills the ones he made while in opposition. He pointed out that it is currently the second quarter of 2023, yet there are no investors in either Mopani Copper Mines or KCM. Mr. Kafwaya also drew attention to other unfulfilled promises, such as the price of fuel, a 25 kg bag of mealie meal, and a 50 kg bag of fertilizer, which were supposed to be lower according to President Hichilema’s pledges.

Mr. Kafwaya emphasized that he is still waiting for President Hichilema to fulfill his earlier promises before considering his current statements in power. He concluded that the president’s promises lack credibility and that discussing them is a waste of time. Moreover, Mr. Kafwaya highlighted the negative consequences of the delay in recapitalizing KCM and Mopani, as it has caused hardship for the people of the Copperbelt Province, especially miners, suppliers, contractors, and businesses connected to the mining sector.

Meanwhile, Percy Chanda, the UPND Chairman for Mines, expressed concern over the frequent statements issued by politicians regarding Mopani and KCM. He believed that these statements were making it difficult for the government to achieve a win-win situation. Mr. Chanda warned that careless statements from politicians could weaken the government’s bargaining position, potentially resulting in the mines being sold at unfavorable terms for miners and ordinary Zambians. He urged politicians to refrain from issuing careless statements that undermine the negotiation process and its outcome, emphasizing the importance of negotiating in good faith, maintaining confidentiality, and avoiding signs of desperation.

Mr. Chanda also criticized those who did not question the conditions attached to the mines when they were acquired by the Patriotic Front (PF) government. He highlighted how some individuals were now actively issuing statements despite their previous silence on the matter. Mr. Chanda concluded by advising individuals who do not understand the impact of their words to remain silent, reminding them of the consequences of their actions and the importance of responsible negotiation processes.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Hon Kafwaya, who closed KCM and Mopani mine? Is it UPND or PF, please ask your PF to apologies to the people of Copperbelt not pressuring UPND.

    You were part of the people that supported the closure of the mines now you want others to clean up your problems. No sir, do it yourself.

    The people of CB will never forgive you for this one.

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    • Are you admitting that you are unable to activate Mopani/KCM? Milingo was fired to speedy the process. To date there’s nothing to show for. Why can’t UPND come to the people to say what is hindering success instead of blaming the spent force.

  2. The government is full of Rhetoric. Paul Kabuswe has been making false and lying about the opening of KCM and Mopani. Nothing has come to pass…..its all rhetoric

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