(By Charles Tembo in Luanshya)
MINES minister Richard Musukwa has given slag dumps in Chingola and Luanshya to the youths, saying he is the ‘owner’ of the sites. Last week, Musukwa gave a provisional licence to the small-scale miners popularly known as Jerabos to start mining at the slag dump in Chingola. During the filling in of nominations for the Roan parliamentary by-elections on Thursday, Musukwa said he was in charge of the slag dumps.
“Ifwe nga ba PF, we believe in empowerment of the youths. In Chingola, we just gave the small-scale miners the Black Mountain. I am in charge! I am the owner of the Black Mountain, so even here in Luanshya, I will give the Black Mountain to the youths,”
Musukwa told the youths.
And the jerabos on Saturday marched in solidarity with the minister and President Edgar Lungu for the empowerment programme. Nchanga member of parliament Chali Chilombo paid tribute to President Lungu for giving a mining licence to the youths in Chingola, saying the move was aimed at empowering youths in the province. Chilombo said the decision by the government to empower youths would reduce cases of illegal mining as they would be registered. He said the young people that would be working on the slag dump commonly known as Black Mountain would be trained in safety measures to avoid loss of life. He said President Lungu had fulfilled his promises of empowerment of the youths by granting them mining licences.
‘’To you the youths, this is yet another testimony of the importance President Lungu has placed on empowering you. He promised you of youth empowerment and today with other youth empowerment programmes, he has empowered you with mining licences. Please let’s not fight over this site. Let’s work in harmony and ensure all working safety precautions are put in place before operations start,” Chilombo said.
The Jerabos were led by PF Copperbelt youth chairperson Don Mungulube. Others present were energy minister who is also Chingola member of parliament Matthews Nkhuwa.Later, small-scale miners ‘commander’ and former boxing champion Douglas Chilembo said youths would continue to support President Lungu.
“As small-scale miners, we want to assure President Lungu of our unwavering support to him and the PF party beyond 2021 because this government continues to empower youths,” said Chilembo.