HARRY Kalaba says what is going on in the Copperbelt today and at KCM in particular is a clear pillage of strategic assets under the guise of liquidation. He says a time has come for the people of Chingola, Chililabombwe, and Kitwe and the Copperbelt at large, who have suffered for many years at the hands of Vedanta and the PF government, to come out of captivity.
The former foreign minister alleges that KCM’S problems were exacerbated by the PF government “due to the illegal dealings they have been involved in and owing to the kickbacks and campaign money they kept obtaining from Vedanta.”
The Democratic Party leader yesterday said the PF government had failed the test of responsible leadership and “it is time we showed them a Red Card.”
“The PF government plans to use the liquidator to asset strip Konkola Copper Mines and sell hospitals and schools that were previously under KCM,” he said, in a statement.
“Enough is enough!!! This abuse of authority and plunder of assets has to come to an end. We would also like to warn the would-be buyers that the DP government will come after all the buyers of stolen national assets and they will be held just as accountable as those who will be illegally selling the assets.”
Kalaba said to sell hospitals and get employees to begin to pay for their medical care and that of their dependents was the worst kind of irresponsibility one could ever imagine.
He said for a government that was voted on the basis of being pro-poor, “it is inconceivable that one would seek to pursue a profit motive that is purely meant for self-enrichment.”
“The DP would like to request government to immediately shelve their evil intentions and avoid any further theft of public assets as plunder of strategic assets,” Kalaba said. “Zambians; let’s say no to theft by public servant; let’s say no to a bleak future owing to flawed leadership.”
Kalaba said the PF had a big hand in the KCM problems.
“Now that KCM is undergoing the liquidation process, the DP would like to raise their voice and speak on behalf of the many KCM employees and their embattled families. We would like to state what we believe should be done in order to safeguard the welfare of the many families that have earned their livelihood from KCM,” Kalaba said.
“We are aware that government is strongly engaging and considering a Chinese investor to take over KCM. We are also aware that the said investor is a friend to the high ranks of the PF government. As such, we would like to strongly oppose to these plans as we are all fully aware that most Chinese investors have no respect for labour laws, have no regard for safety matters and do not see anything wrong with subjecting workers under poor conditions. Such takeover plans are not just retrogressive but also boarder on economic sabotage.”
Kalaba said to allow a strategic entity like KCM to be taken over by an entity that had no regard for the welfare of the people was symptomatic of the PF’s casual approach to handling the hardships of the people on the Copperbelt and the whole country in earnest.
“This plan is not just selfish but also demonstrates the PF government’s continued desire to inflict untold misery on the people of the Zambia,” Kalaba said. “We challenge government, ZCCM-IH and the liquidator to ensure that all KCM employees are paid their dues before committing them to a new investor. The government has a duty to protect the citizens and ensure that their rights are safeguarded while protecting their welfare. Alas, this PF government is bent on inflicting untold hardship on the very people that ushered them in office. A responsible government will seek to come up with a solution that reduces pain to its citizens as much as possible while ensuring that all their dues are paid in line with the laws of the land.”
Kalaba said Zambians deserved a responsible leadership that would safeguard their welfare and assure them of a safe future in spite of the prevailing economic conditions.
“To do that, you require a selfless leadership; a leader that will not bury his head in the sand and point at witchcraft when challenged to provide leadership in addressing corrupt practices being perpetrated by those that are close to him,” said Kalaba.