IF the government wants to give Konkola Copper Mines to the Chinese, it is better to go on the streets and demonstrate, says Chishimba Kambwili. In an interview yesterday, the National Democratic Congress leader said he was hoping that the government would not give KCM to the Chinese. He said so far all indicators were pointing to government wanting to give the mine to the Chinese. Kambwili warned that handing over the mine to the Chinese was as good as not having an investor.
“I have spoken over that time and again and thank God that [Davis] Mwila went to Chingola, he was on Radio Kokoliko and he said ‘we are not giving the mine to the Chinese’. I hope he can live by his words. All indicators are pointing to the fact that they want to give the mine to the Chinese. I have warned them that Chinese running the mines is as good as not having an investor,” Kambwili said.
The former information minister further warned that posterity would judge the PF government harshly if the opposite of what was expected is done.
“One, they don’t give business to Zambian companies; everything is done by fellow Chinese, they pay low salaries, they don’t follow labour laws and government cannot do anything about the Chinese, they have failed. So look at the way Chambishi is, look at the way Luanshya; is that the way you want Chingola to be? Posterity will judge them very harshly and I can only hope that is not the direction they are taking,” he said.
Kambwili warned that if government gives KCM to the Chinese, owing to their bad working and investment culture, it was better to go on the street and demonstrate all over Zambia. He, however, lamented that there was a lot of fear among Zambians who flee at the sight of police uniforms. The former Roan member of parliament urged the people of Chingola and the Mine Workers’ Union of Zambia to the reject Chinese.
“The poverty levels will go up, the economy of Chingola will definitely be in a shambles, there will be a lot of suffering because usually what they do, they employ a few Zambians and bring a lot of Chinese who are either prisoners or cheap labour so that they cut off costs and we don’t even understand who gives them work permits. So such is the behaviour of the PF government under [President Edgar] Lungu and there is very little that we can do. We can only advise that insoni ebuntu and I have said Zambians are scared of demonstrations. Because if the government wants to give the mine to the Chinese, it is better to go on the streets and demonstrate. It is better to go on the street and demonstrate all over Zambia, to say that we cannot accept this. But as usual, there’s a lot of fear among the Zambians. When they just see police uniforms, they want to run away. But I want to urge the people of Chingola and the Mineworkers’ Union of Zambia: reject Chinese, you accept them at your own peril.”
Kambwili said there was no transparency in the manner the KCM issue was being handled. He said the moment they appointed Milingo Lungu, who is close to State House and a PF cadre, provisional liquidator, it was clear that the process lacked transparency.
“The whole thing has been going to favour those in authority to get some good kickbacks,” said Kambwili.