Sinkhole and PF easy fixes

Edgar Lungu and his PF knee-jerk populist solutions are becoming fatal.

Ever since he forced his reign on PF and ultimately the Republic, Edgar has preferred the easier way out of things but ultimately his take has never been the best solution.

His decisions, be they political, social, cultural, legal, and otherwise, have always been based on satisfying his ego – either working to cement his political fortune or winning an easy electoral support base.

Take for instance the giving of the now infamous Black Mountain to PF youths in Kitwe. Can you say this was job creation or a mere exercise to canvass for easy electoral votes from a mountain of unemployed youths on the Copperbelt?

A few months after giving our youths that mountain, disaster struck – 10 lives were lost when the slag collapsed – and the blame game was all over us!

But this has not stopped Edgar and his minions from dishing out these black mountains on the Copperbelt to youths, all in the hope of securing the political fortunes from this electoral swing province of our homeland.

We say all this in the wake of another disaster in waiting at the Mopani’s Sinkhole. On Tuesday, police in Kitwe fought running battles with Wusakili and Chamboli residents who were protesting against the decision by Mopani Copper Mines management to bury the sinkhole at its SOB shaft. Mopani has mined out the entire area beneath the surface that has caved in to create a sinkhole, which illegal miners from Chamboli and Wusakili have invaded to scavenge for copper ore. Residents, including women and children, say they depend on the illegal mining activities at the sinkhole for their economic survival.

We need jobs but not these sinkhole or black mountain jobs.

We cannot risk the lives of our citizens by awarding them every tunnel, rat hole or dumpsite. Scavenging cannot be equated to job creation for heaven’s sake.

Where is your conscience?

In today’s interconnected and complex world, we need to highlight the importance of good, inclusive and decent work. It is part of our human identity, necessary for our human development, and vital for the future of the planet.

Edgar and his regime must get serious and give the issue of unemployment the attention it requires. Address the issue of work in all its complexities as a matter of urgency.

Easy fixes won’t work; they backfire and create more harm.

Our people need jobs to sustain not only their lives but also for this nation to develop.

As Pope Francis recently put it: “Work is not just something that we do in exchange for something else. Work is first and foremost a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a path to growth, human development and personal fulfillment. It has also a subjective dimension. It is an expression of our creation in the image and likeness of God, the worker (Gen 2:3).” Thus, “we are created with a vocation to work. As well as being essential to the realisation of the person, work is also fundamental to social development… Work is a path to growth, but only when it is an integral growth that contributes to the entire ecosystem of life: to individuals, societies and the planet. Therefore, work cannot be considered as a commodity or a mere tool in the production chain of goods and services. Rather, since it is the foundation for human development, work takes priority over any other factor of production, including capital. Hence the ethical imperative of defending jobs, and of creating new ones in proportion to the increase in economic viability, as well as ensuring the dignity of the work itself…Regarding young people, “lack of work impacts negatively on [their] capacity to dream and hope, and it deprives them of the possibility of contributing to the development of society”. Youth unemployment and job insecurity are often linked with an economic mindset of exploitation of labour and of the environment, with a technocratic culture that does not put the human being at its centre, and with the lack of political will to address in depth this complex issue. It is not a surprise, then, that young people demand change and wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded. We need to listen to the young generation in order to counter the attitude of dominion through an attitude of care: care for the earth and for future generations. This is a basic question of justice [and of intergenerational justice], since the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us.”

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