Kalaba should own up over Lower Zambezi mine saga – Kalala

JACK Kalala says the problem with Democratic Party president Harry Kalaba is that he wants to appear to be “a good boy” who is best suited for the Republican presidency.

Kalala, who was special assistant to president Levy Mwanawasa for policy and project implementation and monitoring, says Kalaba should not run away from the impending mining project in the Lower Zambezi National Park.

The Lusaka High Court has sanctioned mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park.

The decision by the court now casts uncertainty on the tourism industry and small-scale entrepreneurs in the national park as Mwembeshi Resources Limited would go ahead with its large-scale mining activities in the centre of the park.

In January 2014, then minister of lands, natural resources and environmental protection Kalaba shocked all concerned Zambians when he gave a go-ahead to the mining project in the Lower Zambezi National Park.

But a group of conservation-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) appealed Kalaba’s decision in the Lusaka High Court where they obtained an injunction which acted as a stay of execution of the mining project.

On October 17, Lusaka High Court judge Charles Chanda ruled that the appeal challenging the decision of Kalaba to allow Mwembeshi Resources to produce copper within the national park was incompetently before court as no record of appeal was filed.

Kalaba has so far not given a comprehensive comment on the matter.
In an interview yesterday, Kalala said Kalaba was trying to portray himself as holier than the others.

“Trying to hide behind the principle of collective responsibility is false virtue. He should take full responsibility as the substantive minister at the time,” Kalala said.

“You see, the problem with Kalaba is that he wants to appear to be the good boy around, the best candidate for the presidency and all that, that he never makes mistakes. But what he did on the Lower Zambezi National Park was a mistake.”

He noted that if Kalaba did not agree with the proposal of a mine in the national park, he was supposed to resign.

“He should not hide behind collectivity today about what happened, and at the same time condemn others that they are doing this and that. He should own up and in fact, it will build his integrity,” Kalala insisted.

“Kalaba should not run away from this whole thing. A leader should be able to apologise where they go wrong, not always seeking to be in the right. I don’t agree with a lot of things which Kambwili does or says. But when he came out of government, he apologised publicly and he went to Southern Province to apologise to those people. That’s how a leader should behave! I’m not saying this because I support Kambwili; I don’t support him.”

Kalala further explained that being in Cabinet did not mean that one could be amenable to everything.
“He was the substantive minister and whether they discussed in the Cabinet or not, he is the one who was in charge of the ministry. He is the one who should take responsibility and say ‘yes, I did this and that,’” Kalala said.

“As the minister responsible, he was supposed to advise the Cabinet and the President to say we cannot do this because of these implications. It’s not that when you are in Cabinet, you agree to anything. No!”

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Kalala tweeted: “Harry Kalaba should own up, take full responsibility & apologise to the people of Zambia.”

“It’s more honorable that way than trying to shake off responsibility & hide behind collectivity which cowardice,” said Kalala.

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