By Zebbies Mumba
When you think about all that is happening in Northwestern Province regarding gold mining, that is where you realize that as the nation we have a very wrong talent of giving out our natural resource for free.
This is why we have been mining copper for over one 100 years but we are not able to see real benefit of it and we continue to export its raw material.
Our copper built Harare and other cities in the then Southern Rhodesia before we got independence and I agree with you to say we are all having a loud excuse in the words….”we were not there.”
This time my brothers, sisters parents and our leaders we are hear… Why should we see the gold deposits go out without benefiting us as a nation?
Over 50 years after independence we have lost grip on copper mining resources through privatization of the mines that are now shaking in some mines.
Should ZCCM IH have a comfort zone of enjoying the 10% shares from the mines leaving the rest to benefit offshore companies?.
ZCCM IH should wake up to this challenge of gold mining in Zambia.
Wake up and provide support to the locals and support the formation of Cooperatives and local companies that should be supported by government to do mining of this God given gold so that these Zambian people should benefit.
These are the same people who found it and deserve to have a taste for its discovery. What is wrong with us Zambians Kanshi?”.
Foreign investors are very important in any economy but for sure they are here to make money and satisfy their economic goals.
I believe that there is a conversation of paying tax here which is government revenue but for sure they will not develop Zambia as this is only an indirect contribution they make to this process and depending on them only works well for them and what we get is only change (far less than what they get).
To our President, please prevail over this. Let ZCCM IH not slumber on gold mining. Let it lead the process of implementing a model that should not throw away the local people who initially brought the presence of this precious God given resource to the attention of the nation.
A model such as that used in Chile should be devised so that the local people are not left behind as this discovery should benefit them even more.
Ministry Of Mines should enforce legislation of the sector fairly and let there be a wini-win situation between the investors and Zambia.
The ministry should at all times pursue to actualize what is said that PF is said to be a pro poor Government. This passion then should be actualized and for once , bringing an investor in Gold mining where the locals will be fenced out does not reflect this popular passion of government.
Hold on to this excitement, let ZCCM IH be brought to speed if there are any gaps and it should be allowed to work with communities through cooperatives and existing local companies.
If we cannot innovate any better ways to guarantee selfless benefit for the Zambians like other administrations did in the past I would suggest that let us leave this gold in the ground than to give it out for less.
We have given enough but not this time again. Let us put back the pens and do not commit ourselves with offshore investors. We have lost enough natural resources. This time let us do it differently.
The writer is Copperbelt based Human and Environmental Rights Activist.