By Michael Kaluba
Social Anthropologist Dr. James Musonda has described as disappointing, regrettable and a betrayal of Zambians, government’s recent announcement that Konkola Copper Mines-KCM- is for sale.
Dr. Musonda says this confirms suspicions that government simply wanted to assess the public sentiment before announcing the privatization of KCM and that Mopani and the gold mines are next on government’s privatization agenda.
He tells Phoenix News that with both the UPND manifesto and the 2022 budget both having no interest and capacity to run the mines, the privatization of KCM is unsurprising following the impending IMF loan to Zambia, preceded by the tax incentives to attract foreign direct investment in the mining sector at the expense of jobs, workers ‘welfare, taxes, and the environment.
Dr. Musonda adds that the UPND will be ill advised to privatize KCM and Mopani especially if this was a requirement for the IMF bailout, as it would mean that government has sacrificed its own people for privatization which previously saw over $13 billion invested between 2000 and 2015 without benefit to the Zambian people.
And Mine-Workers Union of Zambia -MUZ- President Joseph Chewe has reiterated the Labour movement’s resolve against privatizing Mopani and KCM and has challenged government to find the $500 million investment needed for the latter and the $300 million needed for the former to become operational and profitable without engaging foreign investors.
Mines and Minerals Development Minister, Paul Kabuswe recently said that the UPND government will find a competent investor, to take over KCM on the Copperbelt once the liquidation process of the mine comes to an end.