IT’S BOILING ON COPPERBLET…predicament we’re in is taking us back to food riots of 1990 – Musenge

Mwenya Musenge.


…predicament we’re in is taking us back to food riots of 1990 – Musenge

By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone

ON the Copperbelt it is boiling, says Mwenya Musenge.

The former Copperbelt minister, now leader of the Alliance for People’s Prosperity (APP), said the predicament “we are in is taking us back to 1990 when we had food riots”.

“I am afraid the Zambian people especially on the Copperbelt might replicate the 1990 situation. Let it be known that on the Copperbelt it is boiling. It is boiling and we might go back – if anything we are revisiting the 1990 uprising,” Musenge said.

He said President Hakainde Hichilema at one time while in opposition said “a hungry person is an angry person.”

Musenge said the UPND government was not giving the Zambian people any hope.

He said the mining sector had collapsed and people in Chingola and Mufulira “are languishing in extreme poverty”.

“The source of survival for the people of the Copperbelt is mining but now there is nothing to talk about. HH was on the Copperbelt, we expected him to address the issues affecting the people. We expected him to deliver a lasting solution to the predicaments the people are going through. Mopani, KCM and other mines are in dire stress. We want the President to know or rather, I would like to remind him that when he was in opposition he had made a very strong statement and I recall that he said and I quote ‘a hungry person is an angry person’. So if the people rise, infact not if, but I see a situation where the people have no option but to rise… The 1990 situation is just by the horizon and they (UPND) should be ready for it,” Musenge said.

When reminded that President Hichilema made promises to pay all ex-miners outstanding dues, Musenge said this was not sustainable.

“There is a new flock of young women and men who are looking for work and to start families. What is there for them today? We are talking of a government that has literary failed to manage the mineral resources of this country. The Ministry of Mines is now a hub for corruption and bribes. The ministry is only favouring the elite. Look at sugilite in Mansa, look at gold in Kasenseli and manganese dotted all over Zambia! We do not have a proper system of managing our mineral resources so that we can realise proper benefits as a country and plough it back to uplift the lives of our people,” argued Musenge. “A proper government with a proper ministry of mines should have worked out a proper system to manage our mineral resources so that we can add value to them. It is not about watching people mining and exporting our minerals. We have lost a lot of money through uncontrolled mining and exports.”

In June 1990 riots erupted mainly on the Copperbelt and Lusaka due to high mealie meal prices.

The riots lasted three days forcing then president Kenneth Kaunda to deploy soldiers onto the streets to restore order.

It is believed over 30 people died and about 1,000 were arrested.


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