Sunday, November 4, 2007

Cry my beloved Zambia!

The Tonga have a proverb buchente buliha kabi (poverty will make you, eat dirty things).
Last week, I spent some time reading the SCIAF report on Zambia ( ) and weighing former finance minister Nawakwi and others’ rebuttal at accusations of participating, in the rape of Zambia’s most vulnerable. These reading in of themselves, make me sick with nostalgia, anger and brazen wrath at the likes of Nawakwi, Kalumba, Magande, Chiluba and Mwanawasa.

If vultures and flies can perceive and detect rottenness from miles away, how could these men and woman, to whom the Zambian people despite their abject poverty have availed every possible resource (hefty pays, slush fund, SUVs etc) to avert their abuse and exploitation, fail to see this coming?

Lumwana fires 100 workers
One hundred and two workers at Lumwana Mine's Group Five construction in Solwezi, North Western Province have been fired for complaining about excessive pay deductions.

The workers at Lumwana mine are the most vulnerable in Zambia, because the mine is a 100% foreign owned. It is as though this mine is standing on, no man’s land, right within the Zambian borders. How did such a thing, happen to a people whose right and privilege it is, to own and exploit this copper?
Ironically I have found out that, Equinox did not even buy the 49%, usually held by GRZ, directly from the Zambian government. No my countrymen, Equinox by 2004 only owned 50% of the Lumwana project, they later purchased a further 49% from a Zambian registered American corporation Phelps Dodge mining (Zambia) ltd. (
And so, Kashikulu asks, did we as Zambians ever own or indeed lay claim to any part of this land in Lumwana on which so much copper resides?
If we as Zambians ever laid claim, how did we come to this low almost insignificant position in the Lumwana mining arrangement?

At this point, I remember the woman and her two year old daughter that sat and begged for alms, daily at the main post office in Lusaka, several years ago. The woman must not have been successful in begging because her two years soon took matters into her own hands and forcibly grabbed anyone that passed by with food or ice cream.

It appears the Zambian people in regard to their appointed guardians (Ministers and President) are at a similar crossroad; do we as Zambians sit by and starve as our weak government continues to beg and invite our abuse or should we as a people take matters in our hands and claim what is rightfully ours?

Even the World Bank, from whom our government has done the most begging and suffered still the most abuse, is now feed up…

WORLD Bank country manager, Kapil Kapoor has called for prudence in borrowing to ensure that Zambia does not fall back into another debt trap.
Speaking at a media breakfast meeting in Lusaka yesterday, Dr Kapoor said borrowing was not bad as long as the borrower had good intentions for using the borrowed resources.
He said Zambia must learn from other countries that had transformed their economies by prudently using the borrowed money.
‘‘It is very important that we know why we are borrowing, and once this is done Zambia will not go into a debt trap again,’’ he said
. Times of Zambia.

When are we as Zambians going to get it, haven’t we suffered and cried enough?

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