Saturday, February 9, 2008

My abiding faith in the Bright side of Mwanawasa!

My past criticism and/or praise of our most learned President has always been rooted in the abiding hope that good education especially the study of Law, will always give birth in the bearer, that insatiable desire to right injustice, to do what is moral, to advance the general welfare of men, among other virtues. Albeit a good education does not necessarily preclude someone from being evil, nor does lack of education prevent one, from doing good.
Indeed, at height of the multi party movement in early 90’s Mwanawasa’ effective use of the injunction clause in our laws did a lot good for the movement. And perhaps as a testimony to his good conscience, he resigned from Chiluba’s corrupt administration.
Since becoming President he has fought corruption with brazen vigor, there is now growing confidence in a public service delivery system that was once openly corrupt.
His recent surge in efforts to leave Zambians, a good constitution is admirable, though he should not have waited till his final term (A good chef must be first to taste his own cooking).
He has also tried to inspire Zambians to do more, to be more productive…. Whatever became of the winter maize project?
It is however, this recent move to bring in more ordinary Zambians in the mining equation, that rekindles my faith in the bright side of Mwanawasa. Nothing has given me as much grief as the marginalization of ordinary Zambians as far benefits from mining are concerned. It has always been a limited elite, in collusion with foreigners that have derived the most benefit from mining, especially gemstones mining. Those that were privy to, mining exploration data got licenses for interest areas and have kept this information and the tremendous benefit from the sell of Zambian gemstones out of public domain. Zambian emeralds account for 20% of global gemstone sells; this is why Kashikulu would like to give three cheers to our most learned president for this statement –

There are more than 380 gemstone mine owners and over 80 other small scale mining license holders with accumulated unpaid area charges in excess of K10 billion contrary to the law," he said.
President Mwanawasa called on the defaulters to clear the area charges adding that the new mining cadastre system, which will be opened to the public soon after March 31st, 2008, will not accommodate and recognize holders of mining rights who are not compliant with the Mines and Minerals Act.
Government is determined to open up the Zambian landscape to investors.
"We are cancelling licenses not complying with the Mines and Minerals Act regardless of whether the defaulters are holders of large scale or small scale mining rights. This will be done before the new mining cadastre system opens to the public after 31st March, 2008," he said
On the fiscal regulatory reforms for the mining sector President Mwanawasa said there will be no discrimination between owners of the old privatized mines and the new investors
... Zambia Daily Mail.