President Hichilema And Mr. Anil Agarwal Are Cut From The Same Cloth- Hon. Bowman Lusambo

President Hichilema And Mr. Anil Agarwal Are Cut From The Same Cloth- Hon. Bowman Lusambo

President Hichilema And Mr. Anil Agarwal Are Cut From The Same Cloth- Hon. Bowman Lusambo

President Hichilema And Mr. Anil Agarwal Are Cut From The Same Cloth- Hon. Bowman Lusambo

By Hon. Bowman Lusambo

Now that the dust from the Cape Town Mining Indaba is settling and President Hichilema is back in his office, we wish to share some thoughts on the event and why we believe it was a waste of time to have our Republican President spend four whole days in the Mother City.

According to State House, they want the whole country to start jumping up and down celebrating FQM’s announcement to invest US$ 1.3 billion into its Zambian mines. President Hichilema’s office calls it landmark, we call it foolhardy.

Another key announcement from the Indaba was Vedanta’s return to KCM. The only interesting part about this announcement is that it was as predictable as daylight.

No matter how much State House tries to camouflage the deal, President Edgar Lungu had warned us during the campaigns that there was a deal entered into between the UPND and Mr. Anil Agarwal, the founder and Chairman of Vedanta Resources and that Mr. Hichilema had secured financial support from Vedanta with a promise to hand back KCM when in office.

The semantics being deployed from Mr. Hichilema’s office and Vedanta over KCM can only go to deceive those that were born yesterday. For some of us who know both Mr. Hichilema and Mr. Agarwal, we say these are bedfellows, they are cut from the same cloth. The two men are perfect for each other because they both don’t mean what they say. They lie about everything including their very existence.

As Copperbelt Minister, I interacted at close proximity with Mr. Agarwal on several occasions. I was Minister for Copperbelt at the height of the KCM care and maintenance crisis and through my interventions, I facilitated a number of high level engagements between the Government of the Republic of Zambia and Mr. Agarwal at which he made a number of commitments including fresh investment pledges. There is no prize for guessing that none of those commitments were adhered to. Therefore, the leaked letter from Vedanta is a facade which should not even be entertained.

Mr. Agarwal and his Vedanta lost their social licence to operate in Chingola and any leader who even attempts to massage Mr. Agarwal’s ego does not deserve to represent any Zambian at any level. Predictably, President Hichilema does not find anything wrong with entertaining a return of Vedanta to KCM.

As for the reported return of Anglo American into Zambia, no surprises there. UPND is funded by the Brenthurst Foundation – an organization established by the Oppenheimer family, founders of Anglo American. It’s time for them to get a return on their 24 year investment in the UPND.

The insist that the Cape Town trip was a miss because it fell into the same old narrative that Zambia can only develop its mining sector through private foreign capital. It is insulting to our collective wisdom to travel to Cape Town to parrot the same old narrative that has failed to improve the lives of our people in mining communities.

The truth is, Zambia has been mining for well over a century. Our rich history in mining should mean that we have a reservoir of both technical and non technical expertise required to operate our mines. A quick glance around the world will show a number of indigenous Zambians operating large scale mining operations in key mining destinations including Peru, Chile, South Africa, Australia, Canada and even in the DRC. We are not short of expertise to run our mines.

As we said at the start of the Cape Town Mining Indaba, this is a trip that President Hichilema should have delegated to Hon. Paul Kabuswe, MP, the Minister of Mines.

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