For the past one week, Zambian media, especially social media, has been full of comments on the lifting of the High Court injunction allowing a mining company called Mwembeshi Resources Limited, which is also owned by Grand Resources Limited domiciled in Dubai, to start mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park.
There are those who are against the commencement of mining activities and few who support the mining activities. By October 26, 2019, 4,400 people led by former Commerce Minister Dipak Patel signed a petition opposing the commencement of mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park. This follows the Lusaka High Court’s discharge of the injunction on grounds that the people who applied for the injunction had failed to file the grounds of appeal on time. As usual, some Zambians started blaming government for this saga saying this should not have been allowed.
However, it is not for the Executive branch of government to interfere with the operations of the judiciary. The same people who are calling on the executive branch of government to intervene now will be the same people shouting Judicial interference. The Zambian government is not the one that took the matter to court, it was the developers who took the matter to court. How then could government have interfered? Meanwhile, there is a very big question which everyone is deliberately ignoring, which is typical of many Zambians who would every time put blame on government. Let us look at the Five W’s and one H. The five W’s being who, what, when, where and why. Then we look at the H which is HOW.
Zambians should be asking questions like: who issued the Mining license in the first place? The answer is: then Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Harry Kalaba issued the license in 2014. This was despite so many objections from interested parties, including some officials from the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA).
Some people have insinuated that there might be corruption at the highest level. OK. Let us try to believe for a while those who may think President Edgar Lungu was involved. Who was Republican President in 2014? It is definitely not Edgar Lungu. Another question that Zambians should ask is who among local Zambians is in Mwembeshi Resources? What is the name of the exploration company?
Other pertinent questions Zambians should ask Mr. Kalaba, who is aspiring to be Republican President and resigned from the Patriotic Front on allegations of rampant corruption, are many. Among them are: what consideration did he take before signing the approval for issuance of the mining license? Was a public hearing conducted? What were submissions from other interested parties before he authorised the issuance of the license? From the submissions that he received, how was the mining company going to conduct its activities without affecting the wildlife?
We believe Mr. Kalaba, who is still alive, should respond to these questions. Today, a number of publications linked to the opposition are publishing stories as if this transaction was done by President Lungu. Zambians should also start interrogating themselves on why Harry Kalaba seems to have love for Gold and not God.
Is it not the same Harry Kalaba that has a political party that is allegedly being financed by Pastor Shepherd Bushiri who is linked to so many cases of Gold dealing and is facing trial in South Africa for fraud? We challenge Mr. Kalaba, who has so far been pretending to be Mr. Clean, to tell the nation who issued the license, when was the license issued, what reasons were advanced, who are the owners of this mine and how are they going to mine the minerals without affecting the environment and wildlife?