Liquidation of KCM and appointment of a PF-connected provisional liquidator – are PF trying to use KCM business operations to settle Chinese debt?

It is clear that there has been a long-standing problem at KCM and finally the PF administration has woken up to the reality of the plight of the miners and residents of Chingola and surrounding towns on the Copperbelt.

The problems facing the employees and mine suppliers of KCM as well as the residents of Chingola will get worse before they get better. KCM needs new owners with a vision, a plan and money to restart the right mining operations and to maintain the smelter capacity that has been operated by Vedanta. The PF lacks the capacity to provide the guidance necessary to bring relief to years of mismanagement and decline in one of the richest corners of the country.

Let us not be fooled into thinking that the PF cares one bit for the people of Chingola. The strategy of appointing a connected person to overseer the liquidation process is based purely on a survival instinct and a fear that a collapsing economy, joblessness and the rampant theft of public resources all present a perfect storm for a government that is on its way out of office and has no clue about how to recover the years of punishing abuse that it has inflicted on its people.

The only hope for the people of Chingola, the Copperbelt and the nation at large, is for Zambians to finally realise that keeping the PF in power presents a grave danger to the survival of our nation. With state-backed violence, state capture and corruption on the grandest scale in our history; and with state borrowing at levels that cannot be sustained due to the rampant indiscipline of our current leaders, it is only a matter of time before we collapse into near-irriversible economic ruin.

A new owner of the mine must be found immediately. This is probably what lies at the heart of the action that has been taken by the PF government. It is clear that the economy is in a mess. This is largely because of the reckless manner in which our sovereign loans have been applied in building overpriced infrastructure, equipment and services.

It is not beyond the PF administration to attempt to write off some Chinese debt in exchange for KCM’s business operations or to deliver the mine to pre-determined Russian or Western interests. This may be the real reason behind the current manoeuvres, given the suspicious ties PF has been cultivating over the years.

What is abundantly clear, however, is that without a new owner and without sound economic planning and disciplined public expenditure, there will be massive layoffs, further suffering and further decline of our mining areas on the Copperbelt.

The PF have appointed a provisional liquidator with no skill or experience in finding solutions to the long-standing problems facing Chingola and KCM. They must replace him with a competent team that can bring sanity to this desperate situation. In the same way, Zambians also appointed a leadership with no skill or experience in finding solutions to the problems we face as a nation. In 2021, they must replace them with a team that has a heart for the nation and a vision and principles that can restore the pride of our nation.

Elias C. Chipimo
President
National Restoration Party

Thursday 23 May, 2019

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