UPND and National Democratic Congress youths in Central Province have called for the arrest of PF officials that were illegally mining manganese in the region.
On Friday, mines and mineral resources minister Richard Musukwa visited some manganese mining companies in Central Province and was shocked to learn that two PF officials were extracting manganese in Mkushi district without mining licences.
Musukwa, who was in the company of Central Province minister Sydney Mushanga, took to task Zambia police officers in the area for failing to arrest the PF officials for illegally mining manganese despite the fact Mkushi district commissioner Luka Mwamba and the Mines Safety Department making formal complaints to the law enforcers in the region.
Musukwa, who is also PF mobilisation chairman and Chililabombwe member of parliament, then called on the Zambia police to ensure that the named PF officials that were engaging in illegal mining of manganese were arrested.
Commenting on the development, UPND Kapiri Mposhi district youth chairman Sameman Hakalumbwe charged the tendency by PF cadres to engage in illegal mining activities was depriving the nation the much needed revenue.
He pointed out that it was unfortunate that a few individuals had opted to engage in illegal mining activities while majority citizens were not benefiting from the mineral wealth.
“These illegal mining activities are worrying because people are just depleting natural resources without paying taxes to the government. Worse still, our traditional leaders are not consulted when embarking on these mining activities. It is unfortunate that PF cadres, who are not the majority in this country, are engaging in illegal mining of manganese while the majority citizenry are not benefiting from our natural resources,” Hakalumbwe said. “Our appeal is that let the Zambia Police officers heed the minister’s timely call and arrest all those PF officials that are engaging in illegal mining in Central Province. There should be no sacred cows.”
Hakalumbwe further charged that it was surprising to note that the PF leadership in Central Province had not taken any punitive action against the ruling party members that were involving themselves in illegalities.
“To the best of our knowledge, the PF leadership in Central Province should know its party members that are mining manganese illegally. We are, therefore, surprised that PF officials engaging in illegalities in this province are not being punished,” he said.
And National Democratic Congress Central Province youth chairman Delkins Bwalya stated that illegal mining activities were a recipe for conflicts between mining investors, the government and traditional leaders.
Bwalya charged that the illegal mining activities currently taking place in Central Province had the blessings of the PF top leadership.
“There’s illegal mining of manganese even in Kabwe. And there’s no way some junior party officials can start mining manganese without the knowledge of their senior party officials. All these illegal mining activities have the blessings of the PF top leadership. And as NDC youths in Central Province, we demand that the Zambia Police command must bring all culprits to book,” said Bwalya.
During a stakeholders’ engagement meeting in Kapiri Mposhi district involving traditional leaders last year, Central Province permanent secretary Bernard Chomba bemoaned the high levels of illegal mining activities in the Province.