By SANFROSSA MANYINDA
THE demolition of houses by Mopani Copper Mines has attracted criticism of vice President Inonge Wina who has chided the company for the wanton destruction.
Mopani, she said, had no right to evict people from their pieces of land when it was already in the process of abandoning the land through its pending plans to place the company under care and maintenance.
The Vice President said it was unconscionable that families were left homeless when their houses were on Tuesday last week demolished by a combined force of State police and Mopani Copper Mines officers in Kitwe’s Mindola West on allegations that the piece of land belonged to the mining giant’s farm.
She was speaking when the affected developers expressed shock that Mopani was claiming ownership of the land which was given to them by the council after following the due process as well as obtaining title deeds from the Ministry of Lands in Ndola.
At the time of the demolition, the developers had a court injunction to prevent Mopani from demolishing their structures which was however disregarded claiming that it was not a real one.
And the mining giant confirmed that it undertook the demolition exercise in order to secure a small piece of its land which had been encroached.
“We cannot see how Mopani can act in such an inhuman manner at the same time it is in the process of leaving many people out of employment.
What happened is extremely inhuman and we are saddened that Zambians are suffering at the hands of fellow Zambians as well as some foreign investors,” she said.
The Vice President maintained that government would not allow man-made disasters that were costing government huge sums of money to continue occurring, hence the call for such acts to stop.
She also advised institutions that order for such kind of demolitions to always dialogue and consult before giving a go ahead.
She maintained that demolishing structures without notices in the middle of the night while people were sleeping was an infringement of human rights which should not be tolerated by anyone.
She however warned the citizens to be on guard and not to be swindled by some individuals who purport to have legal documentation of pieces of land they may be selling when, in fact not.
“We call upon security enforcement officers whom we have the confidence in to arrest such characters and if they fail, we will conclude that they are compromised,” The Vice President said.
She said that there was need to bring sanity in the governance of the country before people could start taking the law into their own hands.
And Ms Wina assured the 499 flood and demolition victims that are currently housed at Hellen Kaunda School grounds and Buchi Hotel that government would continue with the feeding programme until they were settled.
She later visited the place where the victims would be offered land and relocated in Mufuchani area. The Vice President is on a three day working visit in Kitwe district.
Kitwe city has of late witnessed frequent massive demolitions of properties alleged to have been built on illegally obtained pieces of land.
Recently, about 150 households from Luyando Community Association had their houses demolished by Mopani Copper mines in Mindolo North after the mine claimed that the community had encroached on its land.
By SANFROSSA MANYINDA