WE applaud the public declaration by President Hakainde Hichilema in Parliament to promote the agenda. Specifically, we applaud him for re-establishing a ministry responsible for environment.
For us who have all along strongly believed in the green agenda, re-establishment of the ministry is a great sigh of relief after 10 years without a ministry of environment.
The first thing PF did when they formed government in 2011 was to scrap off this ministry. They allowed mining in national parks.
We, the environmentalists, went to court and temporarily blocked, through court action, the mining project in Lower Zambezi National Park from 2014 up to 2021. Sadly, a few months ago, the High Court directed that mining activities can proceed. This is heartbreaking.
We failed to protect Lochinvar National Park from mining activities. The feedback we’ve just got from ZAWA on devastation of the ecosystem in the park is seriously likewise heartbreaking.
We also failed but tried in vain to block devastation of Forest 27, and other sensitive ecological zones. The list is long.
Now, “Bally” has come on stage with a commitment to sustainability. During his admirable address to Parliament, he made a passionate commitment to sustainability and particularly, the green agenda.
So, after re-establishing the ministry responsible for environment, the next thing, very important thing we expect from him to do is to revoke all mining licences issued in national parks and other sensitive ecological zones.
The third very important thing we expect from him to do is to repeal all laws that allow mining in ecological zones.
The fourth very important thing we expect him to do is to repossess all land in Forest 27, and elsewhere, that was alienated to high ranking officials.
If, as a minimum, “Bally” can do these, then we will believe that he’s not bluffing on the green agenda but genuinely committed to the cause. For, re-establishing a ministry is one thing, taking radical action to protect sensitive ecosystems, is another altogether.
Meantime, we will keep our fingers crossed, wait and see what happens.