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Don’t over dramatise mining in lower Zambezi – Kavindele

By KETRA KALUNGA and CHARLES MUSONDA

DON’T over dramatise mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park, there is nothing sinister about Zambia conducting mining activities in such an area, South Africa is the best example where mining in a national park is taking place, says former Vice President Enock Kavindele.

And Mr Kavindele said he would join the local Member of Parliament, Mr Emmanuel Tembo who has promised to march against people opposing mining in the national park because the poverty levels in Luangwa are unnecessary.

Mr. Kavindele said South Africa has been carrying out mining activities in the Kruger National Park which is a national heritage therefore Zambians shouldn’t find it strange the government has allow mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park.

He said in an interview that Zambians should support the initiative because it would give the government an opportunity to create the promised 1, 500 direct jobs.

“Mining there will not cause any harm to the Zambezi River.  Kangaluwi open pit copper mine in the Zambezi National Park is about 40 kilometres from where the animals are and it’s on a plateau,” he said.

Mr Kavindele, who toured the mine in 2018 said the multiplier effect would even be more for the people of Luangwa and the surrounding districts and ultimately reduce the high poverty in the area.

He said it was unacceptable that an area with a lot of minerals has lagged behind in development and with high poverty levels.

Mr. Kavindele has urged the government to ensure that the investor, Mwembeshi Mineral Resources commit to protect the environment and uplift the living standards of the people in the area.

Meanwhile, Senior Chief Mphuka has charged that those who are against mining in Lower Zambezi National Park should give Luangwa an alternative viable industry that would employ youths in the area.

Senior Chief Mphuka said that organisations and individuals demonstrating against the mine needed to give the district an alternative industry which would not affect animals

He said in an interview that the people who were against the mine did not even live in the district but mostly in Lusaka where they were being used by investors to organise youths to demonstrate against the mine

He said people in the district had for a long time lived with animals which they could not even kill for fear of breaking the law and it is the animals that had instead killing them. 

Senior Chief Mphuka said Child Fund had helped people in the district by building a 500-hectares fence but elephants are breaking in because was not strong.

“There is nothing you will do that will prevent an elephant for entering the field unless you shoot it and it dies. There is nothing that we have failed to do so that we can live with these animals.

“Here we are competing for food with elephants and they are being controlled by foreigners and not the Zambian government. Those who are protesting against mining in Lower Zambezi are not Zambians. There are people behind them so that Zambians can look like they have no sense, and can break the law and disrespect the court,” Senior Chief Mphuka said.

He said even fish is depleted in Luangwa and Zambezi rivers and people risk being attacked by crocodiles if they go fishing. 

He said all the NGOs that are against mining in Luangwa are being sponsored by foreign interests.

“All these youths cannot occupy the national parks and wildlife where someone is organising youths to be game scouts and paid by the community resource board and how much is that?” Senior Chief Mphuka asked.

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