By ROGERS KALERO
YOUTHS are not gaining anything from the Black Mountain despite risking their lives as the real beneficiaries remain political party officials, the Emerald and Semi-Precious Minerals Association of Zambia (ESMAZ) has said.
It says, “It is ridiculous to give youths crumbs from the proceeds of the Black Mountain and encourage them to form cooperatives as a form of empowerment when ministers and UPND cadres were reaping huge amounts of money from the site.’’
ESMAZ General Secretary Shadreck Mwape said it was ridiculous and greed of the worst order for the relevant authorities to give a meagre K800, 000 to 75 cooperatives and expect them to engage in any meaningful projects to become self-sustaining.
More than two weeks ago, Kitwe District Commissioner Lawrence Mwanza announced that K800, 000 will be given to 75 cooperatives to engage in various projects of their choice.
But, in an interview in Kitwe at the weekend, Mr Mwape said giving youths’ crumbs from the proceeds of the Black Mountain and encouraging them to form cooperatives as a form of empowerment was a mockery.
“I can tell you that most of the youths who are members of those cooperatives rubbished the money they were given because it was too little to start a project. The K800, 000 which was given to the 75 cooperatives translated into K10, 600 per cooperative. Now, what project can you start with such a mediocre amount?
“We are here, we will see if anything will come out from those cooperatives. These youths are being encouraged to form cooperatives to keep them away from the Black Mountain. They are being sweet-talked about cooperatives,’’ Mr Mwape said.
He said the Black Mountain will not benefit the youth and other stakeholders, but will only benefit some ministers and UPND cadres who were in a hurry to make money for themselves.