By NATION REPORTER
BOWMAN Lusambo has branded mine unions on the Copperbelt hypocrites for calling for the return of Vedanta Resources to KCM after they had condemned and violently campaigned for the removal of the mining company from Zambia.
Mr Lusambo has charged that leaders of unions have betrayed the miners and the people of the Copperbelt by calling for the return of Vedanta Resources to Konkola Copper Mine which they had strongly condemned and demanded its removal from Zambia.
Mr Lusambo, the former Copperbelt Minister says it is shocking that the mine unions that had condemned and advocated for the removal of Vedanta from KCM had surprisingly made a u-turn and are now calling for a return of the same company they had chased.
He says the mining union leaders have chosen to sacrifice the mine workers at the altar of political expedience by trading their souls with individual benefits that would come with the return of Vedanta.
The immediate past Lusaka Province Minister and former Kabushi Member of Parliament is also shocked that Mines Minister Paul Kabuswe whom he claimed was a Patriotic Front (PF) district official until before the 2012 general elections and supported the departure of Vedanta had joined the bandwagon of those advocating for the return of the Vedanta.
Mr Lusambo stated that the mine unions vehemently advocated that Vedanta should leave KCM and is wondering what could have suddenly changed for the leaders of the unions to invite Vedanta back to KCM.
He explained that KCM was in its current state of affairs largely because of the misconduct of Vedanta which he said had extensively abused human resource apart from breaching investment pledges.
Mr Lusambo said at the time he was Copperbelt Minister, leaders of the mine unions were ever frequenting his office complaining about Vedanta and pleading with government to ask the mining company to leave KCM.
“At a time I served as Copperbelt Minister, all unions representing mine workers always frequented my office seeking interventions. One of their key complaints was around Vedanta Resources and KCM. As their resentment towards Vedanta grew, it became apparent that the company had lost its social licence to continue operating.”
“The Union leaders have started behaving like dogs around its vomits. They are ready to sacrifice their members at the altar of political expediency. The other thing that has changed is that both Vedanta and the Union have seen in President Hakainde Hichilema, a willing partner in the process of bringing back Vedanta,” Mr Lusambo said.
Mr Lusambo said it was disheartening that both the unions and Vedanta had found President Hichilema a willing partner in the schemes of surrendering KCM to Vedanta, stating that the mining company had polluted the environment on the Copperbelt without recourse.
“Vedanta only survived on processing copper concentrate from the DRC. Vedanta killed people and polluted our rivers. Bringing them back will therefore be shortchanging ourselves and our future generations. It is shocking that Mines Minister Paul Kabuswe who was a PF District official in Chililabombwe only a few months before elections and heavily supported the removal of Vedanta could now call for its return. Elisha Matambo, the Copperbelt Minister who was UPND Copperbelt chairman also called for the removal of Vedanta but are now calling for the return of the company,” Mr Lusambo said.