Sunday, February 20, 2011
By George Chellah in Solwezi
Sun 20 Feb. 2011, 03:59 CAT
MICHAEL Sata says President Rupiah Banda is to blame for the problems in Western Province. And Sata urged the mining investors to show real corporate social responsibility.
Meanwhile, Sata says the MMD and President Banda are going this year because the writing is on the wall. Opening the PF provincial conference in Solwezi, North Western Province yesterday, Sata said the MMD had failed in diverse respects.
“Lest the Zambians should forget, I will remind you of just a few. There will be no constitutional referendum this year for you the people of Zambia to approve the constitution. Some criminals have been let off the hook by Rupiah Banda, to go scot-free after stealing so much money from you,” Sata said.
“There is no decentralization or devolution of power to the people. The problems you hear about in Western Province are partly as a result of Rupiah Banda’s government failure to listen to the calls and pleas of the people of Zambia and Rupiah Banda and his Vice-President have hounded out justice Florence Mumba from the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). The reasons for her removal have not been made public.”
He assured the delegates that PF would fight on with them.
“In their usual malicious manner, the MMD of Rupiah Banda, his Vice-President, George Kunda and their new found political consultant, have gone out of their way to malign me and the PF as not caring for the people of North Western Province. I am here today to prove them wrong and to expose them for the liars that they are,” Sata said.
“I have come to re-assure you that the pact with you people is intact. We are working to deal with various concerns and preparing to take on the MMD in the September 2011 election. This PF provincial conference bears testimony of my personal and our party’s commitment to the cause of this resource-rich province of our country. Let no one cheat you that we the PF do not care about our brothers and sisters, youth and children of this province.”
He said the infrastructure construction in the province had been a total failure.
“Just look at the Chingola-Solwezi road, is this the unprecedented development MMD is boasting about? The Solwezi-Mwinilunga road which was constructed by Dr Kaunda is now in a deplorable state, the Mutanda-Chavuma road has been under-construction for 47 years,” Sata said.
“According to the current pace, it will take more than twenty more years to complete. Is this the government, which cares for you people in this province? The Solwezi-Kipushi road is in a deplorable condition. Yet the MP, for the area through which the road passes in Solwezi East, is an MMD government deputy minister. Can you really believe such a government? Can you really believe such people?”
He said PF’s vision in the province would be infrastructure development.
He commended investors in Kansanshi Equinox and Lumwana for their resilience and tenacity in maintaining their investment for a long time.
“This is the kind of investors which Zambia requires and the type which a PF government will support. We also wish to encourage all mining companies in Zambia who have either profited from their investment in this country or have confirmed the possible benefits that would accrue to their shareholders, to undertake country-wide mineral exploration programmes in specific areas for the country. Minerals can only be beneficial when they have been discovered and are being exploited,” he said.
He said mining companies needed to contribute equitably to national wellbeing.
“Having commended and encouraged the mining companies with investments in Zambia for their confidence and commitment to Zambia. I must hasten to state that the proceeds and profits from the country’s mineral endowment ought to be equitably shared with the citizens by virtue of God’s gift to them, through the availability of these resources in their land; surely it is not befitting to have a resource-rich country yet with 75 per cent being poverty-stricken citizens, that lack of social and economic justice, is not sustainable,” Sata said.
“I want to take the occasion of this conference to state what will be PF policy towards mining companies in Zambia. I want all mining investors to take the great example from Anglo America and RST who owned Nchanga Consolidated Copper Mines and Roan Consolidated Mines who between them; built the existing towns on the Copperbelt Province. Those companies showed real corporate social responsibility. Not only did they build accommodation for their workers, they helped build supportive industries and contractors on the Copperbelt.”
He said PF would not hesitate to impose fair and predictable taxes so as to ensure that the state received enough income and the mines make a fair contribution to state coffers as well as to their own employees.
“The PF government will ensure that part of the mineral royalty (taxes) paid by the mining companies for the supply of copper ore from government mineral deposits, will be shared with and benefit the local citizens who reside in the location in which the minerals are mined,” Sata said.
He said people must feel that they were beneficiaries to their natural endowment of their God given inheritance.
He encouraged people to register as voters and also to be alert, as the MMD would try to rig the elections.
“Our polling agents will be well trained but our biggest assurance is a massive vote in favour of PF,” he said.
Sata said the state media had been unleashed on President Banda’s political opponents.