By Sunday Chilufya Chanda
We note with shock how United Party for National Development (UPND) Leader Hakainde Hichilema’s has embarrassed himself with his stage-managed invitation to the 25th Mining Indaba in Cape Town South Africa.
While the President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo was delivering his address to the indaba, Mr Hichilema was seen milling around at the entrance to the event looking lost and stranded. While he has the right to embarrass himself all he likes, his eccentricities should not be allowed to compromise the gravity of the Indaba and what Zambia stands to benefit from the event.
Whose interests is Mr. Hichilema serving?
As in most of the things Mr. Hichilema does, his appearance and participation at the International Mining Indaba is contrived.
It is still fresh in the minds of Zambians, how during the recently resolved stand-off between the Zambian People and their government on one hand and foreign mine owners on the other (over the new mining tax regime), Mr. Hakainde Hichilema betrayed and abandoned the Zambian mine workers, when he chose to side with and defend the position of the Foreign Mine owners as he stood diametrically opposed to National interests.
Zambians vividly remember how immediately after the presentation of the September 2018 National budget speech, Mr. Hichilema’s own party spokes person Charles Kakoma publicly commended government for introducing the new mining tax regime as it would benefit all Zambians regardless of political affiliation. Zambians also remember how Mr. Hichilema publicly humiliated his party spokesperson and poured scorn on the new mining taxes.
Evidently yet sadly, Mr. Hichilema’s loyalty is slanted to foreign mine interests rather than the Zambian people and their welfare.
Observations and Questions
1. As far as the Official Indaba Programme and original list of speakers is concerned, Zambia’s Minister of Mines Hon. Richard Musukwa is scheduled to speak on “Zambia as a battery metal supplier and what is government doing to increase the supply.” However, the name Hakainde Hichilema does not appear anywhere on the list of speakers, and according to his Facebook page, he wants to discuss the new mining tax regime in Zambia.
Why is Mr. Hichilema trying to cajole and lobby the organizers to squeeze in his name on the list of speakers?
2. Why is our dear brother bent on gate-crashing to “talk about mining taxation in Zambia”? (When it is not even scheduled to be discussed)
3. Why should Mr. Hakainde Hichilema talk about a tax system for the mines at the Cape Town Indaba when the Government of the Republic of Zambia and the mines has already found common ground and they have moved on?
4. Why is he not happy that government and foreign mine owners foreign mine owners have already reached consensus; and why does he want to impliedly incite foreign mine owners against government and in the process open up wounds that are healing?
5. Does his contrived invitation to the International Mining Indaba have anything to do with his recent bragging that foreign mine owners had been in touch with him and that according to him they couldn’t wait for him to become President of the Republic of Zambia?
6. Does Mr. Hichilema’s misplaced confidence to gate crash the Cape Town mining Indaba give credence to a 2014 Africa confidential Report entitled “Foreign Boost for opposition” which highlights an alleged conspiracy hatched by a multi-billionaire mining family dynasty to organize the installation of Hakainde Hichilema -because as Africa Confidential alleges these foreign mining interests would like to put in place a president that would be more willing to reduce taxes and tariffs to allow the mining companies to extract greater wealth from Zambia?
7. Mr. Hichilema chosen to remain mute over the source of millions of dollars he stashed away in foreign offshore tax havens after he was named in an expose by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Why is this the case?
Mr. Hichilema should put politics aside and rally behind the accord already established between government and the foreign mine owners, to bring as it brings sanity to a sector that has been abused for decades.
We as a party shall not take lightly Hichilema’s attempts to bring bringing confusion to progress already made in a sector that is important to the country.
Mr. Hakainde Hichilema has every right to make a fool of himself; but he has no right to make a fool of Zambia.
The Author Is Patriotic Front Media Director
At The Patriotic Front Secretariat