THE governing PF says Democratic Party president Harry Kalaba is being unpatriotic and petty on the Konkola Copper Mines issue.
Kalaba, a former foreign affairs minister, was quoted by The Mast yesterday, saying problems at the KCM – now under provisional liquidation – were exacerbated by the PF government: “due to the illegal dealings they have been involved in and owing to the kickbacks and campaign money they kept obtaining from Vedanta.”
PF deputy media director Antonio Mwanza, however, called The Mast yesterday and chastised Kalaba, in particular, and opposition politicians, in general.
“The comments from Mr Kalaba make sad reading and this is the tragedy that the Zambian people are facing. The level of opposition that we have in this country leaves much to be desired. The quality of opposition that we have in this country is mediocre – they thrive on bitterness and pettiness,” Mwanza said.
“To hear a statement from a former minister talk about KCM, politicise it and reduce the debate on KCM to be mere political diatribe is very unfortunate. The issue of KCM is a very serious issue that requires to be held with soberness, patriotism and maturity from everybody.”
He argued that the issue of KCM could not be politicised because it was of national character and that it affected thousands of workers and millions of Zambians.
Mwanza recalled that KCM was: “sold for a song at US$25 million and that was the beginning of problems.”
“The development agreements that were agreed with those that sold KCM did not favour us. KCM has been defrauding this country for a long time and we have lost billions of dollars in revenue, as a result of activities that have been going on at KCM; failing to declare dividends for the last many years,” Mwanza explained.
“The decision by the State [to put KCM under provisional liquidation] is merely to ensure that Zambians benefit from this mining asset and also to ensure that we protect the workers at KCM. The problems at KCM have got nothing to with the Patriotic Front!”
He challenged Kalaba to name PF officials who were getting money from KCM and: “let him tell the nation how much money was received from KCM and how he himself benefited.”
“So, to reduce a very serious national issue of KCM to this cheap political diatribe is very unfortunate. This level of mediocrity, pettiness, childishness and bitterness from our opposition is what makes it very difficult for the Zambian people to trust opposition political parties with power,” said Mwanza.
“You cannot expect such to come from a person who was a cabinet minister! To come from Mr Kalaba, of all people, is very unfortunate. Mr Kalaba is just being unpatriotic, childish, petty and he is just showing the Zambian people that he has nothing to offer. Being in opposition does not mean opposing everything that the government is doing….”