CHIEFTAINESS Nkomeshya Mukamambo II and the Soli people of Chongwe have rejected government’s proposal to build a nuclear plant in their chiefdom.
During a heated stakeholder consultative meeting at the Chongwe Council chamber yesterday, the people threw out government’s intended plan to build the plant in Chongwe using the Russians.
The meeting, which took the entire day, attended by higher education minister Professor Nkandu Luo, Copperbelt minister and Chongwe member of parliament Japhen Mwakalombe and mayor Geoffrey Chumbwe, saw residents debate the matter with emotions.
The fierce debates saw Prof Luo leave the meeting after government was accused of not consulting chieftainess Nkomeshya.
“I’M HERE AS YOUR CHIEF, THE CUSTODIAN AND I’M THE CHAIR OF THIS MEETING. WE ARE GOING TO DISCUSS THIS MATTER FREELY, WHETHER IT WILL BE IN A FRIENDLY MANNER OR THERE WILL BE SHARP REACTIONS BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT,”
chieftainess Nkomeshya said.
“We need to handle it well, that’s what we are looking at. We have not come to fight but just to be told about this nuclear plant coming or being [proposed to be constructed] in our chiefdom, which we needed to be briefed about. When government is making decisions, if that government is for the people, by the people and for the people, they need to do consultations but minus consultations, I think it’s not good enough in my view.”
The residents then told Mwakalombe that the plant was not welcome in the area.
Through chieftains Nkomeshya, the residents resolved that not only was the plant alien but was also not welcome because they were not consulted.
“THE VOICE THAT HAS COME OUT HAS COME FROM THE PEOPLE, SO YOU TECHNOCRATS HAVE BEEN USED AS SACRIFICIAL LAMBS BECAUSE IF THOSE WHO MAKE POLICIES WERE HERE, YOU WERE NOT GOING TO SPEAK BUT WERE GOING TO WRITE WHAT WAS GOING TO COME FROM HERE. THEY HAVE MADE YOU TO SPEAK, DEFEND THOSE THAT WERE SUPPOSED TO EXPLAIN,”
chieftainess Nkomeshya said.
She also thanked her subjects, commending them for their fighting spirit in protecting what belonged to them.
“YOU ACCEPT WHAT YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH, WHAT YOU ARE NOT COMFORTABLE WITH YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SAY ‘NO’. THIS IS NOT COMING FROM YOU THE EXPERTS, TALK TO THE PEOPLE, THOSE ABOVE YOURSELVES, THAT IT’S DIFFICULT. TELL THEM WHAT HAS COME FROM HERE, THE PEOPLE HAVE SAID ‘NO’, IT’S IN THIS LUSAKA PROVINCE, THIS CHIEFDOM THAT THE PEOPLE ARE SAYING ‘NO’, IT CAN GO ELSEWHERE. THEY HAVE SAID THIS PROJECT IS DIFFICULT FOR THEM TO ACCEPT BECAUSE FIRST AND FOREMOST, THERE HASN’T BEEN ANY SATISFACTORY EXPLANATION ON HOW IT STARTED AND HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE DONE BUT WE ARE ONLY TOLD TO AGREE TO WHAT SHOULD BE AGREED TO BY THOSE WHO WANT TO DO IT BUT WE SAY ‘NO’,”
said chieftains Nkomeshya.
And UPP leader Saviour Chishimba, who was in attendance, said the people of Chongwe had become the latest victims of State capture through the Chinese and the PF corruption.
“THE NUCLEAR PROJECT IS A SMOKESCREEN BEHIND THE ULTIMATE PLAN OF EDGAR LUNGU AND HIS MINIONS, WHICH IS TO TAKE OUT THE LAND FROM THE PEOPLE OF CHONGWE TO ADVANCE CHINESE AND RUSSIAN INTEREST AT THE EXPENSE OF POOR CHONGWE RESIDENTS. THE VEHEMENT, UNANIMOUS REJECTION OF THE PROJECT BY THE PEOPLE OF CHONGWE IS AN EARLY WARNING SIGN THAT THE PEOPLE OF ZAMBIA ARE READY TO DEFEND THEIR LAND BY BLOOD AND IRON,”
Meanwhile, Mwakalombe said he would pass on the message of rejection to President Lungu.
“What I have gathered here is that from the consensus of the meeting, people have not accepted because they are not informed and knowledgeable about it. There is also suspicion of what will be the end product. So based on that, the message was clear that it’s not what they want. What I will take as a representative is that we went in the meeting and the people resolved that they don’t want the plant to come to Chongwe, ” said Mwakalombe