Get a copy of the Metro to read this editorial and know why Zambians are demanding the resignation of president Edgar Lungu.
Delusions of Grandeur
Government would appear to be in the grip of delusions over the impending and largely inevitable job losses on the mines. The newly converted “man of god,” President Edgar Lungu and some of his minions would now appear to be in competition to make the most sensational claims about their ability to forestall the job losses but that does not seem do-able at this time.
The facts are clear: Market estimates are that there will be a surplus supply of copper worldwide for the next two years with fears that the price could decline further. Hopefully, it will remain or hover around its present levels. For, the consequences of a further decline would be “too ghastly to contemplate.” But even in the present scenario there seems no escape from retrenchments.
It is also clear that President Lungu hasn’t got the authority over the mines which he is trying to portray. He is in too much of a weak position to even negotiate. Government owes the mines millions of dollars in VAT refunds and is unable to supply enough power for their operations. These cannot boost their bottom line and only make their financial situation even more precarious. In any case, the mines were sold off and they are private businesses. They should not be compelled by raw political diktat to retain labour even when it has been rendered unproductive unless of course government is willing to pay. It is sad that barely eleven months into the job the president is already exhibiting such dictatorial tendencies.
There is a great deal of hypocrisy, dishonesty and deception in the manner that the President and some of his ministers are trying to portray the issue. The President has continuously given the impression that he will forestall the retrenchments and his recent tour of the Copperbelt is supposed to have been the clincher.