Movement for Multiparty Democracy President and Presidential candidate Dr. Nevers Mumba has made an impassioned appeal to Barrick Gold, the Canadian owners of the US$8 Billion investment Lumwana Copper Mine in North-Western Province to wait just a few weeks for the MMD to get back into government in January 2015 before they proceed with placing the mine on care and maintenance which is likely to result in laying off thousands of workers and untold hardship.
Speaking at a Press Briefing this yesterday, Dr. Mumba told reporters that during his term as Zambian High Commissioner to Canada, he had been heavily involved in the negotiations which had resulted in Barrick Gold bringing the huge investment to Lumwana, one of the biggest mines in Zambia on assets. He said if Barrick Gold pulled out as they are threatening, the impact on the economy would be catastrophic and result in a huge loss of revenue for the country and loss of employment for many workers. Dr Mumba was addressing the briefing fresh from the landmark Supreme Court ruling on 18th December 2014 which dismissed the suspension that had been slapped on him by a purported MMD National Executive Committee meeting and which in turn had adopted former President Rupiah Banda as MMD Presidential candidate.
Dr. Mumba said the MMD introduced and championed the introduction of private-sector, free market driven policies back in 1991 after the disastrous failure of the UNIP socialist policies which had left the mining industry on its knees. The MMD introduced new policies which immediately jumpstarted the economy and kept it on a firm footing until handover to the PF government. He said the MMD’s history through the years has been for a clear and stable investor-friendly investment policy framework which attracted global players to invest in Zambia resulting in a middle-income country by the time it was leaving office in 2011.
He said the PF Government neither has the vision, the skill-set nor clear policy direction to run the economy efficiently in a stable manner and hoped that Barrick Gold will give the MMD an opportunity to engage with them upon coming to power, to sit down and maturely negotiate a “win-win” arrangement that will benefit workers, the investors and the country at large.
He said the MMD platform on running the economy is well spelt out in the MMD Manifesto and successive MMD presidents have achieved successes because of the clear policy framework and have not deviated from the vision of the MMD founding fathers of the MMD, that of a prosperous and progressive standard of life for all. He said MMD back in Government will take an urgent and thorough review of all the PF policies which have created a hostile investor climate and put the country back on the path to prosperity which it left just 3 years ago.