The PF Government has borrowed US$19.5 million from China to resume making bombs, bullets and gunpowder at a military location in Serenje district.
Defence deputy minister Davis Mwila who is currently in Brazil disclosed that the government is ‘recapitalising Mupepetwe, an ammunition manufacturing facility located in Serenje District.’
It is not yet clear why the deputy minister is so keen to publicise military operations as yesterday he also disclosed that his government is in the process of buying arms from Brazil.
Probably unknown to minister Mwila, Mupwepwe is a Zambia army secret company. It was created by Kenneth Kaunda’s UNIP during the independence struggles in the region. It was used to produce and supply bombs (landmines) and bullets to liberation movements in the region.
But after independence in the region was attained, operations at the company were scaled down and no more weapons of war were produced.
But Defence Deputy Minister, Davies Mwila , said production would be scaled again and government expected more people to be employed. He said this will ‘lead to opening up of export markets once Mupepetwe is recapitalised.’
He revealed that Norinco, a company based in China, has agreed to provide the US$19.5 million loan before the end of this year.
Mwila, in a statement that was issued on his behalf by Nicky Shabolyo, the Press Secretary at the Zambian embassy in Brazil said current production levels at Mupepetwe were low such that the company was barely managing to satisfy local demand.
“Once funding is provided, we expect the company to stand on its own as it is a viable entity. We expect it to employ more people and get onto the export market. The current production levels are too low; we want them to get to a point where they can supply to other countries if they are to stand on their own,” Mr. Mwila said.
Mwila was speaking after visiting Chinese exhibitors at the just ended 9th edition of the LAAD Defence and Security Exhibition in Rio de Janeiro.