Luanshya Miners Boo Lungu.
Miners of Luanhya’s Mpatamatu township on Tuesday jeered President Edgar Lungu when he assured and told them that he had discussed with management and the unions at CNMC Luanshya Copper Mines on the need to increase their allowances while they are on forced leave due to closure of Baluba Mine. And President Lungu, before departure for Lusaka, yesterday said his six-day visit to the Copperbelt made him see for himself the sufferings of the people and the challenges facing the mines. The residents, mostly miners that were sent home following the closure of Baluba underground mine, said they expected President Lungu to ensure that they get back their jobs when he was still on the Copperbelt and give them ‘sweet talks’ of discussions and dialogue between unions and management.
“Ba China abakwata imigodi kuno ku Luanshya nabasumina ukweba ati ilya K900 balemipela naichepa. Nomba bafwile ukwikala pamo naba union ukweba ati, balundepo indalama pa kweba ati… (The Chinese, the owners of the mines here in Luanshya, have agreed that the K900 they are giving is very little. Now they have to sit and discuss with the unions so that they can increase the money they are giving you..),” he said amidst jeering and booing by miners angered by the turn out of events. “Please, mukutike first… munkutike… kutikeni first (Please listen first, you must listen, listen first),” President Lungu begged as the miners continued shouting back at him: “Awee! Awee! Twakana ifyo awe!” The Head of State continued talking despite the protest from the audience.
“The problem is that these people just come and make pronouncements without action. Ba [Chishimba] Kambwili (Chief government spokesperson) came here, said we are going to be paid full salaries. Where are the full salaries? Up to now, nothing! At first when the mine was closed, he told us to go back because the closure of the mine and our forced leave was null and void but we are still not working, nothing happened. There is a lot of talk without engaging the owners of the mines to find a solution. Now its ba Lungu but still nothing will change. My brother, these issues are real and we find it sad that the President and ba Kambwili are just interested in votes and not real issues,” said Simon Nkhuwa, a suspended miner.
And before departure for Lusaka, President Lungu said he had seen for himself the sufferings of the people on the Copperbelt. “I thank the people for welcoming me and for the massive support. This visit made me see for myself the sufferings and the challenges facing our people. This visit made me see for myself the sufferings and the challenges facing our people. We had talks with the unions and min owners to find a way forward. It was fruitful,” said President Lungu.