United Party for National Development Spokesperson Charles Kakoma says the Patriotic Front as a ruling party should take responsibility for allowing mining activities in the game park and avoid blaming individuals like UPND President Hakainde Hichilema who is not in government.
Mr Kakoma said it was a folly for Eastern Province Minister Makebi Zulu to drag Mr. Hichilema’s name in an issue government messed up.
He the PF government held a cabinet meeting at which it was decided to allow mining activities in the Lower Zambezi National park. According to former Minister of Lands, Environment and Natural Resources, Hon Harry Kalaba who attended the cabinet meeting, the government overruled the environmental impact assessment by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) who objected to having mining activities in the national park.
He said it was the government to blame for introducing a policy of mining in national parks and not Hakainde Hichilema.
He also said it was the same PF government which granted a mining licence to an investor to mine in the Lower Zambezi National Park. Hakainde Hichilema has no power and authority to issue a mining license to anyone or himself as he has never worked in government.
He has since called for the revocation of the mining licence granted to either Mwembeshi Resources or Zambezi Resources.
Mr Kakoma has further advised the government to stop the project saying allowing it to go ahead will damage the environment and pollute air, soil and water.
“Cabinet decision to allow mining activities in national parks is irresponsible, it should never have been allowed. Why should government allow individuals or investors to start mining in the national park. The buck stops at government,” Mr Kakoma said.
Mr Kakoma said mining activities in the Lower Zambezi will threaten thriving tourism and the livelihood of everyone involved in tourism in the lower Zambezi.
He said mining has a range of environmental consequences for protected areas such as acquisition of land and loss of vegetation cover in the mined area and other parts directly affected by associated activities such as pollution affects.
He also said the noise, blasting, vibrations and other side-effects from the mine will have a severe adverse impact on the wildlife.
Mr Kakoma said the Zambezi River is the lifeblood of the Lower Zambezi reserve and mining activities would negatively impact on surrounding communities and also affect the flow of water.
He reminded the country that the Patriotic Front government on 31 May 2012, presented Zambia’s Action Plan for implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Programme of Work on Protected Areas.
“Despite the action plan, PF in their usual style have forgotten and allowed mining activities in the game park,” said Mr Kakoma.
*UPND MEDIA TEAM*