In a bid to secure the permanent presidential seat come October 30, Stand-in Zambian President Rupiah Banda, while addressing a campaign rally at Kalumbwa High School grounds in Lufwanyama, yesterday morning promised to invest heavily in the mines sector to make way for more exploitation of the country’s abundant mineral resources, to promote good agricultural policies and also create thousands of jobs.
Lufwanyama District on the Copper belt of Zambia faces numerous problems, mainly the lack of jobs.
Mr. Banda said that the Zambian owners lacked funding to operate the mines and that once elected, he hoped to change this situation. He said he would work with the mine owners and various groups involved in the industry, to ensure that the mines were opened and jobs were created.
The stand-in president assured the people of kalumbwa that he was aware that over 400 mining licenses had been issued for emerald mining and that just about five mines were operational. He said the rest were just licenses on paper and no activity was taking place because the owners lacked funding to commence mining operations.
‘Those four or five that are functioning belong to foreigners and the over 400 licenses are owned by Zambians. You live in a district that is rich in mineral resources and therefore you need a government that will tell you how it will exploit those resources for your benefit,’ he said.
Mr. Banda said Government realized that the foreigners that were successfully running the other emerald mines were doing so because they easily sourced funds from their countries of origin and that his administration would do the same for Zambian miners.
The acting president who pledged to revive the emerald and other precious metal mining industries in Lufwanyama District declared that he will be willing to step down if Zambians decided to vote against him in the October 30 presidential election and other candidates should equally be willing to accept the results, whichever way they went.
He said those contesting the presidency should accept that there would be only one winner after the election and that it was unfair to refuse the results. ‘I am willing to stand down and accept the verdict of the Zambian people and I urge other candidates to come out and declare the same thing,’ he said.