Arthur Schopenhauer once said, “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
We said it, and Mr Hichilema and his corrupt puppet regime ridiculed and violently opposed our perspective on the issues that were surrounding the situation at KCM. But here we are again in the same situation they ridiculed and violently disputed when we raised the alarm.
It is now evident that they were merely trying to silence the voices of truth on this issue so they could be heard and seen as the only ones who can do what is best for the people of the Copperbelt, in particular the people of Chingola and Chililabombwe.
We repeat what we have said before; that the return of Vedanta at KCM after its Indian owner Anil Agarwal parted with US$200 million, endorses the betrayal and disrespect Mr Hakainde Hichilema has for the people on the Copperbelt.
This particular move has a revealing effect on what type of a leader Mr Hichilema is and how he views and treats the people on the Copperbelt – with low value.
By this decision alone, Mr Hichilema has spat in the face of the people of the Copperbelt, especially the miners, who braved the meandering queues to cast their votes and put him into office.
Below are the articles we published on this issue in July this year.
VEDANTA’S AGARWAL TO GET BACK KCM AFTER PARTING WITH US$200M
After parting with US$200 million, Vedanta Resources plc’s 69-year-old Indian owner, Anil Agarwal, is assured of getting back KCM, which he lost control of in a Zambian government initiated liquidation order in 2020.
Agarwal acquired KCM in 2004 in a transaction that had an aggregate value of approximately US$270 million, comprised of a cash consideration of US$48.2 million for the 51 per cent stake, a commitment on the part of Vedanta to fund cash flows in KCM to an aggregate limit of US$220 million, and an agreement on the part of Vedanta to contribute US$1 million towards the cost of a feasibility study of substantial deeper level resources associated with the Konkola mine (containing estimated resources of around 250 million tonnes at 3.8 percent copper), to be undertaken by December 31, 2006.
In August 2021, while addressing miners in Kitwe, the then President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Lungu, claimed that he had received a report that Mr Hakainde Hichilema was soliciting US$300,000 from Vedanta, promising to give them back KCM once elected. An accusation, which Mr Hichilema vehemently denied.
On April 25, 2022, during a media briefing at State House, Mr Hichilema dismissed media reports suggesting that the government planned to give back KCM to Vedanta as falsehoods.
But on May 9, 2022, Mr Hichilema U-turned stating, “Vedanta and ourselves have agreed that we suspend litigation,”
Going by the sequence of events and inconsistencies in the statements, especially on the part of Mr Hichilema, we demand that he comes clean on the Vedanta issue. What is going on? The Zambian people deserve to know the truth and how decisions have been arrived at in this matter.
President of the Socialist Party
In the same month of July, we again guided as follows:
HICHILEMA HAS BETRAYED THE COPPERBELT ON VEDANTA
The return of Vedanta at KCM after its Indian owner Anil Agarwal parted with US$200 million, endorses the betrayal and disrespect Mr Hakainde Hichilema has for the people on the Copperbelt.
This particular move has a revealing effect on what type of a leader Mr Hichilema is and how he views and treats the people on the Copperbelt – with low value. By this decision alone, Mr Hichilema has spat in the face of the people of the Copperbelt, especially the miners, who braved the meandering queues to cast their votes and put him into office.
As usual, Mr Hichilema has made known to the Zambian people that the poor masses of this country are nowhere near the equation, and as such deserve no place, value, or respect from his government. Like we have always said, Mr Hichilema is here to protect mining transnational capital and not the working masses. And we shall validate our standpoint stated above by highlighting the facts that led the Zambian government to initiate a liquidation order in 2020, so that citizens can see and judge for themselves.
Under Vedanta, KCM faced various operational difficulties, which included:
1) the mine failed to meet its financial obligations to the workers thereby subjecting them to poor working conditions,
2) the mine failed to honour its debts with contractors and suppliers,
3) the mine was highly indebted and threatened with insolvency, to the extent that as of September 30, 2013, KCM’s total liability stood overwhelmingly at US$1.5 billion, surpassing its asset base by US$123 million. This situation definitely made it unfeasible for the mine to meet its financial obligations. For this reason, KCM defaulted on its US$700 million loan signed with Standard Bank. By the way, this particular loan was secured on the KCM assets,
4) Vedanta failed to live up to its pledge to inject a sum of US$397 million foreign direct investment in the mine but resorted to diverting funds it was generating locally to other ventures thereby choking the mine and leaving it with no resources to inject in its operations,
5) Vedanta lamentably failed to operationalise the Konkola Deep Mining Project despite making numerous pledges and commitments over the same, and,
6) Vedanta never invested in its own equipment. It was merely sub-contracting its works. This made it extremely expensive to run the mine.
Above are just some of the many reasons the Zambia government repossessed the mine and opted to find another investor. Now, with all that we have stated above, we ask a question: which principled and decent leader would surrender back such a key national asset to a dishonest investor like Vedanta?
Clearly, Mr Hichilema is a selfish and showboating politician. But all this won’t end well. It will soon catch up with him because Zambians are not fools. Already the atmosphere is one of exhaustion. People are fatigued of his lies, inconsistency, and self-serving attitude.
Let him know that this country is way bigger than him and so he must stop playing with people’s livelihoods and the country’s future by dishing out key national assets willy-nilly like sweets in a market parlour.
President of the Socialist Party