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Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Mopani : A Zambian Scandal Made in Europe

A new hard-hitting joint report by Counter Balance argues that the current mining context that the European Union funded Mopani project is not contributing positively to Zambia's development. It is not benefiting the Zambian state nor the local communities and is actually a burden on Zambia through its disastrous environmental impacts.
Mopani Copper Mine - A Scandal In Zambia


  1. It’s good to see a report with no bias. Zambian NGO's and pressure groups always just state the same thing "govt has failed". Their friends in the west actually go out of their way to analyse the situation and produce a thorough report. The report deals with the reality and not some blatant statement like "govt has failed".

    We all know that the mines have been ripping us off but none of us have gone out of our way to show how this is the case. We depend on our opposition to do it for us and they are more interested in using this opportunity to fill their pockets with goodies from the mining firms. When they get nothing, they threaten the mines win nationalisation as if this will solve Zambia’s problems.

    The EIB should explain how they got themselves into this mess. The European tax payer has been told that their money is being used to alleviate poverty in Africa. It must be disheartening to hear that the money is being used to make rich conglomerates even richer.

  2. It is just so sad to hear what happens in Zambia. All the whites are back in Zambia and all the important corporate decisions are being made by foreigners. Each time you call a Zambia company asking for decision makers, you are directed to people who are definitely not Zambians wheather white or black ( west africans). When will Zambians be allowed to lead their economy? Of course we are not saying that we can develop in isolation, we need to have the skills of global influence but that does not mean that Zambians do not have the capacity unless if it is in government institutions.
    We have become "orphans" in our own land. Most of these foreign investors choose to bring their own nationals to fill top corporate positions so that Zambian are not aware of the dubious activities that go on in taking money/ profits from Zambia back to their own foreign countries, this also means that they are not interested in sharing with Zambian human capital the so called expert skills that they bring.
    What is our immigration law on such things if at all we have one????

  3. FGO and Anonymous,

    Yes and no. The truth is that this is happening all over the world, including the USA, for the very simple reason - globalisation is not intended to 'develop' any country, or to empower 'free markets'. It is intended to enrich a very small number of people to the detriment of the people of the globe.

    This should be the end of neoliberal economics. No more 'free trade that means that there are no restrictions or protection of domestic producers. No more 'privatisation', which former World Bank chief economist called 'briberization', because politicians receive kickbacks to steal from their own people. No more deregulation, because all that does is empower the existing oligarchs and monopolies.

    We need a return to demand side economics.

    Higher wages, more local ownership and production, protection of infant industries, low lending rates for entrepreneurs (including farmers).

  4. MrK,

    Are politicians really corrupt because it is their nature or are they forced into it by the so called “donors”? Furthermore, do they really receive kickbacks or are they threatened with expulsion from their positions if they do not play ball?

    As a person on the ground, I can clearly see how change of government will not change Zambia’s economic situation. The donors have double stands here. On one hand, they want their big corporate to exploit us behind closed doors and on the other, they push for transparency and democracy using NGO’s.

    They pump money into the NGO’s to cause an uprising against government and then, when government is under pressure, they come with a solution that includes giving away your resources to big business. In 1991, the donors funded pressure groups who claimed KK was mismanaging the economy and a wide spread campaign against him was launched. The donors claimed the only solution for Zambia was change of government and MMD took over. Soon after, the donors claimed the only way to revive Zambia’s economy was to sell all our mines and govt owned assets to big businesses (who incidentally hail from donor countries). The privatization programme kicked off and Zambians were declared redundant en-masse.

    Had MMD refused to go with privatization to these foreign entities, UNIP would have bounced back in 1996 due to political pressure mounted by the people of Zambia and spearheaded by NGO’s who would have received extensive funding from the Donors. UNIP would have followed the donor’s prescriptions and embarked on a widespread privatization campaign to sell all of Zambia’s assets in exchange for waning down MMD’s support and replacing it with “wamuyayaya”.

    If UNIP refused to budge, then surely a power hungry colonel in the army would be willing.

    Therefore, Zambia is bonded to the donors for direction and support by force. Change in govt will not bring about change on the ground because the govt of the day will get its arm twisted and follow the donors prescribed solutions.

    Today, Mr. Sata is being arm twisted to kick out Chinese investment, allow gay marriages and declare economic war on China to fight a battle which is not even ours.

    What we need is to isolate ourselves from the donors! They bring more harm than good to our beloved country!

  5. Our economy is in a mess because of bad leadership and management. I don’t blame the donors and I don’t blame the foreign investors. I blame ourselves because in the congruent of mediocrity a few are chosen to lead the rest of the rot. We deserve the leaders we have. I just want change. But this change has to come with a caution on Sata and that is that he shouldn’t rule alone. We need HH to bring sanity. But I don’t see this either happening. Here is the truth of my opinion on what has prevailed so far:

    UPND president Hakainde Hichilema said it is mischievous for Mr Kabimba to publicize suggestions made by an individual member (Prof. Clive Chirwa) of the UPND. PF can't be trusted. Come to think of it, it was MMD which blocked Prof. Chirwa’s ambition. He was eyeing 2011 knowing Mwanawasa would have completed his two terms by then and there was nobody good enough to take over the MMD. He thought he could chance the MMD driving seat. But that was not to be because MMD is not democratic.

    Now, Prof. Chirwa must be eyeing 2016 and his only competitor is HH knowing Sata to be too old by then and that’s why he wants Sata to be president because if HH becomes president this year, there is no way he can dislodge him in 2016 because HH is younger and more experienced in Zambian politics than Prof. Chirwa. Let’s see what happens to Chirwa now after this fracas.

    But if Sata wines, people will cry including the kaponyas. If you want to know the character of a person, look at the people that are his close friends. As for Sata, you have Willi Nsanda and GBM. These characters are bad just to mention the least. They don’t believe in democracy but authoritarianism. Even if the pact agrees to field Sata as president and HH as VP, nothing monumental can force Sata to honor the end of the bargain. He will choose his own VP and cabinet and no judicial jurisdiction can forbid that. This is African politics and if the Barotseland agreement was tossed aside, what more with a mere memorandum of understanding. Whichever way we go, RB or Sata, as Zambians, we are having a real raw deal for real for the next 5 years.

    The conclusion is that for as long as we continue to be who we are, we shall continue to have bad leaders and our economy will continue to be undesirable. This is a chain reaction.

  6. FGO ZM,

    Furthermore, do they really receive kickbacks or are they threatened with expulsion from their positions if they do not play ball?

    Probably both. I think the strategy is referred to as offering officials 'silver or lead'. John Perkins writes about this at length in his "Confessions Of An Economic Hitman".

    Therefore, Zambia is bonded to the donors for direction and support by force. Change in govt will not bring about change on the ground because the govt of the day will get its arm twisted and follow the donors prescribed solutions.

    We really need permanent ownership of the mines, or at least ensure that politicians cannot make deals with the mines that are detrimental to the Zambian people or economy.

    They shouldn't be able to negotiate away or not not enforce taxes or dividends due to the country.

    What we need is to isolate ourselves from the donors! They bring more harm than good to our beloved country!

    The only way to do that is to pay for everything through mining taxes.

  7. Mopani dismisses tax audit report
    By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe in Lusaka and Kabanda Chulu in Kitwe
    Wed 23 Feb. 2011, 03:59 CAT


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