Careless statements can affect Mopani, KCM final deals

THE careless statements being issued by politicians almost on a daily basis on Mopani Copper Mines and Konkola Copper Mines are making Government’s work very difficult in coming up with a win-win situation. Because of these careless statements, Government may be pushed in an extremely weak bargaining position. The unnecessary pressure from politicians can lead to the two mines being sold at give-away prices with unfavourable conditions for miners and ordinary Zambians.
Government is negotiating under duress. It is no longer a bargaining process where there is the spirit of give and take.
From time to time, Zambians have complained about how our mines have been sold. Zambians have also complained that the deals that are signed do not befit them. Yet some people are busy issuing statements meant to weaken Government’s position on the two mines. This is how we end up with very weak mining development agreements. Currently, Government can either negotiate with new buyers or Glencore and Vedanta. However, negotiating skills demand that one must negotiate in good faith based on the principle of give and take. Secondly, never at any stage of negotiations display any signs of desperation. Then confidentiality must be observed at all times. Honestly, are we being fair to ourselves when on daily basis careless statements that undermine the process and its outcome are being issued? Stop issuing careless statements. If you do not understand the impact of what you are saying, better be quiet. When the Patriotic Front (PF) grabbed the mines, none of you bothered to ask them about the conditions that were attached to the two mines. Most of you were too busy dancing Dununa reverse. When some of us refused and said you had destroyed the two mines, you called us enemies of miners and our freedoms on the Copperbelt were curtailed. But today you are in the forefront of issuing statements. Under PF, the mention of Glencore and Vedanta was treasonable. The integrity of the bargaining process will be highly compromised if those who harassed both Vedanta and Glencore officials are part of the process. Remember how that young CEO at Mopani was harassed? Be patriotic, do your cheap politics away from the mining industry.  The author is United Party for National Development chairperson for mines.