Editor's Comment

Resolve matter quickly

THE release of US$3.8 million to pay Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) suppliers and contractors is a great turn of events.What isn’t exactly splendid,
however , is the conflict that characterised the process leading to this outcome.Did it have to take protests and Government’s intervention to have this
money released? We think not.Such challenges can, and should, be resolved much more amicably.The two sides of this same coin need each other
for their very existence.So there is absolutely no need for them to get into conflict.KCM, as stated by its chief executive officer Christopher
Sheppard, needs contractors to continue rendering their support to the mine to keep its operations running.He admits that the growth of the company is dependent
on the support from suppliers and contractors, hence the need to embrace the spirit of oneness by all stakeholders.He is right.In other words, the
contractors, as key stakeholders, need the mine for them to sustain their respective businesses.We perfectly understand the stress the indirect workers ar
egoing through over delayed payments due to them,through their companies.They need to pay for various needs,most of them basic.Without any other
sour ce of revenue, it becomes extremely difficult to remain patient.As true as they may be, there was no need to be physically aggressive in trying to expr
ess their discontentment.As it were,some of them ended up in police cells, which we all know are not the best of places to be,even for a good cause.
Dialogue is always the best way in which to resolve issues. Nothing is impossible to resolve, especially if all stakeholders accept that this is
a give-and-take way of having an amicable solution.With the money expected to start flowing today , we urge the recipients not to forget this
challenging time they went through before being paid.They must use the money wisely . Indeed this may seem easier said than done, but they must make the effort.
The anguish of being broke can be avoided.The solution is in their hands.We also urge the contractors and suppliers to heed Copperbelt Province
Permanent Secretary Bright Nundwe’s advice for them to pay their respective workers.It is worrisome to hear that some of these employers have
not been paying their workers despite receiving money from KCM.This propensity by contract employers to want to exploit their workers is unacceptable.
This happens in other sectors too. Such must be exposed and blacklisted.We therefore agree with Mr Nundwe that the culprits will have theircontracts terminated.
This is particularly so forthose who were empowered through Government’s interventions.Such warnings should also be carried through. It does
not help to make a threat and not effect it when culprits still fail to honour their end of the bargain.KCM should also manage the allegation that it is
selective in its payment to suppliers and contractors. It is claimed that some suppliers have not been paid in over three years.Is this a perception or
is it a fact? Whatever the case,KCM may need to give an explanation as plainly as it can be.A transparent process,coupled with fathomable explanations, will help to allay
accusations.Therein lies the lastingsolution to this challenge.

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