By Bennie Mundando
ARRESTING Zambians over the Black Mountain impasse with the Chinese is inhuman and we demand for the immediate release of those in police cells over the matter because that facility is theirs, the Evangelical Youth Alliance (EYA) has charged.
EYA executive director Moses Lungu said instead of arresting Zambians over the disputed copper deposits, Government should build the capacity of the young Chamboli, Ndeke and Wusakile township residents who are using the dumpsite to make a living.
Rev. Lungu said the Jerabos who were arrested two weeks ago over the dump site should be bailed out because they had every reason to protest the Chinese’s involvement on the site as they had been using it for a long time.
He noted with concern the ‘‘increasing interference of foreigners in national affairs’’, saying Zambians will have no future if the trend to continue giving so much power to foreigners to run the country continued.
He said the Black Mountain did not belong to any mining firm but that the companies were using it as a dump site which in turn affected the residents around the premises as most of them contracted respiratory diseases which killed some of them.
He said it was ‘‘barbaric for the police to treat the Chinese with kid gloves over the matter while Zambians were being arrested for defending what rightfully belonged to them’’.
He said it was sad that successive governments had failed to protect the interest of people on the Copperbelt who were making a living out of the copper slag dump site but appealed to relevant authorities to help build the capacity of those using it to transform their lives.
“We demand for an immediate release of the Jerabos who were arrested and are languishing in cells for defending this dumping site from the so-called Chinese investors who are slowly taking over everything that we are doing in Zambia.
‘‘The Chinese have literately taken over every business we are doing from selling chickens to big businesses and we are watching yet this can never be tolerated in their own country.
“People who suffered from the effects of the refuse at the time mining companies started using that place are those who lived around there. Some of them died as a result of respiratory diseases and now their grandchildren should benefit from that dumpsite and not the Chinese.
‘‘Instead of arresting Zambians who are defending what belongs to them, Government must instead build their capacity so that they can conduct their business properly,” Rev. Lungu said.
He called for an immediate solution to the continued conflicts between the locals and foreigners.
“These Chinese will not even put the money they realise from that business into the Zambian economy. Our money is leaving the country and is being used to develop other economies yet we are just watching.
‘‘We cannot have a situation where foreigners dictate to us how we should run our affairs. Let Government identify these Zambians who are toiling every day at that site to make ends meet by building their capacity so that they can become viable. Arresting them won’t help anyone.
“This problem should be sorted out once and for all and no foreigner should be allowed to displace Zambians from there. Where do you expect them to go? The Black Mountain has been their source of income and if you remove them and allow the Chinese to continue exploiting them, what is the future of Zambia?” he asked.