Addressing a rally at Kaunda square in Chiwempala township in Chingola in the year 2015, Hakainde Hichilema promised to bring back Anglo american mining corporation back to Zambia.
Anglo american corporation used to run Konkola copper mines (KCM), Nchanga open pit mine and Chililabombwe mine until 2001.
After Mazoka the founder of UPND party lost presidential elections to Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, Anglo American decided to announce it’s departure from Zambia, claiming that it was struggling turning around the crumbling mines it had acquired from the government as it went ahead with suspending trade of shares in it’s Zambian subsidiary.
Anglo’s departure would have meant thousands of jobs lost in a blink of an eye. Levy Mwanawasa in a bid to save jobs for Zambians working in the mining sector sold the mines to Vendantta for as low as $25 million.
But why did Anglo American leave after 2001 elections?
Before Anderson Mazoka joined active politics, he was the chief executive of Anglo here in Zambia. After retiring and joining politics, Anglo sponsored Mazokas campaigns. Unfortunately after UPND lost in 2001, the Anglo board out of frustration decided to part ways with Zambians in a bid to cripple the economy.
The chief executive of the base metals unit of anglo american Simon Thompson announced during a teleconference with reporters that without Anglo American financing the mines, the mines would be out of business within a year and we’re not willing to put money down an endless pit.
Despite Anglo American being out of the big picture, it has continued to sponsor Hakainde Hichilema and the UPND and that is why Hakainde Hichilema was uncomfortable with the Zambian government repossessing ZCCM, as he twitted on his Facebook page that Zambians cannot run mines and once he and his party formed government he would find a suitable foreign investor to take over.
In the 2019 budget presentation, a new mining tax was availed. Unfortunately that did not seat well with Mr Hakainde Hichilema. After the budget presentation, Mr Hichilema at his party secretariat trashed the new mining tax regime that would see mineral royalty tax rates increased and introducation of 5% import duty on copper and cobalt ,as he chose to side with the mine owners than the Zambians, claiming that the mines are already contributing more than enough to the economy
Mr Hichilema, a business has had his wealth entangled to the privatization saga that occured during the MMD regime.
What is interesting is that Mr Hichilema is not only a supplier to these mines, but has shares too. The more reason he seems more agitated by Zambians taking over the mine industry. The man is all about profits and capitalism and if this man ever ruled Zambia, anything that sales would be sold.
Surely is this the kind of man we want to govern our nation