WE hail the humanitarian decision by President Edgar Lungu to issue offer letters for residential plots to a record 1,600 former miners in Luanshya to enable them build houses to cushion them against the impact of retrenchment.
We feel this noble act lives up to the catchy Patriotic Front (PF) political slogan of ‘sontapo epo wabomba’, meaning ‘show us what you have done’.
Here is a president who has a heart for the people and would love them to start a new life after retrenchment.
The nickname ‘Mr Walk the Talk’ was not given to President Lungu for nothing but emanates from his penchant to fulfil the promises that he makes.
We are just calling on miners not to sell the plots but use them for the intended purpose.
The former miners should understand that they are dealing with a government that is committed to cushioning their suffering by empowering them with land to venture into agriculture and to construct houses.
The land bonanza also speaks volumes of President Lungu’s commitment to seeing that Zambia diversifies from her over-dependence on copper to agriculture.
The issuance of offer letters to the former miners in Kitwe, Chingola, and Mufulira is just the beginning of an agro revolution that would eventually transform Zambia.
When President Lungu recently directed that retrenched miners should be offered land to venture into agriculture as their alternative source of income for their economic survival, the opposition politicised the promise arguing that it could not be fulfilled.
But here we are witnessing President Lungu fulfilling his promise that other politicians would have used just for cheap politicking.
We, therefore, understand the mass jubilation from the former miners when Information Minister Chishimba Kambwili announced that they would only pay a paltry K700 instalment towards the plots in a period of six months.
Is this act not testimony that the PF government under President Lungu can do several other wonders if re-elected on August 11 which is just around the corner?
We say this after witnessing a roller coaster of developmental projects that the PF government has achieved in the short period it has been in power.
President Lungu has achieved enviable results in development that would take an ordinary president three terms to achieve.
Mr Lungu, who only assumed office on January 25 last year, has every reason to look back with pride because of the successes scored during his presidency.
People should understand that he came into power at a delicate moment when the economy was underperforming.
The mining sector, which lays the country’s golden eggs, called for a review of the mining tax regime implemented in the 2015 budget which it said was unsustainable.
Since mining accounts for 86 per cent of Zambia’s foreign direct investment, President Lungu amended the mineral royalty tax with a view to coming up with a win-win situation so that the mining sector continues to generate revenue required to diversify our economy and to progress on the path of increasing mining and manufacturing production to sustain and continue to create jobs.
Despite Government coming to terms with the mining sector on the new mining tax regime to ensure the mining industry continues to be the engine of the Zambian economy for a long time to come, things turned around when retrenchments began.
The Zambian mining industry was not spared by the global downturn which resulted in prices of commodities on the international markets experiencing a severe downturn.
President Lungu and his Government remained resolute and embarked on constructive dialogue with the mines in addressing the current challenges revolving around events in the industry such as suspension of operations, job losses and the electricity deficit.
Through dialogue which President Lungu initiated via a committee of ministers and himself, some challenges were overcome and a lot of jobs were spared.
For those who were retrenched, President Lungu promised that he would assist them in starting a new life.
He has done just that by issuing them with offer letters to purchase land and build houses.
Can’t he now proudly and loudly challenge his critics to point what they have done for the people? Comment