Web of intrigue over ZCCM privatization.
Anthony Kunda in Luanda reports on the extraordinary drama being played out in President Frederick Chiluba's government with the selling of Zambia's number one state asset, the Zambian Consolidated Copper Mines.
PRIVATISATION Noun 1. privatisation - changing something from state to private ownership or control
denationalisation, denationalization, privatization
social control - control exerted (actively or passively) by group action of Zambian Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM ZCCM Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines ), the country's major foreign exchange earner, has sparked off a divisive di·vi·sive
Creating dissension or discord.
di·vi controversy in the Movement for Multiparty Democracy The Movement for Multy-party Democracy (MMD) is a political party in Zambia. Originally formed to oust the previous government, MMD controlled an absolute majority in parliament between 1991 and 2001, when its past leader, Frederick Chiluba was president of the country. (MMD MMD Movement for Multiparty Democracy (Zambia)
MMD Make My Day
MMD Merchant Mariner Document
MMD Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy
MMD Myotonic Dystrophy
MMD Mass Median Diameter
MMD Metal Matrix Diaphragm ) Government, resulting in the summary dismissal of two Deputy Ministers - Dr Mathias Mpande, Ministry of Mines, and Mr Ackson Sejani, Agriculture, Food and Fisheries fisheries. From earliest times and in practically all countries, fisheries have been of industrial and commercial importance. In the large N Atlantic fishing grounds off Newfoundland and Labrador, for example, European and North American fishing fleets have long .
Opinions are sharply divided over whether the mining conglomerate should be sold as a single unit, or broken down into smaller units. Dr Mpande, a reputed reputed adj. referring to what is accepted by general public belief, whether or not correct. mining scholar, and Mr Sejani, have separately advocated ZCCM be privatised in small units to avoid any single investor scooping Zambia's prize company at a give away price. If sold separately, they say, it would realise much more revenue.
Mr Mpande charged that a group of prominent politicians and an unnamed business cartel were working towards taking control of the Zambian economy.
But other Government leaders, like Finance Minister Mr Ronald Penza, have strongly argued the case that ZCCM should be privatised in one piece. "Some mine units do not hold much prospects for investors," he said, "it will be difficult to sell these mines separately".
As the debate began to boil, Mr Enoch Kavindele, Chairman of the governing party's Finance Committee said, "we are not happy with Mr Mpande's sentiments because he is a Minister speaking in public against a policy before the final decision has been made by cabinet."
As if to confirm this attitude, in jumped President Frederick Chiluba “Chiluba” redirects here. For the language, see Tshiluba language.
Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba (born April 30, 1943) served as the President of Zambia from 1991 to 2002, when Zambians elected former Vice President Levy Mwanawasa as his successor. , who fired both Dr Mpande and Mr Sejani for what he called "impropriety of office", adding that he would "not tolerate Ministers pursuing agenda which are at variance with those of the Government".
Nevertheless the two ex-deputy Ministers, seemingly undaunted by their sacking sack·ing
A coarse, stout woven cloth, such as burlap or gunny, used for making sacks; sackcloth.
coarse cloth woven from flax, hemp, or jute, and used to make sacks
Noun carried on with their offensive. Mr Mpande argued that, "Government has not yet announced any decision it made about ZCCM. If a position has not been made clear by Government, it follows that the nation should be allowed to debate its privatisation to protect democracy."
Bizarrely enough, hardly a week had passed before President Chiluba called a press conference and declared that ZCCM would not be privatised as a single unit after all. "We want to invite fresh investments into the conglomerate as a whole," he said.
To add to the confusion he mentioned that a group of experts from unnamed Government Ministries were still studying a report on ZCCM's privatisation written by a German business consultancy, Kielbaum, which is widely believed to have generated fierce debate within the Cabinet every time it was tabled for consideration. The report has valued ZCCM as a whole at US$2.2bn. The price tag would be US$1.5bn if copper prices remain at US$0.75 per pound weight. If future potential is excluded all together, ZCCM would be valued at US$557m.
But a reliable source within the Cabinet has informed African Business that the Kielbaum report has been secretly rejected by the Cabinet simply on the grounds that it's recommendations were too controversial. Sources in Government indicate that Chiluba is about to appoint yet another firm to do a study.
President Chiluba has formed his own committee on the ZCCM saga outside the Cabinet. It includes precisely those top executives of ZCCM who want it sold intact.
The whole process, if it can be dignified dig·ni·fied
Having or expressing dignity.
digni·fiedly adv. by that expression, suggests to many analysts that certain sections of the Chiluba Government are far from sincere. One might ask why, given President Chiluba's apparent reversal of his decision, those in support of selling the conglomerate as a whole, like Mr Penza and the ZCCM management, have not lost their jobs.
Opposition figures think there is much more to it than simple governmental protocol. Mr Benjamin Mibenge for example, General Secretary of the former ruling United National Independence Party, said "Dr Mpande and Mr Sejani are sacrificial lambs A sacrificial lamb is a lamb (or metaphorical parallel) killed or discounted in some way (as in a sacrifice) in order to further some other cause. In typical modern usage, it is a metaphorical reference for a person who has no chance of surviving the challenge ahead, but is placed because other Ministers have committed graver offences and the President has been quiet about them."
Former President Kenneth Kaunda Noun 1. Kenneth Kaunda - statesman who led Northern Rhodesia to full independence as Zambia in 1964 and served as Zambia's first president (1924-1999)
Kaunda, Kenneth David Kaunda , was accused of overpaying cooper mine owners when he nationalised them. Now there seems to be a very real danger of the incumbent President accepting too little for them.