By KETRA KALUNGA
THE United Party for National Development (UPND) in Central province has condemned Patriotic Front (PF) youths in Central province for staging a solidarity march as appreciation to President Edgar Lungu for what they called Black Mountain Empowerment.
UPND provincial youth chairperson, Milner Mwanakampwe, urged PF youths not to abuse President Lungu because he was not only their party but a national President.
The PF youth staged a solidarity march in Kabwe on Thursday to register their appreciation to President Edgar Lungu for giving them the Black Mountain as a way of empowering them.
In a speech of appreciation read by PF provincial deputy youth chairperson, Clement Kalifungwa on behalf of the provincial youth chairperson, Alick Boka, youths said the Black Mountain would alleviate unemployment levels in Kabwe.
Ms Boka appealed to the Head of State to extend the gesture to Serenje, Mkushi, Kapiri Mposhi and Mumbwa.
“Mr. President Sir, we, the youths of Central province, Kabwe district, in particular, would like to register our appreciation and thanks to you the Father and the Republican President of this great Nation of Zambia for the great empowerment of Black Mountain to the youths of Kabwe,” Ms Boka said.
But Mwanakampwe said the Head of State could not give Black Mountain to youths because it was owned by EPL, a private company.
“The so-called Black Mountain is a fenced area owned by private individuals called EPL and so the first question that begs answers is, has President Lungu revoked the ownership of Black Mountain for him to donate it to youths of Kabwe. You can only donate what you have,” Mr Mwanakampwe said.
He explained for youths to fully benefit from the Black Mountain, the Government should engage the owners, EPL and then give small licences to cooperatives formed by the youths who were not politically inclined.
“The Black Mountain should first be surrendered by ELP to the ministry of Mines and then the ministry should have given small licenses to cooperatives formed by youths who are not politically inclined, youths in Kabwe who need jobs,” Mr Mwanakampwe said. The UPND provincial youth chairperson urged PF youths in Kabwe and the province at large to protect the name of President Lungu by avoiding being involved in any illegality.
A group of youths that have been working on the Black Mountain and represented by four cooperatives have also refuted claims by PF youths that the Head of State had given them the Black Mountain arguing that it was a private property belonging to EPL.