MORE than 3,000 ex-miners in Kitwe have vowed never to vote for the ruling Patriotic Front in the 2016 elections because it had failed to honour its campaign promises which included fighting for the benefits of the ex-miners who were discharged on medical grounds and those who were not paid repatriation allowances at Mopani Copper Mines.
Ex-miners chairman William Chola said the ex-miners had resolved that they would not support or vote for the ruling PF in the 2016 elections because it had lamentably failed to deliver on its campaign promises of helping the them regarding various benefits and allowances which they were not given by MCM and other mining companies.
Chola said in an interview in Kitwe yesterday that it was sad that most PF MPs and ministers on the Copperbelt were busy scrambling for contracts from the mining companies, instead of working towards ensuring that ex-miners were paid the benefits which were not given to them by mining companies during privatisation.
“When PF was campaigning in 2011 election campaigns, it promised that it would work hard to help us get benefits for those who were medically discharged and those who were not paid repatriation allowance, but after voting them into office they have forgotten about us, instead they are busy scrambling for contracts in the same mining companies.
“They can’t help us get the benefits and allowances which we want because they fear that the mining companies would grab contracts from them if they started making noise about miners’ benefits. PF campaigned on lies and deceit, hence in 2016, we will also vote them out of government because they have failed to honour the agreement of the 2011 elections of helping us get our money,” Chola said.
He said the leadership of the ex-miners has always been restraining themselves from marching to the city centre because it was not the right way of addressing matters, but warned that if the situation got worse, the ex-miners would march.
“Ex-miners are hurt that they were told lies during the campaigns by PF and so, on many occasions, they have planned to protest by marching to the city centre, but we have restrained them. I tell you, if miners get annoyed, it would be bad,” he said.He also alleged that the ex-miners have been further annoyed by Wusakile member of parliament Richard Musukwa who asked them why only the Kitwe miners been making noise about the benefits of the ex-miners who were discharged on medical grounds and those who were not paid repatriation allowance.”At one time, Musukwa annoyed the ex-miners when he asked why only them in Kitwe talk about the benefits of those discharged on medical grounds and other benefits,” he said.