Luapula PS snubs bishops

LUAPULA Province Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo has refused to meet a delegation of Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) bishops and other clergy who wanted to have a meeting with him over illegal mining of manganese.

The bishops had made prior arrangements to meet Mr Kasolo over illegal manganese mining and they even gave him the programme for their visit to Mansa.

The CCZ bishops and other clergy wanted to meet Mr Kasolo so that they could learn more about illegal mining and share ideas on how the vice could be addressed and help the local people to benefit from natural resources.

The high powered delegation consisted of bishops, reverends, evangelists and other clergy from Lusaka and Mansa.

Local Council of Churches in Mansa chairperson Teddy Sichinga confirmed to journalists yesterday after several attempts to have the meeting with Mr Kasolo.

“The PS was in the office, but his secretary refused and said he was busy and could not manage to see the delegation,” Father Sichinga said. Fr Sichinga said Mr Kasolo was avoiding the meeting because most of the mines which are operating in Luapula were owned by some senior government officials.

When Fr  Sichinga and church leaders yesterday made a third attempt to meet Mr Kasolo, they did not find him and the building was abandoned.

He said one person was assigned to the premises to advise them to go see the district commissioner.

“Even today [Thursday], we went there so that we could meet the PS but we found that from the office of the provincial minister to the junior officers, they were all out of the office,” he said.Fr Sichinga advised government officials to be ready to meet stakeholders because they were in their positions to serve people. Efforts to get a comment from Mr Kasolo failed as his mobile phone was not reachable.

On Wednesday, the delegation arrived at Mr Kasolo’s office just after 08:00 hours in readiness to meet him, but he was not in the office .