PRESIDENT Lungu says he will use his five-day working visit to the Copperbelt to help avert job losses in the mines and to resolve the challenges that the sector is facing.
And Mr Lungu has warned civil servants, especially the teachers and police officers, against involvement in partisan politics.
President Lungu said it is not true that Government and mine owners have agreed on the plight of workers in the mines.
He said because of this perception, Government has taken steps to resolve the problems in the mines on the Copperbelt.
“The mines have a lot of their own challenges but we want to discuss with the mineworkers’ unions and owners over the laying off of workers if at all there will be any,” President Lungu said.
The President said this at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport yesterday before departure to the Copperbelt for a five-day working visit.
He said there are many outstanding issues on the Copperbelt which need to be resolved at head of State level and that he will be calling on relevant ministers to help resolve the problems.
President Lungu also said he would hold discussions with the mine owners so that solutions can be found as the mine owners are partners with Government.
He said even if someone is wrong, there is need to dialogue because some of the problems like the low prices of copper are not determined by Government.
President Lungu urged mine owners to consider sacrificing just as the workers have been.
Meanwhile, MONICA KAYOMBO and MUBANGA NONDO report that Mr Lungu has said he is on the Copperbelt to find solutions to the problems the country is facing.
Speaking on arrival at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport, the President said: “I am here to meet all those who have problems to discuss with them and find solutions because we all belong to this country Zambia.”
And Mr Lungu has warned civil servants, especially teachers and police officers, against engaging in partisan politics.
“Let me take this opportunity to warn teachers, particularly those in Chingola. You are supposed to be serving the people of Zambia not stealing money from the public service.
“There is no room for party politics in the labour movement. It is either you are with us as Government or you take a political party position,’’ Mr Lungu said.
The President said he will not allow politicians to hijack the labour movement and that he will not hesitate to expose those found wanting.
“I am meeting all those political parties that are interested in meeting me. I am meeting all those labour leaders who are interested in meeting me. I am meeting all mining companies that are interested in meeting me and civil servants. I am throwing an open invitation to you,’’ he said.
The President also apologised to residents who turned up in numbers to welcome him, for arriving late.
The President arrived at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport at about 16:43 hours.
He received a thunderous welcome by residents of the Copperbelt.
Mr Lungu is accompanied by First Lady Esther and his special assistant for press and public relations Amos Chanda.
The President was welcomed by Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Chishimba Kambwili, Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Christopher Yaluma, PF deputy secretary-general Mumbi Phiri and Copperbelt Minister Mwenya Musenge.
And HONE SIAME reports that President Lungu arrived in Kitwe to a thunderous welcome by hundreds of residents who lined the Presidential Road in Ndeke.
The President arrived in Kitwe at 18:30 hours and jubilant residents were on hand to demonstrate their support for him.
President Lungu is expected to inspect development projects in most towns on the Copperbelt.