Africa-Press – Zambia. Leader of the Green Party, Peter Sinkamba has said that he expects President Hakainde Hichilema to revoke all mining licenses issued in national parks and other sensitive ecological zones following the re-establishing of the ministry responsible for the environment.
Mr. Sinkamba said that he also expects the President to repeal all laws that allow mining in ecological zones and repossess all land in forest 27, and elsewhere that was aligned to high-ranking officials.
The Green Party leader who has welcomed the re-establishing a Ministry responsible for the environment is of the view that only when president Hichilema takes these proposed steps will Zambians believe that he is not merely talking on the green agenda but genuinely committed to the cause.
Mr. Sinkamba says he also strongly believes in the green agenda and the re-establishment of the ministry is a great sigh of relief after 10 years without a ministry of the environment which was scrapped off by the PF government and allowed mining in national parks and other sensitive ecological zones.
In 2019, President Lungu signed SI No 62 of 2017 degazetting of the Forest number 27, the only forest remaining in Lusaka and a recharge area for chalimbana and Chongwe rivers.
The Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA) wrote a letter to Lusaka Province Planning Authority and expressed serious concerns regarding this development since Forest Number 27 is a ground water recharge area and also feeds the river systems in the Chalimbana sub-catchment: “degazetting this forest for residential plots will threaten water resource availability as this may result in some water sources drying up. As such, WARMA is considering declaring Forest 27 as a Water Resource Protection Area as provided in section 29(1) and 93(1) of the WRM Act. We write to your office seeking confirmation if indeed Forest Number 27 is degazatted and if there are plans from your Planning Authority to develop this area as depicted in the attached map from Murray Anderson”.
The Unspoilt Lower Zambezi National Park- however new mine coming soon And in February this year, the Court of Appeals of Zambia dismissed an Appeal to stop the proposed Large Scale Open-pit Mine in Lower Zambezi National Park, upholding the High Court’s decision to dismiss the case for Want of Prosecution.
The Decision by the Court of Appeals sitting in Ndola effectively ended any challenges to Mwembeshi Resources’ proposal to open a Large Scale Open-pit Copper mine at the heart of the Lower Zambezi National Park.
In a Judgement delivered by Justice Ngulube on behalf of the three panel Appeals Court bench, the Court ruled that the Appellant had 5 years and had been given numerous opportunities to rectify errors in the Appeal before the High Court but was lax and failed to do so until a change of legal representation in 2019.
The Court was adamant that the Appellant (David Ngwenyama) had been adequately represented by a senior lawyer (State Counsel H.H. Ndhlovu) from 2014 to 2019 before he decided to change Legal Counsel in 2019 and subsequently tried to rectify the errors in the Appeal.
In dismissing the Appeal, the Court of Appeals completely ignored the misconduct and failure to provide adequate representation by the original Appellants Lawyer which the Appellant tried to rectify in 2019 and a four (4) year delay by the High Court to rule on the case, from April 2015 to October, 2019 that was the result of the error in the Appeal Process (failure to file a Record of Appeals) and delay in prosecuting the matter.
The Court of Appeals therefore, followed the High Court in dismissing the Appeal on failure to follow procedure without considering the Appeal on its merits and has faulted the Appellant for failure to prosecute and delays in the Appeal.