In a press statement released today, the Vedanta Must Return Community Campaign Movement affirmed its unwavering commitment to hold peaceful protests across the Copperbelt Province on the 25th of August, despite being denied a permit by the Copperbelt Division Police.
The movement, which represents a coalition of organizations throughout the Copperbelt Province, had submitted a letter on the 8th of August, notifying local authorities of its plans to conduct simultaneous peaceful protests. The denial of the police permit has not deterred their determination to raise their voices for change.
The movement’s spokesperson stated that their intention to protest stems from a genuine desire to address the challenges faced by the community due to the non-operational status of the KCM and MOPANI mines. With over a thousand members set to participate in the protests, they are unified in seeking a resolution to the issues that have caused extreme hardship for the local population.
Amid concerns of increased unemployment and delayed salaries, the movement underscores its belief that the peaceful protests serve as a crucial means to bring attention to the plight of hundreds of young people, women, and miners who have been grappling with poverty.Despite the permit setback, the movement remains resolute. Members are on standby as they work toward further discussions with the Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Jack Mwiimbu, to find a way to enable the peaceful protests on the designated date.
The movement also appeals to the Republican President, His Excellency Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, to intervene in the matter. Given his background as a seasoned negotiator and businessman, they hope he can expedite the resolution process and bring relief to the people of the Copperbelt.
Highlighting Vedanta resources’ previous commitments to recapitalize KCM and inject funds into the region, the community members express their determination to proceed with the protests at various locations, including Cabinet Offices in Ndola, and in the towns of Mufulira, Chingola, and Chililabombwe on the 25th of August.
Chishala Mwamba, Movement Coordinator, emphasized the importance of these protests in bringing attention to the community’s challenges and their hopes for a better future.