Mine tragedy: Lungu demands report

President Lungu
President Lungu speaks with Chieftainess Nkomesha in Petauke on July 18,2015 -Picture by EDDIE MWANALEZA

PRESIDENT Lungu wants a comprehensive report on the underground mine accident that claimed four lives at Mopani Copper Mines (MCM)’s South Ore Body Shaft in Kitwe on Sunday.


Acting President Inonge Wina said President Lungu has asked for a detailed report on the accident to establish what really happened to enable Government to come up with strategies on how to avert accidents in mines.


“President Lungu awaits a report on the tragic accident to know what happened. I have come here to get first-hand information on what really transpired,” Mrs Wina said.


She was speaking in Kitwe yesterday when she visited the funeral homes of the bereaved families of the four miners who died in the accident.
Mrs Wina said President Lungu is saddened by the death and is eager to know the cause of the accident.


She said President Lungu also sent her to find out how MCM and the Mines and Safety Department have mobilised themselves to ensure bodies are retrieved.


Mrs Wina said Government is concerned and will work tirelessly to ensure the bodies are retrieved.
She said their death is a great loss to the nation because they contributed greatly to economic development.


“I understand the pain you feel. These young miners were not only working for their families but they were also working for this nation. They are the ones who steered the wheels of the country’s economy,” Mrs Wina said.


She urged the bereaved families to be strong and not to get frustrated as they wait for the search team to retrieve the bodies.
Meanwhile, relatives to the four miners wept uncontrollably as Mrs Wina visited their homes to console them.


Mrs Wina first visited the funeral house of Abel Munthali in Nkana East before proceeding to that of Honest Mushota, nephew of Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Chishimba Kambwili, where she also found the chief Government spokesperson.


And Mr Kambwili thanked Mrs Wina for taking time off her busy schedule to visit the bereaved families.
“We have seen governments come and go. This is the first time that we are seeing a vice-president visiting bereaved families in a funeral of this nature. You have a loving and motherly heart. Please continue with the work that you are doing,” Mr Kambwili said.


Mr Kambwili, however, said there is need for MCM to quickly retrieve the bodies to enable the families to plan for burial.
“Everytime we wake up, we always have hope that they are going to retrieve the bodies but this is frustrating because we are extremely stressed,” he said.


Mrs Wina later proceeded to Chamboli, where she visited the funeral houses of Emmanuel Kyongola and Arnold Mambwe.
The Acting President was accompanied by Copperbelt deputy permanent secretary Elias Kamanga, Kitwe district commissioner Chanda Kabwe, Kitwe mayor Kelvin Sinyangwe and Patriotic Front (PF) Copperbelt chairperson Stephen Kainga.