Intemperate language


It is one thing to argue issues of substance but quite another to use intemperate language against a sitting President.

We have said before and will continue to repeat that vituperative language takes away from otherwise well intended discourse. It instead colours opinion and sidelines the message that may have been intended.

Our politicians must realize that Zambia is a pawn in the larger scheme of economic commerce and trade. We are a dispensable  cheap commodity supplier to be dispensed off at the whim and caprice of the large global mineral traders.

Glencore, for example has decided to suspend operations in Zambia and Congo in order to remove more than 400,000 tonnes  of copper from the market in order to shore up dwindling commodity prices.

This is a decision made at boardroom level in Switerzerland without any consideration to the real effect on the  lives of miners and all those connected in the supply chain to the mine. The prime  motivation is profit and profit alobe.

 Glecore has made the decision in order to slash its debt burden by US$10billion and to issue $2.5billion in shares.

As expected the market responded positively. Within hours of the announcement of the measures to suspend operations in Zambia and  Congo DRC. According to Financial Times shares rose by more than 10 percent.

At the same time Copper prices on the London Stock Exchange fell in early trding with three months copper down more than 2 percent at $5,120 per tonne.

Glencore’s planning is simple, logical and intended for the benefit of the bottom line and share holders interest. The company is issuing $2.5billion news shares, cutting dividends, selling assets and is even contemplating to sell a stake in its agricultural unit.

According to Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg and CFO Steven Kalmin the measures they have taken “Have been designed to sensibly accelerate the leverageing of our balance sheet, maximize future cashflow generation in the current weak commodity price environment and substantially improve our financial and credit metrics, stability and strength in the event of a prolonged weaker pricing environment.”

We are in essence collateral damage.

This grand scheme does not include the worker who is collateral and dispensable to the entire exercise.

That is why it is shocking and quite irreverent that our politicians should freely personalize and attribute global trends to the individual character of the President, to the extent of suggesting the influence of alcohol.

The Financial Times recognizes the negative effect of the global commodity  decline and shares the course Glencore is taking because of the  “rout in commodity markets and the slow down in China”s economy, the second biggest in the world. Prices of copper, a key product for Glencore, hit a six-year low last month.”

They acknowledge that the company shares fell some 54 percent and suffered a first half year loss of $676million.

In contrast we have no such charity for our fellow Zambians because they happen to be political leaders who must be attacked for political gain at all costs.

No. Politics must have some modicum of morality and decency.


Categorized | Editorial

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