Serenje, Sunday (December 17, 2023)
CHIEFTAINESS Serenje of the Lala people of Serenje District, Central Province, has taken a swipe at manganese processing plants that are using dry cassava in place of coal, as a source of energy to process manganese ore.
The Traditional Leader said the plants have been buying cassava at low prices after promising to pay better perks.
Chieftainess Serenje said hunger has since hit her area because her subjects have sold out cassava meant for household consumption.
This came to light at a Traditional Leaders Caucus in Serenje District, Central Province, organised by Centre for Environment Justice (CEJ) which is Implementing a Resilient Initiatives for Sustainable Environment (RISE) Project, supported by Bread for the World (BFTW) Germany.
“Cassava issue plus poor salaries in processing plants is wrecking havoc in my Chiefdom. I have since recorded rising suicide cases because of mistreatment by investors. They are humble when coming but very harsh after investing. If we knew earlier, we would have rejected their proposals to invest in our Chiefdoms,” she said.
But Centre for Environment Justice (CEJ) Board Member Emmanuel Mutamba said Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) only allowed processing plants to use coal from Sinazongwe District, Central Province.
And Serenje District Commissioner Paul Masuwa said Government wings will investigate the matter to ensure compliance to set operational standards.
“Let us work together. Do not hide information but bring it to me as your Servant and a Representative of the President in Serenje. We have relevant wings of Government to sort out such things and some can be arrested,” he said.