The People’s Transformation Party (Petra) has given Malawi government and Paladin Africa Limited 14 days from Monday this week to explain why the uranium mining deal cannot be renegotiated to benefit Malawians.
Petra has also given the two parties a 10-day ultimatum to disclose the health facilities Malawian employees working at Kayelekera Uranium Mine in Karonga are referred to when they are exposed to radiation.
But government has dismissed Petra’s ultimatums, arguing: “Where was Petra when the Kayelekera deal was negotiated?”
Addressing a news conference in Blantyre on Monday during the launch of the third liberation movement for Malawi which is economic independence, Petra president Kamuzu Chibambo warned that if government and Paladin ignore the ultimatums, the party will stop the operations at Kayelekera.
Chibambo said: “We give Paladin and the Government of Malawi 14 days from today to show reason why the deal cannot be renegotiated for the benefit of the people of Malawi for a 40 percent stake and selling rights in respect thereof. We in Petra do not believe a single bit that Kayelekera Mine in Karonga is a loss-making venture.
“Within the same 10 days, we want to know from Paladin and Malawi Government as to which health facility our brothers and sisters are being taken for treatment whenever they are exposed to radiation which we know is happening. Is the treatment adequate?”
But Minister of Mining John Bande in an interview on Tuesday trashed Petra’s suggestions, saying the Joyce Banda administration was not there when the Kayelekera contract was negotiated.
He said the new administration should be given more time to put things in order.
Said Bande: “The PP government has separated mining from Energy Ministry and the minister is studying all the mining contracts on the ground, including Kayelekera.
“Giving us ultimatums is not good for the country. The Joyce Banda administration should be given time to sort out things like those.”
Other bodies such as the African Forum and Network on Debt and Development and legislator for Thyolo Thava Lifred Nawena also called for the renegotiation of the Kayelekera contract, but Paladin Energy Limited general manager for international affairs Greg Walker said his company is not ready to renegotiate the contract since Malawi already committed itself to only review it after 10 years.
During the news conference, Chibambo called on Malawians to wake up and stage a revolution to get the country out of poverty. Chibambo said Malawi needs a third liberation of economic independence.