The proposed demonstration at Paladin’s Kayelekera uranium mine in northern district of Karonga has been cancelled by the organisers.
Two small local nongovernment organisations, Karonga Youth for Justice and Development (KYJD) and Karonga Business Community, had proposed holding a peaceful demonstration near Karonga from November 14 to 17, during which protestors would blockade the M26 public highway, which is an access route to the Kayelekera mine.
The protest would have been held over allegations that Paladin had failed to honour its social development commitments to the community.
However, the miner Paladin Energy said on Monday that following a meeting of the community groups on November 11, a decision was taken to cancel the proposed demonstration.
In a written statement, KYJD said that following meetings with the Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Energy and Mining, and meetings with senior representatives of Paladin, the KYJD have understood that they were “misinformed and that the claims were not a true reflection of what Paladin had agreed to carry out for the people of Karonga.”
Nyasa Times reported recently that a top government official was soliciting bribery from Paladin and after being turned down, incited people of Karonga to demonstrate against the miner.
Paladin CEO John Borshoff said that while the planned protest would not have had any material effect on the Kayelekera operations, the company was nevertheless pleased that the demonstrations had been called off.
“It is unfortunate that this should have occurred in the first place, but local organisations involved have reacted graciously and responsibly, and I thank them for that,” Borshoff said.