YESTERDAY, we published photographs from a investigation linking President Edgar Lungu to a Belarusian oligarch named, Alexander Zingman who has been reported in foreign media as being behind some questionable deals between Russian dealers and African countries.
On those photographs, President Lungu is seen with Defence Permanent Secretary Sturdy Mwale, Zambia Air Force Commander Lt Gen David Muma and Defence attaché at the Zambian Embassy in Moscow, Lt Gen Robert Kampeshi, posing with the said Belarusian businessman. On another photograph, the Belarusian businessman is seen holding the shoulders of our Air Force Commander Lt Gen Muma and PS Mwale while controversial Lusaka businessman Valden Findlay and Lt Gen Kampeshi are looking into the camera.
According to whistleblowers, Mr Zingman, who usually operates under the radar, is the man who brokered a meeting between President Lungu and Alexander Mikheev, the President of Rosoboronexport, which is the sole state intermediary agency for Russia’s exports/imports of defence-related products, technologies and services. We are further told that Mr Zingman is a valuable chain in the relations between Zambia and East Europe, and is believed to have brokered the procurement of helicopters from Russia and the contract for the supply of Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircrafts.
Readers must remember that we reported about these Russian planes and the fact that the Russians had cancelled the contract, despite Zambia already making a huge down payment, on grounds that our government had failed to finance the deal. Our readers must further remember that in October 2018, PS Sturdy Mwale confirmed to journalists that government was buying planes from Russia through the Zambia Air Force, explaining that some of the planes would be used for commercial purposes under the yet to be launched Zambia Airways. What has happened to those planes? It’s not in dispute that we paid as a country, so ndeke zilikuti? Is this the reason why the launch of Zambia Airways is being pushed back?
Now let’s look at the worms that are crawling out of the cane. We are now seeing that the Russian deal that PS Mwale was telling us about had shady middlemen involved. We need answers! In what capacity would the Zambia Air Force Commander, Defence Permanent Secretary and Defence Attaché at the Embassy in Moscow pose for a picture with Mr Zingman and Mr Findlay? Assuming that these Ministry of Defence officials were discussing procurement of the said Sukhoi Superjets or any military supplies. Those are supposed to be classified transactions, what was Findlay doing there? Is he part of the Ministry of Defence? Is he an official at State House? Does the ZAF commander report to this civilian called Findlay? Has the Commander in Chief delegated his Authority to Findlay?
Such dealings with private civilians who are linked to shady deals have the potential to bring the security of a country in jeopardy. As Commander-In-Chief who is also a lawyer, President Lungu must know that shady deals like these can destroy a nation. TIZ is correct to observe that these pictures which are now circulating give a sense that we are under State Capture and State House must explain this. When we ask the question; why is Zambia where it is today? This is the answer.
Now, we are saying we need to have lifestyle audits of these people. The citizens of Zambia must demand a lifestyle audit of the ZAF Commander, Lt Gen David Muma and Defence PS Sturdy Mwale. How can a ZAF Commander, Defence Secretary and Defence PS be found in the same meeting with Valden? What was the discussion? Whose interest was Valden protecting? What about the ZAF Commander? Whose interest was he protecting in that meeting? Whose interest was the Defence PF protecting.
Given these images, we also now want to know how the former ZAF Commander was removed from his position. We were told that he was facing corruption allegations. But the same allegations have been levelled against the current Commander. Gen Muma was summoned by the ACC for questioning regarding the property he owns. Why was he not removed or arrested? Who is protecting him? Are these pictures we are seeing now the reason why the current ZAF commander was promoted instead of being prosecuted?
If we may ask, who owns that luxurious convention centre opposite ZAF Twinpalm base called 3sixty? Has the owner of that facility been investigated? Are our law enforcement agencies fair or they are playing double standards? We are asking these questions because if the person who allegedly owns the residential flats next to 3sixty is in court for corruption allegations, it doesn’t make sense that the owner of 3sixty convention centre has not been investigated.
It’s like we have a set of laws for Zambians who are close to the President and another set of laws for ba kambwanga basala who don’t dine with the powers that be. That’s a very evil way of running a country. People have been prosecuted and sent to prison in this country over bicycles, for stealing television sets as well as for exercising their freedom of expression. But some people are using sole trading companies to win government contracts worth millions and no one is questioning them, just because they are in the top league of ‘Zingmen’.
It’s unfair. So we will ask the questions. We want the Defence PS to tell us if he knows anything about the farm bordering Nickel Mine near Mazabuka. It used to be owned by some muzungu. Who bought that farm, Mr Sturdy Mwale? Is it yours? If so, where did you get the money as a civil servant? What about the 700-hectare farm in Mkushi, do you own it? If so, where did you get the money? Tell us about the the 1,000 Persian cows on that farm, do you know anything about that? Is this the Russian trip that earned you all that money? What’s the relationship between you Mr Mwale and the Mkushi DC Luka Mwamba who seems to be taking care of that Farm? Tell us!
You are a civil servant, aMwale, and we are asking you to explain your wealth to the citizens so that we can clear our suspicions that you are abusing the authority of your office. If you are a clean faithful civil servant, answer the questions that we are asking on behalf of the people. We should not allow our leaders to continue playing Russian Roulette with innocent citizens, killing them, subjecting them to poverty and starvation while they enjoy a high stakes game! Tiulula!