President Edgar Lungu’s family in Lusaka’s Kalingalinga compound has bitterly complained that the Head of State has abandoned his relatives since 2011 when he was first elected into political office, and expressed shock that he ignored the funeral of his first cousin Chazingwa Banda who died last week.

And Chazingwa’s uncle, who is also the uncle to President Lungu said the Head of State’s personality had changed since going to State House, whereby he had no time for his relatives.

He explained that the late Chazingwa’s mother kept the President in her house when he was a young boy, but added that the whole family was saddened with the negligence that it was witnessing from the First family now.

The late Chazingwa died on July 16, 2018 in Kalingalinga after an illness and was put to rest on 18 at Leopards Hill Cemetery, as her uncle and aunt complained that they ran out of food while the Head of State did not send any representative to assist.

“The relation with me and that man where we come from, as per tradition, we are brothers. We are not cousins because he is born from a woman and us we are born from a woman who were sisters. His mother was the oldest, my mother was young. So, our complaint is that the man has never visited us ever since he was elected into political office. we think the problem is that he is surrounded by bad people, to the extent that we can’t get closer to him. The problem is that when we shakes hands with him, the moments he shows me his back, then he would have immediately forgotten about me. He has been doing this from the time he become MP (member of parliament). Before he was minister we used to suffer together. We have been together from childhood. We gave him hope and we encouraged him not to give up. When he started campaigning again in 2011 we campaigned with him as family. He could call us, ‘mulikuni welanikuno.’ (where are you, come here) and we would always be there for him,” said the uncle who didn’t want to be named specifically on grounds that he was speaking for the rest of the family.

“Even though we are his relatives, he abandoned us after winning election. So why would he abandon us like that after helping him. In the political arena, he has forgiven his political opponents who fought him nail and tooth, nanga sewo ba banja tilakwanji kuti sanga tikhululukile? (What did we do that you can’t forgive?) Today it is in public domain that he has forgiven Miles Sampa, a man who was willing to do anything to dent his name. A man who insulted him with all the insults there is. He says he has forgiven that man. The question is, what is it that we did that Lungu cannot forgive us? So, you understand the closeness that is there? The man naturally had a heart to give and help, but he has now surprised us. We used to live together with the President. We grew up together with him, he used to come here in Mtendere to ask for help when he was at the University of Zambia.”

And the President’s Aunt said she was shocked to see how the Head of State had changed his heart towards his own family.

“You will find that they are gentle to people, but what they are conceiving in the heart is what is deadly. Musaone kufewa kwala, musanyemphekewe (don’t be fooled by that humbleness). We have tried to go through the First lady but she doesn’t have any kind words for us. We have tried Kaizer (Zulu) but they are just working together to block us. Amos Chanda, Freedom Sikazwe they all work in conjunction. The President is surrounded by evil people. So to people like us the family members, we know him better. There must be strict instructions not to allow and entertain any family member from the Presidents side. May God deliver them,” she said.

“And we are all surprised by the Lungu that we see today, he is not the Lungu we used to see. Lungu wamuona lelo ni ‘chimvwili-mvwili’. Ula mwana ekula namtima wabwino ngako, msaza wangu wala enzi wa wanzi ngako. Lomba waonongeka, kapena emuchita mankhwala (Lungu grew up with a good heart, and he loved to give, but he has been destroyed, maybe they did medicine for him). Pano pamalilo mwaonapo chinji chakuti nimalilo ya sister wa President? Chazingwa waikiwa monga ni imbwa vonse venze vosenga kuyambila unga, ndiyo, nkhuni na bokosi, Bokosi yosonkhezana monga chagwa ni President lini. Pamene Chagwa ali President. (The Lungu that you see today is a shadow of his former self. My young brother Chagwa had a good heart, now he has been destroyed. Maybe they have given him charms to ignore his family. Look at this funeral of his sister, are you seing anything to show that the person who has died is the cousin to the President? We had to beg for everything from mealie-meal, relish, firewood and the coffin as though Lungu our brother is not President.) We are asking questions. Is this the true man we know? What has happened to him? And I am telling you, just do an independent research and see whether Mr Lungu tolerates even his former close friends.”

The relatives expressed worry that the President would need them when the ministers he was enjoying life with abandon him.

“The people that go to enjoy at State House are people such as the ministers, who never even help him when he really needed help. Fake relatives are enjoying at the expense of the real relatives. Some government officials know that family members of the President side are suffering, and they sympathise with the real family members although they don’t want to show it. The President was once kept by the mother of this woman who has died. They were kept together. We cannot call each other cousins because we grew up together. But the President couldn’t come for the funeral. He couldn’t send any help or any envoy to say that he was busy. He has literally decided to ignore his own family. His own brothers and sisters today are suffering. The biological sister to the President is in Jack compound and she is suffering. It is a sorry site to see the house of the Presidents sister, it is as if Chagwa is not the President,” they lamented.

“The one who died was the sister to Chagwa. Ngati ni wenya lekani akane kuti omuziba lini Chazingwa mulongosi wake, mwana wa anyina a Mikilina. ( If we are lying, let the President say that he doesn’t know his ‘sister’ Chazingwa, the daughter to his aunt Mikilina). Two weeks ago we saw captions that President was visiting a cadre. A cadre sure and you can’t visit someone you spent your life with? Look, even [former America president] Barrack Obama had to visit his step-sister in Kenya because he understands that those are blood relations. All the other former presidents take very good care of their family members. Nanga weo Chagwa, Chakuloba mumtima ni chinji (What has entered your heart Chagwa?).”

They added that several of the president’s biological siblings were suffering while other relatives were sick.

“Our relative sure has never visited or helped anyone including his biological brothers in Chamba Valley and sisters. This lady who died had been sick for a year and the President never visited or helped in any way, and yet he knew that he had a sister who was sick. Soti Chiyakene chatudandaula abanja nikaliye luba nichakuti anyina atontho niolwala ngako kuno kumtendere aSeleniya. Koma pempho niyakuti a Chagwa chinjani. Yanganani banja yanu, mulopa wanu. Muone kwamwafuma, muonenso kwamukuya. Ndiye mau yangu, ndiye kulila kwasu. Tiloleshenkoni tapapata. Kwamweo a Esther tikuti, banabanu bopezamo, Jane Willy na Aggy talela, taphunzisa. (And another thing that we are complaining about is that the aunt in Mtendere Seleniya is sick. We are begging you Chagwa to change and take care of your blood family. To you Esther, we have taken care of your Children whom we found, Jane, Willy and Aggy, now take care of us too),” complained the relatives.

Both President Lungu’s spokesperson Amos Chanda and Presidential Affairs Minister Freedom Sikazwe could not comment as their phones went unanswered by press time yesterday.