President Edgar Lungu is surrounded by compulsive “smilers, hand-clappers and boxers” who are not advising him appropriately, says former Minister of Transport and Communications William Harrington.

And Harrington says he is reliably informed that the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) has not approved the controversial Kingsland City and Zambia Air Force (ZAF) projects in Forest Reserve No. 27.

In a statement, Harrington complained that the Head of State was continuously surrounded by people who are not doing much to assist him in the governance of the country.

“The statement recently made by President Edgar Chagwa Lungu regarding some major developments in Forest Number 27 is ill-advised and un-researched because he is surrounded by compulsive ‘smilers, hand-clappers and boxers,’ who are not helping to avoid statements that border on contempt of court and are subjudice as in the matter of the Lusaka East local Forest Reserve Number 27. President Lungu is quoted as having said that development of Kingsland City and Zambia Air Force (ZAF) has caused no environmental harm and further that he was happy that the fears that the environment had been jeopardized by these projects had been allayed. These public officers and so-called presidential advisors should have been fair on the President because he should have been advised that the matter of ZAF and Kingsland Developments has been appealed against, and the matter is coming up in the Supreme Court of Zambia at end of February, 2020,” Harrington stated.

He further disclosed that ZEMA had apparently not approved the controversial Kingsland City and ZAF projects in Forest Reserve 27.

“I am also reliably informed that ZEMA has not approved the projects. ZEMA in its project letter has laid out clear conditions prior to any developments taking place. I am informed that none of the conditions set out by ZEMA have been complied with by the developers. One of the most critical conditions is that there should be no soak-aways constructed. This is to avert any contamination of the underground water system, which serves consumers in the Chalimbana, Chongwe and the greater city of Lusaka. It is very unfortunate, therefore, that advisors to our humble President have allowed him to be seen to be endorsing the illegalities that have taken place in the controversial Forest Number 27,” stated Harrington.