“There was an unsolicited proposal from AVIC International to develop a brand new Natural Resources Development College (NRDC) on a 1,662.23 hectare piece of land in Mumbwa, with a view to turning the current NRDC land into a commercial city within a city,” the Chief Government Spokesperson Honourable Kampamba Mulenga tells us.
She refutes reports that the government has sold the Natural Resources Development College to Chinese investors.
“AVIC has not returned with any concrete proposal, and therefore, government has not made any decision on the matter. AVIC, in their earlier proposal, stated that the proposed new campus is meant to offer a conducive learning environment for students,” Mulenga states.
But in the same statement, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting contradicts government’s position by exposing how excited and decided the State already is with the purchase offer from the Chinese.
“Government is cognisant of the fact that NRDC was built in 1965 to cater for a population of 300 students. Today, the population of students has swelled to 2,024 and is likely to reach 4,000 by 2019. Additionally, the college infrastructure which sits on a land size of only 304 hectares is surrounded by residential areas, namely; Mutendere, PHI and Avondale making it difficult for Government to expand the campus. AVIC, on the other hand, proposed that once developed, the new NRDC will be self-sustaining as it will engage in income generating activities because of the massive land; that students will be able to undertake various agricultural practicals as compared to now when students have a limited number of practicals due to limited space. AVIC envisages an increased number of bed spaces once the new campus is built,” Mulenga said.
She added that, “I wish to inform members of the public that Government is currently awaiting a detailed proposal from AVIC and the public will be informed on the decision that will be made.”
We are wondering what decision Zambians will be waiting for, considering that the minister has explicitly informed the public that her government is eager to hear from AVIC again so that they can conclude the sale of NRDC.
In this statement, it was easy to detect a corrupt motive behind the AVIC deal. If the PF was a transparent government, the minister would have made a totally different statement. She would have announced to the public that government is looking for land developers to build a “commercial city within a city”. Honourable Kampamba would have announced that ‘so far we have only received one unsolicited proposal from AVIC, but we are calling on other interested land developers, especially Zambians, to come forward and submit their plans for NRDC’.
If the minister had put it that way, citizens would still have known that the invitation for proposals was a sham, but she would have, at least, covered up the criminality. However, the PF government doesn’t have any integrity. Bali sebana kale, balundapofye!
Where on earth does an investor make decisions on behalf of Cabinet? “It was an unsolicited proposal from AVIC”, really? So, AVIC engineers were driving along Great East Road one afternoon, stopped over at NRDC to tour the hostels and decided that the campus was too small to accommodate all the students? Is that what happened? Or did the AVIC CEO call the college principal and asked him to submit the enrolment statistics for next year, including the number of hectares students needed for their practicals? How did AVIC’s proposal coincide so timely with government’s desperation to relocate the institution?
And as if that is not enough of a red flag, other ministers are speaking the same AVIC language. The Minister of National Development Planning was on radio to add voice to the debate, and said exactly the same language that AVIC and Honourable Kampamba was using. He was saying NRDC needs to relocate to the 1500 hectors piece of land, which coincidently, AVIC has already prepared and offered.
“There has been no agreement between government and AVIC on the sale of NDRC but maybe there are discussions surrounding that. We are simply looking for ways in which we can find solutions for our people and in finding solutions; we need to make some harsh decisions. So we are saying can we take it to somewhere where it can fit on 1,500 hectors,” said Chitembe.
When you read the arguments from the ministers and the proposal from AVIC, you would be excused for thinking that the Chinese company attends Cabinet meetings; it seems to know better than anyone else what piece of land government intends to develop. The proposal from AVIC is on point and at the right time. So how possible is it that our government will allow competitive bidding for the development of the NRDC land?
Countrymen and women, we need to stand up and protect our natural resources before it is too late. The nature of theft in the PF government looks like it comes from a criminal think tank. The criminality in our government is well coordinated. The PF does not care about their reputation anymore, that is why it doesn’t bother them that despite being in power for less than 7 years, they have made more scandals than the 27 years of Kaunda’s one party rule.
Please, if our intention is to dismantle and auction the country’s assets, we might as well ask Hammer & Tongues auctioneers to come and do it professionally, so that Zambians can also stand a chance of grabbing a piece of this country. The auction sale that the PF is conducting is favouring foreigners. We have no doubt that if AVIC offered government to construct a new State House at their expense elsewhere, President Lungu will gladly agree to relocate and leave Plot One to the investors, in exchange.