The opposition UPND has questioned the over K23 million worth of assets reported to have been declared by President Edgar Lungu in his presidential nomination papers.
According to papers submitted to the Electoral Commission of Zambia, President Lungu declared K23.7 million as his net worth, becoming the third richest politician contesting in the August polls.
Records show that in 2015, President Lungu declared a meager K2.5 million and then PF Chairperson for Elections Sylvia Masebo revealed that Mr Lungu could not raise the nomination fee and it took Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda to bail him out.
In the latest list of declared assets, UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema is again topping the list with K73.16 million in assets while his running mate Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba is second with K31.8 million in net assets.
President Lungu is third with K23.7million while his running mate Inonge Wina declared K3 million in assets.
But UPND Spokesman Charles Kakoma said President Lungu is clearly been doing well for himself over the past 18 months.
“While the quality of life for the majority of the Zambian people has been worsening, he has increased his personal wealth by a staggering amount since January last year,” Mr Kakoma said.
“In the recent declaration of his assets during nomination filing he has revealed an astonishing increase in his wealth to a reported K23.7 million (K23.7 billion old currency). This is a considerable sum to accumulate in such a short space of time, especially coming at a time of complete economic meltdown for both big and small businesses in Zambia, many of which have had to shut down operations and lay off their workers.”
He said with an official annual salary of K447,559, or K37,296.58 per month, it would appear that Mr. Lungu seems to be the only Zambian who has learnt the art of business within such a short period of time in his life, especially given the difficult operating environment in Zambia.
“Let us assume for a minute that Mr Lungu has not touched his salary, after 18 months he would probably have saved K671,338.50 in his account. If only he was able to achieve the same results for our country, i.e grow GDP of at least 20%; we would have been at ease as he would have saved thousands of jobs that have been lost within a short space of time.”
He said the presidential salary has more than doubled under PF and allowances have increased by huge margins and yet still his net worth from these hefty salaries and allowances are nothing compared to what he has declared within a short period of time in office.
“As he is amassing wealth, the students have no meal allowances, the teachers are still owed millions in retirement benefits and thousands of miners have lost their jobs. We also have civil servants salaries being delayed.”
He said, “The question thus is, stopping short of saying Lungu played abracadabra with his money, how did Lungu manage to amass so much wealth in 18 months? Did he stop by the traffic lights to collect one of those little flyers with messages like “If you want to find your lost wallet…. contact so and so?” Your guess is as good as ours.”