Simon Allison from the Mail and Guardian writes that Zambia’s president is building a house on a luxury golf estate — in eSwatini, the nation formerly known as Swaziland.

The plans for the double-storey mansion were leaked on social media earlier this week, raising concerns about why President Edgar Lungu is buying property abroad, and who exactly is paying for it.

Maybe Lungu just needs a break: according to its website, the Nkonyeni Lodge & Golf Estate offers investors the chance to “rediscover what your life should be about. What you’re passionate about. What you’ve already forgotten. To remember the joy of living in the moment.”

Zambia’s information minister, Dora Siliya, confirmed the planned residence does indeed belong to Lungu, and said the land on which it is being built was a gift from eSwatini’s King Mswati III.

“These are normal practices when the president travels, that various gifts are given in various forms, and in this case it was land that was given to the president, and this land was processed and awarded to the president, so there’s nothing sinister about that, because I do know that people like to create stories when there are no stories … it is very normal,” she said.

Except it’s not normal. In most democracies, gifts given to the president belong to the state, not the individual. In the United States, for example: “A tangible gift of more than minimal value accepted for reasons of protocol or courtesy may not be kept as a personal gift, however, but is considered accepted on behalf of and property of the United States.”

On Wednesday, the plot thickened: the Times of Swaziland reported that Lungu’s plot was not a gift from King Mswati III, but is owned by private company Inyatsi Properties Limited. The deeds registry states the plot was bought by Inyatsi last year. Inyatsi is run by businessman Michelo Shakantu, accused by Zambian media last year of holding shares in Swazi Mobile on behalf of Lungu.

Lungu’s home in eSwatini has stirred up controversy in Zambia.

“My questions are: How can he afford to build such a structure in a foreign country?” said Laura Miti, executive director of Alliance for Community Action, a Zambian advocacy organisation. “With foreign reserves around zero, how is he externalising money? Then, can a small country like Swaziland afford to give away land?

“With no access to information law, we can only imagine what we do not know about this government.”

Mail and Guardian

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60 COMMENTS

  1. We live in the Google age. There are many eyes watching. Harry Kalaba, thanks for at least walking out but no thanks for not being helpful by spilling the beans.

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    • Mushota, prove its his money? In fact, let him publish the proof. The issue here is that he was travelling there for state affairs but in fact private matters. Why have the stories changed. A clean tramsaction will always have one story. Any dirt transaction will always multiple versions of the story.

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    • Mushota, as a matter of fact we want the president to be audited. Can Parliament request a global foresinic audit and the president and his government with results published directly to the Zambian people. The truth needs to come out. “Zambia is not a personal business. The office of President is servant of the people not owne of the country.” Zambian funds must be respected at all times.

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    • Lungu, koswe asking us to invest back home whilst he’s the opposite. Ka Chakolwa.

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    • Our beloved president has his heart planted elsewhere. The good book says: “Where your treasure is, that’s where your heart shall be also.”

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    • I miss Task Force.
      Next president shall form Task Force to take all ministers and PSs working under PF government for fast track investigation and trial.

      Anybody found wanting shall be sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor.

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  2. Zambia is in trouble. We thought the corruption that occurred in the 90s was bad but the group is here to finish the country and leave it completely broke.

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    • We have ourselves to blame. You can’t have an embezzler for a president and entrust him with treasury of a nation! what do you expect. Lungu is an unreasonable thief who has no heart for this country. To him being president is about eating and letting everyone else look after himself/herself. He respects no laws, he feels he himself is the law. He is at the helm of a very poor country and he goes on a tour of the USA with a huge entourage chattering planes and hiring limousines. Now he buys land in foreign country and starts building a mansion! What recklessness! Is this guy normal? King Mswati never gave a gift of land, THAT IS A BIG LIE as stated in the Swazi Times. That country is too small to be giving such a big portion of land as a gift to a president coming from a country with…

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    • Nowonder each time we see Sikazwe and special assistant for corruption at state house Kaized Zulu exposs their big tummies in front of children in Swaziland, it means they have obtained the masters land. Now this boy Amos Chanda special secretary for corrupt deals at state house did he learn anything in his jurnalism about politicians accepting gifts? I think Lungu is the most corrupt not Kambwili. Dora the defender of corruption had the audacity to embarrass Lungu even more.

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  3. Our rich president. Can he tell us what other luxury “gifts” his received to date? While the Zambia becomes broke everyday and the poor become poorer. Zambians deverse to know.

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    • flag Alternative Facts Fake News S**thole Countries Social Mobility Chinese Zambia Police Reservists Corruption scandals: Ambulances Fire Trucks Mukula Trees Ndola-Lusaka Rd Malawi Maizegate Fuelgate Swaziland landgate Zesco Loans

      You’ve got a point there @Chama about what other ‘gifts’ have been received by this same president, since Dora Madumbo Siliya alludes to ‘this is normal’, and she is giving an impression of many other ‘gifts’ that are in other forms than land.

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    • Lungu will go out badly. Mark my words, what will follow him after he is out of the top job will be worse than what followed Frederick Chiluba after he left power. He will have himself to blame.

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  4. Comment:Humble president of lusaka,luapula,northern, copperbelt ,muchinga and eastern province he is busy rooting our resources.clap for him you.

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  5. flag Alternative Facts Fake News S**thole Countries Social Mobility Chinese Zambia Police Reservists Corruption scandals: Ambulances Fire Trucks Mukula Trees Ndola-Lusaka Rd Malawi Maizegate Fuelgate Swaziland landgate Zesco Loans

    The only people who don’t think this isn’t ‘normal’ but it is corruption all day long are the many sleepy and IQ’d Zambians. The problem is Lungu and his minions think because they are in government entrusted with the custody of national resources, they believe (wrongly of course) that they are entitled to stealing and abusing these resources. To them this is normal, they can enrich themselves at will and unabated. The sad part is Zambians who are supposed to make them accountable also believe the same thing, not realising that the job of a president is a public service that should not be the highest paid job in the land, and it should never be used to steal public resources.

    He needs to be kicked out and locked up for corruption.

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    • @Alternative Facts News. I can’t put it any better. THE FACT IS ZAMBIANS ARE DULL. IMAGINE SOMEBODY STEALING LIKE THIS lUNGU IS DOING AND DOCILE GULLIBLE ZAMBIANS ARE BUSY CLAPING AND CHEERING HIM! WHAT A PEOPLE. “ATI, BAUME ABA”.

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  6. All that we are seeing in Zambia is ” a prophesy fulfilled “. ECL told you before he became president that he had NO VISION for Zambia. But what happened? It was dununa, Ifintu ni Lungu, Pamaka bra bra bra! Now you see. Muzanya manzi.

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    • Ati muzanya manzi… isn’t that what the cholera episode in this whole saga was all about???

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  7. Keep your eyes and ears open fellow citizens. The tipping point can’t be far away.

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  8. I think all the money that the President is using to build a house is from government income. The president wants to become rich. He wants to leave Zambia in a bad position and wants to live a luxurious life in Swaziland. He is following the footsteps of Former president Robert Mugabe. When there used to be a problem in Zimbabwe Mugabe and family used to flee to Dubai.
    Tell the President to start paying off the debts otherwise our economy will struggle more and more. Start by paying a little amount and then start paying the big amounts. Our debts are in billions. If we start paying 2 billion per year we will have a good economy plus organisations like IMF would also support us. Reduce the fuel prices. The economy is struggling Mr president. You are our Excellency. We voted for you for…

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    • EFF must come to Zambia and conduct clinics on how to hold the Executive accountable.

      Our parliament is full of cowards!

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  9. So, in short:-

    – Dora Siliya – PF-Govt Information minister, has clearly informed us and admitted that all these shocking despicable scandals are a ‘normal’ occurrence in Fugitive Lungu’s PF-Govt, and are just a tip of an iceberg.

    – Fugitive Lungu has told us he has no vision for Mother Zambia, and repeatedly told us “uubomba mwibala alya mwibala” and has gone on to PRACTICE what he is preaching at a grand scale.

    Therefore, this is sufficient grounds to impeach Lungu. House of Parliament, where are you?

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  10. This chap is a foreigner with no heart for zambia.Zambians we are dull *****s.fi respect too much.

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  11. This one will go down in history as a visionless president who occupied state house and operated like a mafia boss. Its heart rending how the profile of country has regressed amongst nations with a president that is rotten to the core in corruption and bad governance. A true example of how NOT to rule an African country.

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  12. KEEP ON WRITING AND COMPLAINING U DOSILES ,HERE IN WEST AFRICA SUCH A MAN WOULD BE IMPEACHED IMMEDIATELY BUT ZAMBIANS AH..COWARDS , NOTHING WILL COME OUT OF THIS STATE HOUSE HAS DEFENDED ALREADY AND WILL DEFEND AGAIN LIFE CONTINUES TILL 2021, HH PLEASE EMULATE JULIUS MALEMA,GANG UP WITH MWILI AND TAKE PF TO TASK

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  13. Reading the various comments make some of us sick as it cleanly proves KK right when he called us stupid *****s .We are passionate on negative issues Ba kolwe ukusekana ifipato and completely silent and blind to the reality that evil forces dont want Africans to unite.
    They want used to continue fighting each other while they repopulate Africa and steal our wealth.Wake up before you end up like the Aborigines.Extict or another Libya.
    .

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  14. Our Edgar Changwa Lungu is a foreigner at heart. Give me proof that he cares even slightly about the country he is presiding over?

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  15. It’s all a question of how much he wants to haul out of Zambia before the sun sets on him.

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  16. We have always had dictator presidents: KK, FTJ, RB and the incumbent did/do not want to leave presidence voluntarily. Mwanawasa & Sata we don’t know as they did not finish their terms. Emulate Botswana and not Burundi, Uganda, DRC, Rwanda etc.

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  17. There is no problem in building his house in Swaziland . You’ve all mind up your minds to say he is going to use stolen money. Surly are you been fair to the President. Can someone prove to me that its stolen money than just yapping.

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  18. preparing where to flee to when his time and brutality is over he knows what will follow. By the way it looks like the mansion has provision for servants quarters for Kampyongo, Kaizer, Amos and Kanganja. Nkandla at its best. Will he pay back the money?

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  19. Zambians ubukopo, l an ordinary Zambian have bought a house in South Africa Randburg from my humble retrenchment payment from Zccm, what of a minister, MP or president? This tendency of accusing whoever is president to have stolen have made most Zambians stop thinking. Bambuli mulebomba than this witch hunt we are witnessing nowadays. HH and many others have invested elsewhere unless you can prove that the man has stolen otherwise mulebosa fye. Sue him if you have facts.

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    • Shut up you victim of xenophobia. We are talking about a president who buys property using whatever money but says the property was merely a gift. What is he hidding. Is your so called house in S.A. a gift from Zuma? Then you also have something to explain to Julius Malema.

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  20. UPND, HH built a mansion for himself and for a judge on the CONCOURT! I have a mansion in RSA and HH has a mansion too! Do you think when you are a president you cannot build a house anywhere? The position of the president gives you so many opportunities to build wherever you can just like the Presidency of HH gives him opportunity to get land from all Southern Province chiefs anytime anywhere! How has HH acquired over 1,000 hectares of land in Chief Mukuni’s area (sorry in Namwala?) Because he is Tonga HaRight?

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    • Whoever you are. HH is not president of Zambia and does not have to declare anything he does. The first issue is he went into this transaction as “president of Zambia” not Mr. Lungu. Secondly is how the whole transaction happened. Thirdly, its not showing the public full proof on all documentation on how he acquired it and where he intends to get the money to build.

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    • Shut up you victim of xenophobia. We are talking about a president who buys property using whatever money but says the property was merely a gift. What is he hidding. Is your so called house in S.A. a gift from Zuma? Then you also have something to explain to Julius Malema.

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  21. If I lose Ha5 times my HaOpponent doesn’t become a dictator because he beat me! Childish!

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  22. @Kapoma your reasoning is shallow. It is unethical to secretly receive personal gift by virtue of the office you hold.

    How did the King give away private land? Land owned by a company with contracts in Zambia. Have you not heard of conflict of interest?

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  23. O.k, this doesn’t look good, but I honestly think ECL didn’t buy this plot with cash. I believe the gift version – why? ECL is frankly a lovable guy! If you saw how he performed at the Reed dance, and how KING mswati followed up with a visit to Zambia, you will have to agree that Mswati and Lungu ” hit it off” – just like the pictures with kenyatta, the rwandan president ( pics of Kagame and Lungu at the rwandan airport looked so cool), and how about the Angolan President – even giving citizens of the 2 countries a ‘ no – visa ‘ visiting protocol.
    You’d better accept Lungu for his ” loveability’ – it is a bit like late mandela’s.

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  24. A great plan. Have a house ku Swaziland where to run when the corruption cases are brought up after presidency. Good plan indeed.

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  25. “With foreign reserves around zero….” Really??? Proves this is a useless story and is coming from known anti-ECL circles.

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  26. We are living in end of time,some of these people are there to fullfil the Bible,people will be heart less the love of many will grow called.GOD CREATED PHARAOH AND GAVE EGYPT FOR MANY YEARS,ONLY TO COME AND SHOW HIS PEOPLE HIS POWERS ON HIM,SOME Of THESE PEOPLE ARE HERE TO FULLFIL THE BIBLE,LET HE WHO HAVE EYES UNDERSTAND,HE SAID TO MOSES GO AND TELL PHARAOH THAT LET MY PEOPLE GO AND I WILL STILL HARDEN HIS HEART,SO THAT WHEN I SEND THE PLUGS U WILL KNOW THAT THE LORD,PHARAOH OF NOT A BAD KING BUT GOD USED HIM FOR A REASON. OUR LEADERS ,,,,,,,,,,, WATCH AND PRAY THAT U MAY NOT BE PHARAOH, NO OK

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  27. If what is being discussed about my president is true, it goes to show that getting land in Zambia is still difficult as a local. Otherwise the big man would have built that mansion here in Zambia. However, who is not building? And those mansions you people are putting up in Lusaka, where are you getting the monies? Apart from a teacher who is borrowing loans from Bayport, you ate all stealing!

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  28. Leave someone to work and prepare for retirement bane! Let world cup football start, may be people would change the topic.

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  29. Building a mansion is not a problem, there must be a problem because Govt responded that it was a gift. The next question, is it lawful to accept the the said gift?
    Corruption now has advanced and has changed to personal gifts……

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  30. This man is a disgrace to the country, the worst President this country has ever had.

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  31. People let be careful with these guys , Zambia is finished now we have nowhere to go,but remember what ever goes up must come down,wait you see what is going to happened to this govt,God is great

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