First Lady Esther Lungu inspects the Ambulance during a tour of Fire Station 94 in California in the United States of America on Tuesday January 22,2019-Pictures by THOMAS NSAMA

On the 19th January 2019 the First lady of Zambia, Esther Lungu arrived in Los Angeles for what the government described as a launch of collaboration between the Los Angeles City Fire Department and the Zambia Fire and Rescue Service.In layman’s terms she went to receive 4 donated Fire trucks.

This was despite public outcry and a civil rights activist Laura Miti appealing to US Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote to withdraw the donation to Zambia.

According to records obtained from State House, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had processed American Visas for 25 travellers, among them a bedroom attendant, cook, cleaner, waiter, about seven police officers, four journalists, three secretaries, two fire brigade officers, a communications officer and accountant.

Presidential Spokesperson Amos Chanda explained that officials in Mrs Lungu’s 25-member delegation to the United States were going to assess if the Fire trucks conformed to Zambian standards.(It will be interesting to read the assessment report written by the cook,cleaner and waiter.)

It has emerged that the donated Fire Trucks were actually recently retired fire engines that had served the Los Angeles area for decades.Two trucks are 1985 models,one being a 1995 model and the last being a 1996 model.

We shall never know how much of Zambian’s tax payer monies was spent on this 2 week/25 delegation  trip- at least not without passing the Access to Information Bill which government has been giving excuse upon excuse of not passing.(No prizes for guessing why this wouldn’t be in their interest.)

Without the Access to Information Bill we Zambians cannot easily access information on how Government uses our money neither can the media freely conduct their role of a watchdog for society without fear of intimidation or harassment from the powers that be.

However, I wish Zambia’s firemen well as they drive these old monstrous Left hand drive trucks in our pot holed and narrow roads.Please drive carefully because I’m not sure there is a plan on how to service these trucks in Zambia nor how to replace spare parts.

A Recap on excuses given by government on the Access to Information Bill since 2011

By C.Chibesa

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80 COMMENTS

    • Alright, what’s your response now Chanda? How do you justify the $1Million each value for those old retired wheel barrows? What’s your defense? Where is Dora? Zeeeeeeee maningi

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    • @Maganizo what rightful place? the girl is just doing her job what she is reporting is the truth. This is what i call investigative journalism that Zambian journalists failed to do. Look how she has gone out of her way to verify the story. Infact she has also embarrassed Zambian journalists, they could have done more justice to this story or are they scared of Lungu?

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    • What has that woman Ester to do with fires in first place?
      Whose wife is she? Who are friends to her husband?
      @Ndobo, ask our friend Edgar if he wants submarines from world was too.

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    • Our friends in the states like Nostra… we asked you to update us on that Committee but no response instead all you want to do is joke about with your friend Ndobo like small naughty pupils at the back of the classroom.

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    • This is corrupt Lungu’s administration. Wasting our meager resources. This trip was unnecessary. But then again, we have King Lungu who calls all the shots in Zambia. This is a shame. While many African countries are making strides in development, we’re in reverse gear with this Lungu guy. The guy is completely clueless. I would suggest that corrupt Lungu and his wife pay back the taxpayer’s money spent on this unnecessary trip, and then they can keep the firetrucks at their Eswatini mansion. If you vote for corrupt Lungu in 2021, you’ll be voting for more and worse reckless spending. We need to vote corrupt Lungu and his PF out. What a shame.

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  1. How did they travel ? Chartered jet ? , another $100k….

    When they broke this story the chandas were peddling lies about the cost of each as $1 million , then we showed on Google that they can cost as little as $50k , they qwickly droped that $1 million price tag meant to cover 42/42….

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    • Kkkkkkk
      @Nostradamus
      Shuwa boyi, you couldn’t advise ba mulamu before hand, or call our friend lungu or ka Amos that the donated fire trucks were retired in Los Angeles,
      Now people are laughing at our mulamu kikikki, lungu is hiding ku side chick

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    • Quoted text:Imagine taking a village girl to a hotel and waking up the next morning to see her sweeping the entire compound.????????(hotel compound,

      This is Zambia’s current scenario, these guy didn’t expect to find themselves in the state House.

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    • Yes it’s a joke that we can waste so much money on such a pointless and worthless endeavour. It sums up the whole philosophy of PF. Waste millions on overpriced unnecessary endeavours, as long as it allows you to benefit via corruption, holidays, shopping, etc

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    • The sad truth is that the total cost of that trip was a lot more than the cost of the donated fire trucks (which were originally destined for the scrap yard). Perhaps by even a factor of 10.

      That is pure wastage.

      Lungu has no interest in improving the lives of Zambians.

      And every time you think he can not go lower, he does.

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    • The office of First Lady is an illegal/unconstitutional office. Any cent/ngwee spent by Govt to finance this extravagant trip is a criminal offence.

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    • Just how did we end up with a first lady like Esther Lungu in the first place…..How did that happen….Komboni lady now embarrassing the whole country……

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    • How many of these Lungu family members and sycophants had ever been overseas or abroad (even just in Zimbabwe or South Africa) before Lungu became President? You answer that correctly, you will find the reason for their wasteful trips abroad using taxpayers money. This my friend is a stoneage backward country ruled by backward stoneage people who think they own the village called Zambia. It will never develop in the next 200 years. FACT!

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  2. Imagine spending more than the cost of the so called dilapidated, obsolete and out of touch fire trucks? This premonition with fire trucks will come back to haunt you once you leave office ba PF. The 42 wheel barrows purchased at a colossal sum of 42million dollars is still fresh on our minds and now this gibberish? why make our nation a laughing stock like this? Parading yourselves as if you are doing something tangible or noble and yet you are just wasting tax payers money. Where are you going to get spares to repair those nasty wheel barrows?

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  3. The people surrounding the president are surely but slowly sinking him.When this story first broke out one would have expected them to refute it,or drop the visit,not our intelligent Amos,it was an opportunity to showcase his debating skills,he even claimed the delegation was going to inspect the trucks,even though there were only 2 technocrats in the delegation….what they forget is that once they sink Lungu they will also be gone…

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  4. The gesture by the Americans to give us the trucks was a well thought out one and i personally appreciate it, but manje the receiving party over did it. People need to learn to be humble, especially that madam Lungu occupy’s a role of mother of the nation such extravagance will have even her loyal supporters scoffing.

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  5. 2 Timothy 1:7 Amplified Bible (AMP)
    7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].
    Many of our leaders have bad judgement. This is a serous waste of resources and can not be condoned, it is a disgrace. God bless Zambia!

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  6. Folks these are the Agents of the state .
    The fact that American Embassy granted visas to them all should not raise any hand in protest.
    I’m memindedof this story in the Bible:

    This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

    All those who had travelled some never thought of going to the USA yet the Lord did open the door for them who are yo to question that.

    Unless it favours you shame on you .Pleae don’t promote the kingdom of the evil one.Im happy to see a maid entering USA.

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    • Patriotic citizen,

      Some people think they have made it in life if they end up traveling or living abroad. They see this as their greatest achievement.

      I guess you are one of them that think that.

      Bravo to you, and give yourself a pat on your back.

      Ama levels!!!!!!!!

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    • Patriotic citizen…you’re a huge id1ot. You’re okay with Lungu’s wife wasting our taxpayer money? So foooolish. With people like you, Zambia will continue to be a laughing stock of Africa.

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    • Imagine taking a village girl to a hotel and waking up the next morning to see her sweeping the entire compound.????????

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  7. HOW OLD ARE THESE JAPANESE VEHICLES THAT HAVE FLOODED THE ZAMBIAN MARKET? MY MARK II GRANDE IN A 1987 MODEL AND IS STILL SERVING ME WELL. WHY ARE UPND CADRES SO BITTER AS IF ZAMBIA JUST BELONGS TO THEM ALONE?

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    • You are right my brother. All the vehicles we are buying from japan are old. Some of them older than the critics.

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    • Do you send your wife and your maid,garden boy and niblings to go and get these old Japanese used cars, or do you not just view and buy them only. And if you OK with the old why do you want a new state House when the current is even younger than the white house and 10 downing Street?

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    • That`s why you you have accidents in those old cars on Zambian roads no one survives. those sikorokoro`s should not be on the road, you are not allowed to drive those things here in SA

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  8. Educated people in leadership! lets say book smart but not savvy.
    Its gross arrogance (a case of tuleteka boma niboma) and no matter how much people talk, say even before these jaw dropping acts are done the government through parots like amos chanda will be used to justify these dispicable acts of extravagance ,daylight carelessness and corruption.
    This brings us to questions such as do we have people that care in positions of leadership or these people will site entitlement/prevalages, but that does not mean the misuse of public resources, no wonder the country is on the tail end in terms of development.
    Utuntu ba Edgar twakulasebana ubututu necimpwena fyachila.

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  9. To think of it, Why not arrange for a receiving ceremony in Lusaka after the arrival/delivery of the so called fire tenders since the Americans are willing to pay for the cost of freight. Some people have dead brains though they are alive….. Receiving ceremony within Zambia and probably graced by the US Ambassador would have been logical. This is so embarrassing to all Zambians.

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  10. The current Boeing 747 Jumbo Jets forming the back bone of the British Airways are over 22 years old and they fly above 44,000 feet for journeys over 8 to 12 hours non stop carrying over 300 people.
    Just remember that.

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    • Just remember that the current state House is less than a 100 years old, but you planning to build another one and have deemed the current one not fit for human habitation,.

      Ken you are an idyote in NGUZU’s voice.

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    • @ Ken,
      Good insight! Just leave these UPND chaps they have nothing to do except worsting time trying to find faults in others. In Bemba we call them at IFIPUBA, meaning they aint worth paying attention to. Know what, the same chaps in UPND drive over Used Second Hand Vehicles from Japan as old as 15 years yet they see nothing wrong. If PF decided to purchase new Fire Engines, they would again spread lies accusing everyone to be corrupt.

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    • They drive old second hand cars bought with their hard worked money, not taxpayers money , you koswes….

      even trying to justify this madness ????

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    • @Ken. The lifespan of a vehicle( fire truck) is 20 years( maintenance costs become 15,000 USD afterwards)while the lifespan of an aircraft is 30 years. The lifespan of a Boeing 747 is 27 years. While I support the government, let us come up with convincing arguments. The First lady went for the commencement of collaboration with the City of Los Angeles, and NOT necessarily for the collection of the fire trucks. This is the correct argument. That is the reason why she has carried out so many activities on behalf of the Zambian people.

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    • Ati carried out some many activities on behalf of the Zambian people ??

      Collecting honoury certificates will benefit not one Zambia , you liers.

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    • Nemesis, why are you insulting me as if I stated wrong facts?
      I was not even forcing anyone to change your thing just reminding you of how long equipment can last and still remain useful. I see you and your caliber by looking at your comparison with the “less than 100 years state house”. Are you serious? Uhmmm! I doubt you went passed grade 9(form 2/3).

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    • @ Ken
      Your effort to compare the age of British Airways 747 with a fire truck is way off tangent. The issue is that the structural stress on a Boeing is usually mitigated by the constant scans and repairs on bodies and even replacement of engines. Here, we are talking about the cost of sending 25 people to INSPECT 25-year old left-hand driven trucks whose next destination was a jaw crusher for scrap metal recycling. Please educated people let’s not mislead ourselves over straight forward issues with irrelevant comparisons with no basis in mechanical.engineering terms.

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  11. We are only good at laughing, when are we going to get involved if we think we are better than those in govt.
    The tendency of laughing at others makes me sick, jealousy is making a lot of people to go to the extent of blaming whatever the government does either good or bad. Why not suggest the options to tackle the issues at hand rather than always blaming?

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    • Ba kalamba ba Observer people put up suggestions like having the fire tenders shipped to Zambia instead of sending a 25 man delegation costing more than the donation to the USA. Other suggestion was to send the firemen only to USA to ‘assess’ and for the First Lady to receive them in Zambia. However, our GRZ opted for the expensive route

      So no one is jealousy of anybody but advocating for prudent use of our meagre resources. We have more pressing issues to support than this wasteful venture of collecting decommissioned fire tenders at such a cost to the treasury

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  12. “(It will be interesting to read the assessment report written by the cook,cleaner and waiter.)”

    Sometimes good articles are soiled by unsolicited bias like in the statement above by writers which is a shame.

    “According to records obtained from State House, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had processed American Visas for 25 travellers, among them a bedroom attendant, cook, cleaner, waiter, about seven police officers, four journalists, three secretaries, two fire brigade officers, a communications officer and accountant”

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    • Spot on .The USA did not find any thing wrong to then all.
      Can the same reporter whom I consider to be the enemy of the state go and interview the American Govt.for allowing the team to travel don’t be biased folks.

      God is great to bless all of us

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    • Favor 17.1 God blesses us, on this one no! God has blessed us with wisdom and discernment. Stop embarrassing all Christians. Those retired fire trucks should have been that retired.

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  13. Stop exaggerating ba kembo imwe. You are still buying 1997 Japanese vehicles and they have flooded all Zambian roads. Stop cheap politics ba kembo imwe, bangwele. It’s just the delegation that we shud condemn. Ba Upnd muli bakembo efyo mwipaile nomuntu notulumba ku sesheke

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    • We are buying cheap second hand cars with our hard earned money, not tax payers money iwe koswe….you can’t even afford to pay students maintenance allowance for food yet you want to justify spend $500k tax payers money going to see donated second hand trucks …..

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  14. Look at some of these rats , thinking one using own hard earned money to buy a second hand car from Japan is the same as lungus wife using tax payers money to go and look at donated second hand fire trucks ????

    The dullness of PF never stops…

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  15. If they gave me that job of assessing those trucks even from my computer screen, I would have condemned them right away because first of all, the driver will be sitting on the left side and the fire and the vehicles seems to be too low for Mtendere humps. You see, I could have saved our money and I was not going to ask for consultation fee.

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  16. No matter what spin you try, it will not work…..twining lusaka to bla bla ….collecting honery certificats for fyonyo fyonyo……

    sending a delgation of 25 was just plain corruption by that silly woman. Either greed, ignorance or both…..

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  17. African regimes. Unbelievable. I don’t practice my civic duty of voting because my vote is very valuable to be given to these chaps called politicians. Going to the US to receive monsters with 25 people and they will come in 2021 asking for your vote. The other one knows Zambians are gullible and he tells them a toll gate cost 43 billion kwacha non rebased, and believe it there are some Zambians who believe this.

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    • @Non partisan with a sharp brain. That is where you go wrong. YOUR VOTE counts because it can sway the results. Zambians, everyone cast your vote in the next elections. Do not settle for less and do not be fooled by religion. Those are private matters between you and your God. The government should be accountable to you.

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  18. A ROYCE ROLLS engine is almost forever and absolutely incomparable to these fire fayas, ask prof. chirwa

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    • You could be right but taking your think, I can assure you that even if the truck could have been manufactured in 1994, They almost obviously underwent a mid life rehab where the engine, transmissions, pumps/lines and the Cab controls are changed.

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  19. Even when you are paid to insult, it is morally wrong to call the presidents wife , elderly woman and mother of so many, young girl. What is it that you people are after? If only I could get to you surely I would put you in the right mind of thinking. Chainama I suggest is where you are supposed to be nursed.

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    • People are not getting paid, some who get paid can not afford school fees and that silly woman goes and spends $500k to look at donated fire trucks , WTF ….?

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  20. How tragic to see such wastefulness of resources here in our beloved country. As suggested above why was the handing over ceremony not done in Lusaka in the presence of our first lady and the American Ambassador. That would have made so much more sense and saved a huge amount of taxpayers’ money. How come Amos Chanda has gone silent on this issue ?!!

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    • viva! be realistic . this time people want economic change, not political party change of 2011. times are hard for everyone. who not complaining, just like they complained in 2011

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  21. the problem in Zambia it seems is that even when something is blatantly wrong, party supporters will try and justify …as some are doing on this thread.
    this was a bad move, even if you are a hard core pf supporter ( and you have the right to), admit it that on this one (and many other instances) you f ucked up. chapwa

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  22. UPND danderheads and sycophants are Sadists who will never appreciate anything unless it’s done by their Supreme leader HH of the UPND who has hidden the privatisation loot in the paradise papers because of his greedy. He will never rule Zambia because of his greedy bitterness and evil mind just like his lapdogs on this forum..really pathetic and pathological liars his followers are just to tarnish the Government

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  23. What is a fire truck? A water tank with a water pump mounted on truck chaisis. Nothing special about these machines. Why not promote and develop our local engineering skills. For $42m we could have experimented and come up with a workable model. This country will never develop if we don’t believe in our selves. Shame!

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  24. Ba Easter learn to say “that’s not my field try take someone from emergency and fire department. Notifye ifilifyonse ukusuma just because it involves getting to the plane. Stick to your professional and it’s specialisation.

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  25. Nothing wrong with receiving free firetrucks from a sister city. It happens many times between American and European sister cities. Used machines including construction machines are exchanged frquently. Zambians nee do grow up and not jump on condemning a donation which can be put to use. WHen maintenance goes high and becomes too expensive the decision will then be made to scrap the machines.

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  26. From 42 wheel Barrows to Vigiligili, as FDD I am calling a spade a spade. They should have accepted the gesture, sent the two fire chiefs, just for ceremonial perposes. Then they fire chiefs could have done fire chief stuff, and been on their way home with knowledge and discounts for where we could buy cheaper fire trucks. I think the president did this to get back at the first lady kikikikikiki.

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  27. This really made me feel ashamed to be Zambian!!! This makes us o look shallow minded my goodness!!! I can say anymore! This is disheartening!!

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  28. Where are our “gatekeepers” of democracy, the opposition parties? They are the ones who should question these things.

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  29. I Gaddafi was alive he would have donated 4 state of the art fire trucks unlike these pathetic useless outdated fire trucks

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