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Alba Iulia
Thursday, April 2, 2020

What Would $193million Worth of Mukula timber look like?- Let’s expose the heightened propaganda from EIA.

Headlines What Would $193million Worth of Mukula timber look like?- Let's expose the...

Mukula Cartel
Mukula Cartel

By Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba

Alexander von Bismarc, Executive Director of the Environmental Investigative Agency (EIA) has been busy since he issued and published internationally, his earlier Report; “Mukula Cartel- How Timber Trafficking Networks Plunder Zambian Forest”

It is clear that he wishes that his poorly documented and discredited report on Mukula trade in Zambia should gain international traction against the Zambian government for his own malicious purposes, objective and intent.

He is now constantly tweeting numbers and figures on the alleged loss to Zambia of what he calls Illegal Mukula trade by the “Mukula Cartel”.

I have never believed that foreigners can resolve Zambia’s problems other than Zambians themselves.

But foreigners like Alexander and others will not stop attempting to influence and determine the course, fate and future direction of our country.

Take for example Alexander’s recent tweet;

He tweeted;

BREAKING!: #China reported 180 million USD MORE worth of timber imported from #Zambia than Zambia reported exporting to China.

But #mukula is banned in Zambia; how could this happen? Read #MukulaCartel #WhereDidTheMukulaMoneyGo https://t.co/qokroC8G5T


So let us attend to this alarming tweet and claim.

First of all, and since 2017, the Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation (ZAFFICO) Limited were allowed to trade in Mukula by exporting confiscated, seized or court processed Mukula.

A few license holders (who pay license fees of $15,000) also were given permission to export.

So yes Mukula is banned, but only to an extent. The correct perspective is that Mukula timber trade and exports have been restricted since 2017.

Secondly, according to the EIA, China reportedly imported 141,217 cubic meters of logs from Zambia between 2017-2018 hence the attached value of $193million.


I did some estimate and calculations.

Timber is calculated using cubic meters.

Let us start with how many logs form a cubic meter.

It is 250 logs(hardwoods) that form a cubic metre, (1 tonne Eco Mixed Hardwood = 2.1 cubic metres (approx.) 1 tonne Vintage Hardwood = 2 cubic metres (approx.)

If this were true, it means that Zambia exported over 35 million logs!

Since Zambia doesn’t use rivers and trains for log exports, but uses trucks.

This would require over 880,000 trucks(40ft containers) to the nearest port of Beira, Nakala, Durban or Dar-es -Salaam.

Bane! 880,000 trucks, 40 ft containers!


This is clearly ridiculous!

Bela tubepa!

This is like dealing with an export volume that would take 15 years to complete!


All reputable records on Mukula trade(legal and illegal) estimate the trade to be worth $3.5million and $5million per year between China and Zambia and not the $193million.

We should remember that China imports timber and especially rosewood from Africa and Brazil.

The country that possesses the greatest area of forest is Russia.

Our Mukula and other hardwoods from Africa go to China.

China is the second largest timber consumer in the world after the USA.

On January 1, 2017, the Chinese government announced the prohibition on the commercial cutting of their natural forests.

Therefore domestic supply of merchantable timber has been contracting, and China’s reliance on timber imports has exceeded 50% since the Chinese government announced the prohibition on the commercial cutting of natural forests in 2017(by the way, Mukula exists in China too and was popular with furniture for imperial dynasties palaces).

The majority of African hardwood log imports by China come from Central African countries—Gabon, Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Mozambique—although Eastern and Southern African countries also export very small volumes to China.

Liberia is now one of Africa’s largest timber producers and, according to Global Witness, has seen more than 60 percent of its rainforest licensed to logging companies.


Mukula is a rare specie of Rosewood.

We will require to be more prudent, more careful, more responsible with Mukula and other hardwoods.

China has just banned all logging from natural forests. We will probably have to do the same and encourage logging and trade on artificial commercial forests like what ZAFFICCO has invested in the past.

This will help preserve our natural forests for ecological and other purposes.

Mukula trees and other hardwoods take upto 100 years to mature and cannot be dealt with in a wanton or careless manner as these rare trees form part of our valued national inheritance and heritage.

But the current legal and illegal trade cannot be allowed to be a basis to trade and prosecute a malicious propaganda and political war against President Edgar Lungu in the manner that Alexander and his outfit the EIA are doing.

ZAFFICCO were directed to invest the proceeds of Mukula exports in the Kawambwa Tea Plantation (which is now thriving) and in the replanting, replenishing and restocking exercise in their legacy forest plantations scattered across the country.

The IDC should therefore help with this information of what has been done with the export proceeds so that transparency is established and facts are made public.

It is an established tenet that in the absence of information, rumours and lies thrive.

The encouraging matter, however, is that both IDC and ZAFFICCO are public entities and the Auditor General is constitutionally obliged to audit all public entities and give the public their Report.

So this is coming anyway.

Should Zambia ban the cutting, transportation and exports of all rosewood timber (hardwoods like Mukula, rosewood, Mukwa, Mubanga, Zambezi Teak etc) as restricted by the CITES?

What’s your view?

[Read 3,665 times, 1 reads today]


  1. Ambassador my foot. Your job is to look at our interests were you have been posted not defending your paymaster for allegation at home. Let the people mentioned or directly involved with Mukula issue comment or give us the true status of this matter. Who is in charge of this Mukula anyway? Let this person issue a comprehensive report regarding management of this timber.

    • This is heartbreaking to read….In Zambia everything starts with a taxi driver, he drives you from airport to state house, you pay him $120, ask for a receipt, and taxi driver gives 2 blank company receipts. Then you seat to write $1120 using your left hard.

    • That’s why they dont trust him they know what he is capable of, it’s like having a venomous snake as pet even Lungu would never tolerate Mwamba in Lusaka!

  2. This Mwamba you can write as many hare-brained articles as you wants defending your Lungu but you will never be transferred back to Charter House on
    Independence Avenue and promoted as Minister of Foreign Affairs; no one trust you as you are a snake, deep down you dont even like Lungu. No one is going to read your rubbish; why are you quiet on other things happening in our country plus you are a civil servant and an ambassador you silly moron we are not paying you money to be defending Lungu there in Ethiopia. If you want to be a cadre come back and work for PF media team.
    We have no time to read your rubbish and your conclusions go and advise Lungu and his daughter to sue EIA in US courts for defamation if they published lies.

  3. I went straight to comments because I knew you were defending the indefensible. Tell us what we don’t know. These Zambians you are insulting will one day become your enemies

  4. “It is an established tenet that in the absence of information, rumours and lies thrive.”

    This is the one sensible thing that I picked from this article. And PF specialises in hiding information from the public for reasons that I will leave other experts to summarise. Remember ” donchi kubeba” ?

  5. He has an argument that deserves to be heard. Nowadays news is covered in a sensational package, so it is better to read between the lines and verify the facts instead of believing every data reported.

    We need, however, to ignore the sensational hype and focus on where the real problem lies: Zambia has been losing revenue big time through irregular exportation of ALL it’s resources – not just timber alone but also precious minerals, copper foremost.

    Failed management of our national resources, is our main problem. It is only in a country without strict management and control of it’s national resources that a few individuals will suceed in to enrich themselves at the expense of the masses through smuggling.

    In my view, it will make sense to halt exportation of all natural…

    • …resources until such a time that we have worked out our own way of locally processing and marketing them internationally. If we have to borrow, let us borrow to invest in this area – create local industries, skilled work force and a fail-safe management plan that will give us full dominion over our national resources.

    • You still have got your **** stuck on the fence where you are still contradicting yourself even in your post. Chinese Ambassador himself stated on record that Zambia is a good trading partner which exported $180 million of Mukula to China but our books show we only exported $13 million dollars worth where do you think the $167 disappeared to? When you have the President and his daughter suddenly rich and building shopping Malls.


  7. Your volume calculation is wrong and who so ever advised you wanted you to demonstrate high levels of ignorance. A cubic meter of wood can actually be just one log and in most cases less than one log because most of the sawlogs are quite large.

  8. A failed and corrupt politician is Mwamba
    Do you think all zambians are like you, an *****, we are not.
    Self serving a$$hole

  9. A proper commission of inquiry is the best platform to summon all those complicated to come defend their case in public. Not these desk top court sessions without a judge.

  10. Ambassador, your calculations are horrendously WRONG! How can you assume (estimate) that 1 cubic meter is equivalent to as many as 250 logs? Which dimensions? Are your mukula logs actually TWIGS? For argument’s sake, a log of about 2.5m length and average diameter of 34cm will be 0.106m3. This means only 10 logs of the same dimensions will make up 1m3. The 34cm diameter used here is bare minimum in most parts of the country you will find Mukula even after the log has been stripped off its sapwood leaving only the reddish heartwood! By all estimates, one cubic meter of Mukula is likely to have less than 10 logs of 2.5m length. Logs of more than 2.5m length and 34cm dia will be fewer than 10 in 1m3. So bwana, redo your literature review and REWRITE your research findings properly! Not…

    • The Ambassador should keep to his lane. I dealt in this business before it became illegal or restricted as he says. 1. Genuine license holder were kicked out and PEPs brought in. That is corruption and that is how accountability in this sector was lost. 2. A 40 foot contained would take between 250 to 350 logs, weighing 25 to 40 ton. In comparison, 1 ton is considered equal to 1cubic. So his math is way wrong. 3. The value of Mukula in China is very high around $3000 per cubic meter, let him consider that when he debates. If he is sincere, let him tell the nation at how much mukula is bought from ZAFFICO and if any taxes are paid

    • The $3000 to $4000 is the most price chinese importers give to China authorities to reduce import duties and taxes. The sales price is above $5000. In Zambia, Mukula is sold between $1000 to $2500 per ton

      Ambassador, we have all the data, dont take us for fools when we are silent.

  11. The ambassador in his griny wisdom is too dull to question logic. How can a cubic meter be filled with 250 logs of Mukula? Cubic meter is simply 1m X 1m X 1m. According to our genius ambassador 250 1m logs of Mukula would weigh 1 tonne (1000 Kg)! If this ain’t madness I don’t know what is. Here is a guy trying to be smart by challenging the authenticity of a report using pre-school mathematics. Be serious man. If for arguments sake 250 logs can make up 1 cubic meter, it would imply a 1 m log weighing 4 Kg. A 1m hard wood log weighing 4 Kg!! C’mon ambassador, stop F-ing with my mind.

    • Have you factored in density?? Emmanuel Mwamba is a high ranking GRZ official who can’t write such an article based on flimsy grounds. Look when you google: “… The kilograms amount 304.00 kg – kilo converts into 1 m3, one cubic meter. It is the EQUAL wood charcoal volume value of 1 cubic meter but in the kilograms weight unit alternative…”

    • Zambian Citizen, such blind loyalty is what has brought us this far, in the shadow of the valley of death! Mr. Mwamba is only human, and by all indications, a cadre too..a hard core cadre capable of commenting and writing on anything with no due regard for facts and common sense. If you doubt his critics, go back to elementary math school or better, to one who has done mensuration at very basic level. Whoever it will be, fresher or finalist will tell you Ambassador Mwamba’s calculations are GROSSLY FLAWED they can earn him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records considering his position!

    • 250 logs make 1 cubic meter? Forgive me for failure to wrap my head around that figure. This article is meant for people without math in their skulls. What are the dimensions of each log imwe bakamba. Don’t defend these morons unless you are one yourself. How do you lie without thinking? Let them be responsible and answer why they are clearing our valuable forests for personal gain. Our online news outlets need to go through articles thoroughly before publishing them or risk losing their credibility. If the man’s report is accurate, that means 93.3% of the money raised from this illegal trade is missing. In other words, in the hands of the individuals in the so called “mukula cartel”. Only 6.7% left for poor and GULLIBLE Zambians. On the flip side, the difference is too big for…

  12. Looks like Mwamba is involved in this Mukula! Why has he gone on the defensive regarding the EIA revelation? Why is Mwamba obstructing justice? Why can’t he allow a competent investigator to look into the issue so that the accused names may be cleared? What is Mwamba afraid of? Isn’t Mwamba a civil servant? And according to PF law, civil servants are not supposed to get involved in politics! Let him resign his post so that he is free to comment on Mukula or best, let him be retired in national interest the way others have been retired on mere suspicion! Let us who have been domiciled in Zambia comment according to what we have observed on the ground! There is definitely illicit Mukula smuggling going on! We would rather trust EIA than the ever lying PF!

  13. The $3000 to $4000 is the most price chinese importers give to China authorities to reduce import duties and taxes. The sales price is above $5000. In Zambia, Mukula is sold between $1000 to $2500 per ton

    Ambassador, we have all the data, dont take us for fools when we are silent.

  14. Thank you for the insight, ambassador. These people even come up with ridiculous figures to dupe the gullible opposition fanatics. Your final question, the selling of hardwood should not be stopped but managed better. It would empower a lot of Zambians.


    • The reason I think you are an exceptionally dull man is because logical arguments have been forwarded by experts in the timber industry that have debunked Mwamba’s funny calculations and yet here you are praising a man who has probably never visited Zaffico in his life. Yes this proves to me that in order to be a loyal PF supporter, most of your brain function has to cease.

    • This du.ll rat supports all the corruption going on without shame…

      Very sure he is one of the rats who escorts and waits to dance for lungu on airport runways.


  16. Dear Emmanuel, redo your calculations, the basis of your article. Just to give you an idea. One (1) ZESCO average log measuring 12-15 meters is equal to 1 cubic meter!
    Even 250 folded umbrellas will filled more than 1 cubic meter in volume.
    From that wrong premise, I failed to read the rest! Thanks anyway.

    • The volume of 12m log is area of the log * the length of the log which is PI*R^2*12 where PI=3.142, R is the radius of the 12m long. Assuming the volume of the log is one cubic metre the radius of the log is the square root of 1 cubic metre divided by (12 * 3.142) ie (1/(3.142*12)^0.5 = 0.16m or 0.32m or 32cm which is about the length of a ruler. So what is the argument?

    • So if China imported 141,217 cubic metres of wood, this is equivalent of importing 141,217 logs of dimensions of 12m long and a diameter of 32cm, which is a lot of logs!

    • “8m wooden poles, with 6/1/3.75mm ACSR conductor, 4/3/2.5mm earth wire, tower spacing of 50 metres”. Continuing with the ZESCO analogy these poles would cover a distance of 141,217 x 50m = 7,060 km of a low transmission line. The distance from Livingstone to Nakonde is about 1,500 km almost five times the distance these poles would cover if they were used as transmission line poles.

  17. I liked the maths. 1 timber is 4kg according to the Zambian Embassy. I now understand why Chinese like our mukula tree. we have just been weighing one stick in the garden. it is 12kg. those logs are not less than 600kg each. the ambassador should devide his answer by 150. 15 years divided by 150 is equal to 36 days work.

  18. I equally failed to read his because just the heading will tell what is inside, you dont even know were reduced to high commissioner, you are dull bwana civil servant come back and join politics see who is going to vote for you. Just continue farting there in Ethiopia..

  19. I read in the article that 1 m3 of hardwood equals 250 logs. Since 1 m3 is 1000 litres this will mean that 1 log is 4 litres. Surely this must be wrong.

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