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Alba Iulia
Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Mealie Meal Smuggling Syndicate unearthed on the Copperbelt

General News Mealie Meal Smuggling Syndicate unearthed on the Copperbelt

COPPERBELT Minister Japhen Mwakalombe, Zambia Police and the Ndola City Council (NCC) have unearthed a scam in which some unscrupulous people have been working with millers and buying mealie meal in bulk and smuggling to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The smuggling of mealie meal has led to an artificial shortage of the commodity and a hike in prices in Ndola and around the Copperbelt.

During the operation about 1000 bags of mealie meal were seized in bordering township Kawama with the aid of residents who became whistle blowers.

Hundreds of bags where found in tightly locked up stores and others hidden in homes, under beds, fridges and tall grass.

It was also discovered that most are smuggling the mealie meal using bicycles. A couple of bicycles were found in the shops with bags of mealie strapped around them in disguise.

The mealie was hidden in cement bags, chitenge wrappers and so on and forth.

At border Maria Chimona smugglers were also using bicycles with National Registration cards which belong to other people to smuggle the commodity into DRC.

Copperbelt Minister Mr Mwakalombe flanked by Copperbelt Police Commsioner Charity Katanga, NCC Town clerk Wisdom Bwalya , District Commsioner Anthony Katongo and other officials fumed at the situation.

When queried on the huge stocks of mealie meal being piled the smugglers claimed to be traders.

But when asked why their shops were locked tight when there is a demand for the commodity even around the area all remained mute.

And after asking why some bags where wrapped in disguise all traders claimed the bags were not theirs and did not know what the bags were doing in their shop.

Police henceforth picked up two smugglers and arrested them, the two have also been reported of terrorizing the community and using weapons such as guns.

And when further pushed for answers the traders revealed they sale the commodity at K500 and K600 in DRC.

Further, the Ndola City Council queried the shop owners as to how they were trading but yet have no trading permits or health certificates.

Health experts also said the mealie was being kept in unsafe ways that risk the product being contaminated as most places had people sleeping in the same room and even to top of the bags.

Mr Mwakalombe said the mealie meal shortage was an artificial one caused by such ‘selfish’ individuals.

Hon Mwakalombe said Government, NCC and Zambia police will not rest and will ensure all mazie found illegallg is retrieved and all millers who are culprits will be brought to book.

He clarified that Zambia signed mou with DRC to supply 600 tonnes of mealie meal a legal trade which would benefit all Zambians.

Copperbelt Minister Mr Mwakalombe flanked by Copperbelt Police Commsioner Charity Katanga, NCC Town clerk Wisdom Bwalya , District Commsioner Anthony Katongo and other officials
Copperbelt Minister Mr Mwakalombe flanked by Copperbelt Police Commsioner Charity Katanga, NCC Town clerk Wisdom Bwalya , District Commsioner Anthony Katongo and other officials

Mealie Meal for Smuggling


  1. This is so evil.
    It must be punished.
    Don’t send them to jail, just confiscate the product, and give it to the most needy and at risk people.

  2. Smuggling has always been there – there are even songs from the 70s and 80s. We have simply failed to develop an economy that enables the nation to earn public monies out of EXPORTS of mealie meal in a viable way. This is because generations of the unscrupulous find it worthy to enrich themselves at the expense of the innocent majority. Regardless of government administration this is a cancer that needs to be mitigated or at best eradicated. It will kill our people and has been doing so slowly over time.

  3. Honestly if a 25kg bag is fetching K500 each just below our nose, where are the economists of this country when the exchange rates of our kwacha against other foreign currencies have gone through the roof. This is $25 each. We are told we have bumper harvest this season and if government officials strictly left the business to benefit the nation and not PEPs, if we are selling 200,000 bags/ month the country will be receiving $5million which we don’t get from mines.

  4. If we increased the production to 500,000 / month for export thats $7.5million forex into the country. The mines do not bring forex in this country that can help normalise the exchange rate. Hence our hope is agriculture. Mining companies externalise revenue and only brings here what they want to use to pay for operations costs. Which they cannot do in Europe or America. The SI introduced by the then minister of finance Mr Chikwanda which should have compelled mines to receive revenue payments through Zambian banks was fought viciously by Zambians and the same people later turn around to condemn government in failing to manage the exchange rate.

  5. Did deeper even the ministers are in this game, ad they are the one doing it at a larger scale than those being caught. And the police ad govt leaders are a bunch of pretender as if they don’t know anything, those are the main smugglers.
    This thing is frm the top most to the petty ones being caught.

  6. And some dirty upnd bloggers here called us evil for our fight against these criminals. Lusambo was called names. However now we have been vindicated. It is clear for all to see in daylight that criminals are trying to sabotage the milling industry. We want to thank our gallant men in uniform for this wonderful job. Kz

  7. It is Friday and I am stuck home in locked down England . Time for me to call an escort. Very bored. Here we can order women to come and keep us company.

  8. I have not understood why we have this problem at all. When there is a market, why not produce more and export? Each year, tons and tons of maize go to waste becoz it has not been collected/stored to enter into the market due to a number of factors. Instead we waste resources policing our borders. Why can’t we change the strategy? Produce more and allow export. In fact we produce more than we need each year Trouble is post harvest management of what we produce. DRC is a very lucrative market for our agriculture produce and cheap to export there. We are fighting a wrong enemy here. I have written several times on this issue. Creative an enabling environment for production to produce more than we need so that we can export into our neighbours.

  9. Dont waste time and resources taking these people to court simply donate all the confiscatef mealie meal to those in need with immediate effect. That is the most pragmatic thing to do, however we sadly live in a world where common sense is not so common.

  10. Only one photo from this supposed big story? I’d like to see photos of mealie meal in to grass, wrapped around bicycles, in cement bag etc.

  11. When there is so much demand for the maize meal why not focus more resources in the agriculture sector so that the much needed income from exports can be maximized. This problem of smuggling has been there from way back so why has Zambia been slumbering rather than take this God given opportunity to make more money for the nation. Govt needs to look into this, empower the agricultural sector to increase production so we can export excess produce and keep our kwacha stable if not more favorable. We have nakonde rice, monguno rice which is very tasty but how many production and rice processing plants do we have in Zambia to add value to the rice we grow and export it as well. We need to be open and take advantage of such opportunities, we have both capacity and resources to do this going…

  12. I have always wondered if at all the leadership in Zambia actually know what it is they are supposed to be doing in those offices! Zambia has 40% of SADC water, there are no rebels to disturb the peace, the land is very fertile to grow any kind of crops. Agriculture, by now should have been the main stay of the economy. The country is sorrounded by hungry nations who are the ready customers. Angola and DRC depend on South Africa and Europe for food, even vegetables are imported! Why Zambia’s leaders don’t see this profitable opportunity and capitalise on it I don’t understand. And why do they call these entrepreneurs smugglers? They are simply taking advantage of a lucrative money making opportunity to empower their families. What’s wrong with that?

  13. @Rowdy and Wantanshi.
    Unfortunately PF lead GRZ don’t understand the value of increasing the agricultural output. 10 years now nothing to show for it, other than making statements and empty promises, of diversifying Zambia’s economy.

  14. South African farmers have seen this demand in DRC and have started setting up farms there while Zambia’s PF still deal with it as”smuggling”!
    This is an opportunity right under Zambia’s big nose.
    Zambian politicians have a habit of dealing with problems from a poverty angle and just read @ Kz
    Congolese towns and cities next to us are “ours” from the business stand point and so we should include them in our growth agenda.

  15. Is it that small girl Charity Katanga ? We are still waiting on Gassing suspects who were shape shifting …how can a senior officer be narrating publicly about such and not make arrests…still keep her job!!

  16. One day we will wake up only to find DRC exporting maize and other agricultural products to Zambia while we are still politicking with 3rd term and ZRA/Prime -Tv.
    Botswana should have taught us a lesson of coming from poverty to world success story.
    We are already spectators in own economy.
    We need to be investing and worshiping l strategic action and abandon authority worshiping.
    Taking the the correct path in our destiny should be our new religion and not that which humbles its citizens deeper into poverty

  17. Reading the comments I see that so many Zambians are ignorant of what has been happening since the 60s which led to the nationalisation of the milling firms only to be privatised by Chiluba.

    The documented cross border trading of maize and mealie meal into DRC has been monopolised by Greek milling firms for many years who make hundreds of millions of dollars while you as a poor Zambian farmer are told you cant export because of a ban and even when its lifted you have to get an expensive export license and other documents to export your maize. Why are we so evil to ourselves, why cant the govt after securing the maize reserve quota create a platform to allow some farmer cooperatives across Zambia in conjunction with their local DACO offices to export maize directly to DRC, the forex our…

  18. Ctn…the forex our country will earn will be alot and taxes earned from these sales are funds that should go directly to the districts where these cooperative come from (the money shouldnt pass through the central treasury only to be diverted to buy govt Luxury SUVs no!!!) it should be used on renovating the bad feeder roads, stocking up medicines, building schools and be used for social welfare programs. People in govt need to wake up and put the interests of Zambians first and not greedy Greek millers who dont care if this country burns tommorow as all theyll do is pack up and go to their homeland. It was mentioned that ZNFU would be allowed to export to DRC but fact is ZNFU is not representative of most Zambian farmers, what is needed is the district farmer cooperatives to be allowed…

  19. Ctn…what is needed is the district farmer cooperatives to be allowed to export. Wake up please the solution to the rural poverty problems we have are right in front of us if only some people in relevant positions open up their hearts to allow the poor farmers a chance to improve their livelihoods as well as their communities.

  20. Zambia is too sleepy. Our government should have had a business strategy that takes into account Katanga province as a market for Zambian products. Katanga is so far from Kinshasa it relies on the Copperbelt for various commodities and services. Build cross border businesses in Ndola Mufulira Chililabombwe Solwezi and let Zambians reap from the exports

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