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Alba Iulia
Friday, January 22, 2021

The Decision to Purchase the Expensive Gulf-Stream G650 instead of ATR 72 was reckless and irresponsible

Columns The Decision to Purchase the Expensive Gulf-Stream G650 instead of ATR 72...

By Sean Tembo

1. As Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP), we have noted with interest the ongoing raging debate on the Presidential Jet. From the time that this Gulf-stream G650 aircraft was purchased a few years ago, we have been strongly opposed to the decision. However, our basis for opposing the procurement of the aircraft is premised on the fact that a more affordable aircraft such as an ATR or Bombardier could have been purchased by ZAF for use by the President, as opposed to purchasing a top-of-the-range brand and model. For example, the Government of Botswana recently purchased a brand new ATR 72 for use by the President for about US$22 million, and the Government of Angola recently purchased a brand new Presidential Bombardier Global 500 for US19 million. The Gulf-stream G650 that the Zambian Government bought costs around US$70 million before any security fittings.

2. From our point of view, there is no question that a President of the country needs a dedicated aircraft for ease of travel. Such an aircraft has to be suitable for long distances and it has to look decent and befitting of a Head of State, but it should not be extravagant. The decision by the Government to purchase an expensive Gulf-stream G650 aircraft instead of an affordable ATR 72 or Bombardier, was reckless and irresponsible especially in view of competing for national needs. Even within the Gulf-stream family, there are more affordable models such as the G500 which costs about US$40 million. Across the globe, a Gulf-stream G650 is the Rose Royce of aircraft and is only procured by superstars such as Floyd Mayweather using their own hard-earned money. It is therefore shameful for President Lungu to seek to enjoy such exaggerated opulence using taxpayer’s money.

3. As Patriots for Economic Progress, our further view is that despite the gross mistake that the Government made to endow exaggerated opulence on President Lungu through the procurement of a Gulf-Stream G650, in the middle of national economic collapse, it would not be a good idea for any new Government that might be formed after 12th August this year, to sell the Presidential Jet. Firstly, given the global economic downturn, the market for such an aircraft is extremely depressed and we as a nation would be unlikely to realize even 25 percent of the purchase price for the Gulf-Stream G650.

4. Additionally, there is no doubt in our minds that any President who leads this country will require a Presidential Jet to allow for their ease of travel to various parts of the globe to represent us. Using commercial flights is totally unreliable as there are often delays and cancellations in connecting flights. It would be embarrassing to this nation for our President to fail to deliver his speech at the United Nations General Assembly because he is marooned in Dubai due to a canceled connecting flight.

5. The issue of chartering flights is often very expensive, especially for long-haul flights. Most countries especially in Europe and North America have very strict technical requirements for any foreign aircraft to enter their airspace. Most of the aircraft available for charter do not meet those requirements, and the few that do tend to be extremely expensive. Therefore, plans by any aspiring presidential candidate to sell the Presidential Jet once they ascend to the Presidency, are ill-informed and retrogressive for the nation. This is because neither commercial flights nor charter flights are suitable for Presidential travel. Any such move to sell the Presidential Jet would be premised, not on the wider best interests of the nation, but on the narrow individual interests of such a new President and his desire to undo the legacy of his predecessor.

6. As Patriots for Economic Progress, we wish to take this opportunity to appeal to all presidential candidates, who are in essence potential presidents of this Republic, to ensure that they focus on building on the legacy of their predecessor, should the Zambian people be gracious enough to elect them into office. One of the contributing factors why this country has remained undeveloped, 57 years after independence, is because every new President that is ushered into office spends a disproportionately large amount of national resources trying to undo the legacy of their predecessor instead of building on it. Already, we have seen such an appetite with some Presidential Candidates such as the UPND leader Mr Hakainde Hichilema. For this nation to make progress, the wider interests of the masses must be paramount and rank above any individual interests of a President and their desire for self-aggrandizement.

24 COMMENTS

  1. When you’re sitting on so much money you can’t help yourself to indulge. I don’t blame him. The world is greedy stop complaining & learn to manoeuvre it’s greedy structures legally.

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  2. If Munio Zulu and Nathan Chanda can buy accessories from your Edgar Lungu, then you know how childish your president is.
    Gulf stream jet is childish, its like wearing tight suits.

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  3. “…..It would be embarrassing to this nation for our President to fail to deliver his speech at the United Nations General Assembly because…..”

    What’s the obsession of delivering a speech to an empty room ????

    Only these monkeyass Africans see the need to address an empty auditorium.
    No one listens to lungus speachers

    …him and his team just goes to blow millions on of tax payers monies on shopping sprees and expensive hotel bills.

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  4. Too much dander heads from Pathetic f00ls party, ifipub* too much… Including Chi colour Lungu. They don’t care about anything

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  5. Just to highlight how reckless lungu and his PF are , they went and fitted anti missile systems worth $22 million on that already expensive jet

    I mean , who would want to waiste time and money on a missile trying to shoot down lungu ?????????

    Plezzzzz ,

    17
  6. Water under the bridge.
    Let’s move on folks.
    If this was not opposed at budgetary level or at any prepurchase stage, talking about this now is not only shallow but retrogressive.
    What a Dununaed Reverse kind’a way to operate.
    Moveon and let’s be proactive instead of being reactive next time.
    Of what value is that debate if it is coming way late when this aircraft has even clocked up some mileage.
    Guess what? We shall vote PF in again and again and again until you tuma opposition parties begin to grow up and engage us maturely and more so proactively.

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  7. Foolish!! How does magufuli travel? Besides it’s not always that you need the president to travel, that’s why you have embassies!! Don’t just yap, give us the full costs and benefits of all the available options for us to choose!

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  8. Privatisation of presidential jet is retrogressive…we need assets as a nation it is not development to work for food like in kaunda were we had free meali mealie that is not development… Soo what wil HH do for his country when he become president ???.how is he going to make a farm make profit & yet make meali mealie cheap..we’re wil the cheat fertilizer come from?? He has money let him demonstrate to us by opening a shop today & source for cheap fertilizer then sale it to Zambian…For me failing by a president start at campaign level when you start telling a lot of lies to gain popularity be honest to yourselve

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  9. The Govt bought the New Presidential Plane,Gulfstream 650 but has the old Challenger Presidential Plane been sold.?Can a poor Country like Zambia afford to run two Presidential Planes? The Nation needs answers to these questions.

  10. Whilst other nations are busy discussing ways to recover from effects of covid and are busy planning ahead, here we have opposition who are talking about a jet. A mere mode of transport for president office. This is how f00lish opposition is in this country. We were not this petty and f00lish when we were in opposition. Come 2021 August I will ensure a total wipe out of opposition in the election.

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  11. Made a lot of sense until he attacked a fellow opposition leader. Like enjoying a very nice pipe only to find that big green fly in the middle of the pipe, other wise whatever he said before that is extremely wise

  12. The ATR 72 – 600 has a flying range of 1665 kilometres . Good for Lusaka to Harare. For a journey of 2 277 Kilometres from Lusaka to Cape Town you would need a stop over in Johannesburg for refueling. The ATR 72 costs US$ 29 000 000. The Gulf stream G650 ER has a flying range of 12 960 kilometres and costs US$ 69 000 000, If the idea is for any plane then the ATR makes a lot of sense but if the idea is for the president to get to any part of the world none stop then the G650 comes tops.

  13. The presidential plane was not purchased. It is on lease with quarterly payments. Just stop the payments for even one day and the plane will be recovered by the lessor. Ask Gayzar Zulu, he and his gay friends know everything about missing payments and how you lose property and cars!

  14. Mwendalutaker Mwendanjanguler December 3, 2019
    I’m not sure how old Kaizarnyo Zulu is but if he is old enough, he would have watched the movie “The Rise and Fall of General Idi Amin” and the brutal role “MaliaMungo” (God’s Money) played in that tragic episode and how he paid a dear price at he hands of Mwalimu’s armed forces as they invaded and deposed his goofy carnibal! This is the very same role Kaizar has curved himself out for under Chagwa’s brutal and incompetent masalamusi masquerading for a government. We all know it was Kaizar Zulu, Nkandu Luonyo and Mwamba who rigged the last polls and installed this dead head as president, payback time is coming, we shall hang you.

  15. So the issue is not the purchasing of the plane but the cost of it? Reminds me of one armored ‘Lexus” car purchased by Mwanawasa and delivered during RBs time. Sata and company made so much noise about it only to learn that FL Christine was infact using the same car for ferrying her kids to school while the husband and his cronies were busy making noise about it. lusaka times dot com/2011/10/18/state-house-instructed-buy-cars-ngambi

    The jet is not personal property. Move on. There are more serous things to talk about. Honey bee, corruption, fuel, Covid etc

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