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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

HH must put his businesses in a blind trust

Feature Politics HH must put his businesses in a blind trust

By Chamwe Kaira

President Hakainde Hichilema is the wealthiest Zambian President since independence in 1964. The president’s status as a millionaire is undisputed. He is listed as one of Zambia’s biggest ranchers and has many other business interests both at home and abroad.

In the 2016 general elections, the president declared the value of his assets and liabilities at K73 million and many argued that time that the president was worth more than that. The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has not released the 2021 presidential candidate elections.

Hichilema follows the success of other millionaires who have been elected Heads of State around the world. In 2016, Donald Trump became the first billionaire President of the United States. The other rich men who successfully won elections include Silvio Berlusconi of Italy and closer to home, Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.

The President’s supporters have often cited his millionaire status and his New Kasama mansion as a sign that Hichilema was seeking the presidency to serve the nation and not to enrich himself.

Hichilema has promised a departure from corruption and abuse of public resources. In his inaugural speech, Hichilema said the scourge of corruption had eroded much-needed resources and robbed the country of growth opportunities. Like other Zambian presidents before him, he said there will be zero-tolerance to corruption. He said his government is determined to free the country from the ills of mismanagement and malpractice and promote that which is better.

But having a rich president does not guarantee that his government will be spared from scandals. Armando Emílio Guebuza, the third president of Mozambique is one of the richest men in that country. But his reign was without controversy. His son and 18 others are on trial over a US$2bn scandal and are facing charges of blackmail, embezzlement, and money laundering. The scandal led donors including the IMF to cut funding for the country and the economy to collapse.

It is important that Hichilema publicly declare his assets and business interests if his promises of a ‘New Dawn’ are going to go beyond mere rhetoric. There will be questions regarding his business interests especially when it comes to public procurement. For example, will companies that he has interest in bid for government tenders? How will the president ensure that policies and incentives by his government are not meant to benefit his interests and that of his business partners? The other question is will Hichilema’s businessman partners bid for government tenders and other incentives without raising questions about conflict of interest?

Hichilema must take an example from Ramaphosa who upon taking public office disinvested from directorships in his companies and transferred his family interests in blind trusts.

Investopedia describes a blind trust as a trust established by the owner (or trustor) giving another party (the trustee) full control of the trust. The trustee has full discretion over the assets and investments while being charged with managing the assets and any income generated in the trust. The trustor can terminate the trust, but otherwise exercises no control over the actions taken within the trust and receives no reports from the trustees while the blind trust is in force. Blind trusts are often established in situations when individuals want to avoid conflicts of interest.

Chamwe Kaira is a journalist interested in writing about economic issues and how they affect society. [email protected]

13 COMMENTS

  1. Good idea: declare and divest. It will help to avoid any conflicts of interest AND give the empty headed PF cadres less to b*tch about.

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  2. K73 million and he thinks that’s money…HH is sick in the head…thats the money that Floyd Mayweather spends in a day

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    • Saulosi at it again. You are really hurting indeed and HH is a thorn in your………flesh? Wake up and smell the coffee. HH is President of the Republic of Zambia, with or without your approval and will be so for the next five (5) years ahead of us, bar God deciding otherwise. PF going into oblivion soon, watch this space.

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    • You definitely must be sick in the head Saulosi, you require attention at some state penitentiary. Instead of talking about your own achievements, you sing about what Mayweather spends in a day? Unbelievable, baffling and really absurd.

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  3. @Saulosi, what exactly is your point? HH is not really rich? You just want to gripe and bitch at any and everything about HH?
    Who cares how much money Floy Mayweather spends in a day. The level of juvenility exhibited by Zambians sometimes

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  4. @Saulosi, what exactly is your point? HH is not really rich? You have totally missed the point of story to just gripe and b*tch at any and everything about HH. He’s living rent free in your head. Who cares how much money Floyd Mayweather spends in a day??
    The level of juvenility exhibited by Zambians sometimes. SMDH

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  5. The questionable wealth of the head of state will now come in microscope let the drama begin, my thoughts in the past had been that his question to be president was to attract immunity from investigations, of course no one can go that way since he is more secure than a few months ago but things are not yet as many people may think.
    The testimony of the life history of the president betrays him , we shall see the twists and turns of the sticking finger, at this point Nawakwi has no capacity to say anything about privatization of government asserts in MMD regime someone said let the sleeping dogs lie , I just wonder weather cases just die like that.

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  6. The writer would perhaps have done better to research the status of the President’s businesses.

    Because I seem to recall a much publicized TV interview in the run up to the 2016 General elections. President HH clearly stated then that he had done what this writer is proposing and was no longer involved in the running of his own businesses.

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  7. Blind trust, are common in developed democracies, this is NOT new and I am just suprised it’s NOT already part of the existing laws.
    Nevertheless, experience from those countries shows that even with those Blind trust, they do NOT guarantee a 100% detachment from the owner. The Blind trust is usually run by close associates or family members. And being a Blind trust, they can still participate in government tenders, the assumption is that the owner will no longer be managing/directing the affairs of the company. So If for example madam Mutinta takes over and heads the Blind trust, where is the guarantee that they will not be having a bedroom discussion on how the companies are running.

  8. The danger of making a law for an individual! There was a vibrant leadership code of ethics and conduct that has been watered down Bwezani, PF and ECZ. Now we have to live on the good character and intentions of the Presidency. Tough!

  9. SARA USES THE WORD B*TCH WHEN DESCRIBING PF INSTEAD OF JUST CONTRIBUTING TO THIS WELL THOUGH OUT IDEA …JUST BECAUSE SHE IS A B*TCH HERSELF…..an apple never falls far from its tree so the ka B*tch word will always live with her for the rest of her life. STOP MENTIONING PF IN EVERYTHING YOU B*TCH ABOUT…

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