Friday, May 24, 2024

Of all the presidents; how did Edgar Lungu walk away from State House a rich man?

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When attending church service at the Reformed Church in Zambia – RCZ Chipata Main branch in Eastern province the other week, former president Edgar Lungu encouraged citizens, in his own words, to “pray for politicians to reduce on lying.”

“Today, lying has become a culture among politicians in the country,” he told the congregation.

While we concur with him that leaders ought to always remain truthful although we are not quite sure exactly what lies he was referring to; we’d equally encourage him to confess to us how he managed to amass so much wealth within the short period he was in State House. Going by the shockingly staggering amounts he was able to hand-out to his family members as revealed by themselves, we’re left with little doubt but to buy into word on the streets, ba Lungu has actually earned himself a place at the high table as one of Africa’s richest!

But how on earth did this individual who was just running a bar in Chawama called “Edgars” and of course, chasing after elusive cases as a struggling lawyer manage to walk away from State House a rich man when his predecessors couldn’t do so? Shouldn’t we be contemplating stripping him off of his immunity so that he’s given an opportunity to explain to us how he made ‘his’ money?

Anyway, since we love to speak with facts as much as possible, we shall seek to probe further and consider how the other former First families are doing compared to this ‘industrious’ family!

Our first Republican president Kenneth Kaunda had 8 children with his dear lovely wife, mama Betty Kaunda. She was a perfect example of a First Lady – totally unblemished character and devoid of any scandals! While others have entangled themselves in controversial escapeds in the recent past; travelling as farther afield as the USA to receive outdated fire tenders, on behalf of government, that are better off remaining in a museum or indeed poking their nose in the affairs of the state and gracing campaign rallies, Mama Betty confined herself to Nkwazi house (official residence of the president) managing the affairs of the house.

Of all the Kaunda children, only 3 of them could be said to have been in the limelight – Panji, Wezi and Tilwenji. Panji is a graduate from the prestigious Sandhurst Military Academy in the UK. After enjoying an illustrious career in the military, he quietly retired to farming in rural Sinda, Eastern province while Wezi, who had followed into his footsteps by becoming a military officer would later metamorphose into a radical politician who didn’t brook any nonsense! Having served as MP, he was poised to succeed his father as opposition UNIP leader before a hail of assassins’ bullets prematurely curtailed his life in his own driveway. The soft-spoken and camera-shy Tilwenji Kaunda who had been dabbling in business eventually took over as UNIP president although he wouldn’t do much to improve its dwindling fortunes.

Apart from getting involved in a shooting incident in a Lusaka surbub that saw one of the Kaunda children, Kambarage getting indicted for murder, there’s absolutely no record of any of the Kaundas appearing before law enforcement authorities for questioning to answer charges of embezzlement or corruption. Kambarage would finally walk away a free man after a superior court ruled that he acted in self-defence, upon appeal.

The man who made KK meet his Waterloo in a case of David vs. Goliath, trade unionist turned politician, Frederick Chiluba had 9 children. Castro was the most notorious, earning himself generous space in the Newspapers for all the wrong reasons – from brandishing firearms in public, shooting callgirls and getting embroiled in physical fights in night clubs, randomly stopping his vehicle on the middle of the road while screaming, “I’m the 2Pac of Zambia!” and flaunting cash in public, wondering why most Zambians were paupers while him and his dad were rich! Like his siblings, Castro wasn’t bothered about earthly possessions – owning mansions in upmarket neighborhoods or boasting of countless fleets of vehicles; he was just a spoilt brat eager to have fan with his friends! The only other sibling who would stir his own fair share of controversy was Miko. In the company of 3 of his friends, they’d entice a girl and make her drunk after which they had what amongst the youngsters is known as ‘kansato’ with her. To the uninitiated, they took turns in sleeping with her for whatever reasons!

Although the second Republican President would suffer the indignity of having his immunity stripped-off for allegedly looting and plundering our national resources, at least we never heard of any of his children forfeiting any illegally acquired property to the state. Apart from his pet project, the so-called Frederick J.T. Chiluba Institute of Democratic and Industrial Studies near UNZA which was forfeited to the state, he didn’t leave behind a profile of impressive properties dotted around Lusaka. While still serving as president, his wife Vera flirted around with the idea of running her own NGO – Hope Foundation, which at times would overshadow the work of government by making forays into forgotten places such as Shan’gombo for her charitable exploits! She left State House without any ominous clouds hovering over her head and would go on to become an MP in Eastern province, of course.

As readers may recall, Levy Mwanawasa had to resign as Vice President citing the ‘horrible stench’ of corruption in Chiluba’s government. Desperate to find a candidate without any tag of corruption attached to their name in the forthcoming elections, with UPND leader Anderson Mazoka breathing heavily on his neck, Chiluba would dispatch emissaries to go and ‘wake up’ Mwanawasa from retirement to be the MMD’s torch bearer in the 2001 crucial elections.

In an election victory widely believed to have been stolen from Mazoka, Mwanawasa who campaigned on the platform of “government of laws other than men” was finally sworn in as President, and he wouldn’t disappoint. He had seven children, altogether. During much of his tenure, his children mostly remained in the dark shadows of State House. It’s only in recent times that we came to know of some of the Mwanawasa children such as Patrick who assumed the role of deputy permanent secretary in the PF regime and Chipo, one of President Hichilema’s aides.

Mwanawasa never shied away from reminding us he was allergic to corruption! True to this, he never entertained the idea of any of his children cutting deals or indeed dipping their hands into the national treasury by whatever means! And today, they’re walking around the streets of Lusaka with their heads held-up. Going by recent revelations that the family almost lost one of their properties due to ‘nkongole’ actually gives credence to assertions that the Mwanawasas never abused their affinity with power to award themselves government contracts or cut deals with those doing business with government.

When the cold hand of death descended on Mwanawasa midway through his term unfortunately, his vice president Rupiah Banda would step into his shoes although he wouldn’t quite fit in. Immediately his government settled in it was rocked by a terrible stench of corruption that went as far as the skies! Banda had 8 children in all – 5 from his previous marriage and 3 from his second union. One of his children, Henry found himself at the centre of controversy, getting his hands dirty with allegations of corruption. With the blessings of his father, he brokered an allegedly corrupt deal in which Kenyan oil trading company Dalbit Petroleum clinched a multimillion-dollar contract to supply finished petroleum products to Zambia in 2009.

Henry was also fingered in a corruption case involving Dora Siliya, the former Minister of Transport & Communications, relating to the controversial appointment of a Cayman Island-registered company to value Zambia’s ­telecommunication assets. The chilling tales of looting did not end there. Henry was further embroiled in yet another scandal as a key figure in a oil deal worth $2.5 million with Nigeria’s Sarb Energy Limited to supply crude oil. The oil never made it to Zambia! He is also said to have been practically in charge of handling campaign funds for his father amounting to millions of dollars whose source remains a matter of speculation. Scared of being sent to jail, Henry would go into self-imposed exile immediately there was a change of government.

On the other hand , his elder brother Andrew would be arrested and sentenced to 2 years imprisonment with hard labour by the Lusaka Magistrates court for corruption relating to soliciting and receiving gratification to facilitate the award of road projects to Fratelli Locci, an Italian road construction firm. He would later challenge the ruling in the Lusaka High Court.

Banda’s spouse,Thandiwe wasn’t so lucky either! She would be arrested and charged for corruption regarding the Mpundu Trust flats, but her gallant lawyers would fight the case in court tooth and nail until she was let-off the hook.

Like Chiluba, the fourth Republican president would have his immunity from prosecution removed. He was arrested and charged for corruption and theft of public resources! As fate would have it, the man that wanted to see Banda behind the bars for his alleged wrong doing finally succumbed to his prolonged illness. After Sata’s demise, the new Edgar Lungu’s administration would immediately discontinue the case and somehow allow him to enjoy his retirement as a reward for having endorsed and campaigned for Edgar Lungu and his Patriotic Front. But we are getting ahead of ourselves, aren’t we?

Anyway, like every human being, President Michael Sata had his own weaknesses; more especially his unjustified reasons for excluding those perceived to be from the Zambezi provinces from his government. However, we award him credit for not regarding the national treasury as his pocket money where he could simply fish-out substantial amounts of money and hand it to his wife, children or girl friends willy-nilly! For instance, when he received intelligence reports that one of his sons was always in the company of some foreign nationals discussing business opportunities, he tasked one of his closest confidants, Wynter Kabimba, to have tete-a-tete with him as he wouldn’t have desired to see any of his children, “be on the run from the authorities like Henry Banda!” once he had left office. Mulenga Sata is probably back to his usual business of selling Germany Shepard’s by now!

Sata atleast had 10 children between two marriages. We have no doubt most of them continue sleeping soundly at night knowing that ba DEC or indeed ba ACC won’t come pounding on their doors, dead of the night, asking questions about their impropriety. As we may all be aware, his medical doctor wife Kaseba formed her own NGO, Ubutala Bwamumi Foundation, to continue pursuing what was closer to her heart – better health for all, particularly those battling cervical cancer. After the death of her husband, she would be deployed into the foreign service until her contract expired, recently. As far as we know, she has no criminal record there’s no criminal record, whatsoever!

This now brings us to our immediate past President Edgar Lungu! Information emerging from the court rooms regarding the Lungus bordering on corruption leaves so much to be desired! In a recent court ruling for instance, one of his daughters, Chiyeso forfeited more than K9 million worth of assets to the state. Among the assets forfeited to the state is Crest Lodge in the affluent Ibex Hill suburb of Lusaka. Apart from this, she lost three flats, two farms with a high cost house and four chicken runs in State Lodge area worth about K9.3 million. Chiyeso who was only admitted to the bar as a lawyer in 2018 could not explain how she acquired the same properties!

As it were, the most prominent child of them all is of course the politician, Tasila. She is equally in court for being in possession of assets suspected to be proceeds of crime! Key findings from investigations outlined in the charge sheet are that, Tasila Lungu’s earnings as a Councilor from 2016 to 2021 amounted to less than K184,966.41, while her declared assets stood at a staggering K6,130,505.58! Furthermore, the valuation of Farm No. F/2278 in Sinda district stood at K8,540,098.00 while the estimated costs of related construction works came to K13,950,378.83 bringing such transactions into question.

In a legal victory for the Director of Public Prosecutions chambers recently, the Economic and Financial Crimes Court (EFCC) dismissed preliminary issues raised by the now Chawama Member of Parliament to have the said farm in Sinda forfeited to the state. The fast-track court is set to deliver judgement on whether the farm should be forfeited to the State or not.

The two sisters are not the only ones in the family to find themselves in conflict with the law. Their beloved brother Daliso along with his wife, both aged 36, were equally nabbed on charges of being in possession of assets suspected to be proceeds of crime contrary to Section 71 of the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act no. 19 of 2010.

According to Zambia Police Service spokesperson, Rae Hamoonga, the couple’s company, Saloid Trading Limited which they co-own was found to be in possession of 48 motors vehicles valued at K23,258,405.00 and fixed assets valued at K12,825,100.00 while Daliso was facing an extra charge of money laundering. He stands accused of being in possession of 21 motor vehicles with an estimated value of about K1.5 million and fixed assets valued at K31.5 million, all registered in his name! Hamoonga further elaborated that Daliso Lungu has also been arrested and charged with money laundering regarding the alleged deposit of over K23.9 million into their company account, which is held at ZANACO Cairo Business Centre Lusaka Branch. All the offences took place between September 17, 2017 and January 24, 2022 while their father was still in State House. But kwena nangula tapaswosa?

The interesting episode does not end there. Their mother Esther is equally in court for the similar offences. In a recent application to the Economic and Financial Crimes Court, she failed to secure a stay of the forfieture proceedings against her siezed 15 double storey flats situated in Lusaka’s State Lodge area valued at K41.6 million! Mama Esther will in fact be remembered for entrusting $US 400, 000 with her niece in Kabwata for safe keeping instead of taking it to the Bank where there’s little risk of rats chewing it!

Such revelations would make us start believing what Kambwili was saying all along before his route to Damascus; that everywhere where there was construction in Lusaka, there were finger prints of Lungu and his family on them! What is stopping government from considering lifting his immunity so that he is given an opportunity to clear his name in the courts of law?

There’s no doubt ba Lungu presided upon the most corrupt regime; corruption was institutionalised under his watch and he was definitely a partaker! According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) report released January 2023, corruption flourished to alarming levels under the Lungu regime!

” For instance, enormous financial resources invested in infrastructure projects, such as road construction, provided avenues for corruption, especially in the award of tenders, where political connections allowed members of the elite to bend the rules and access to lucrative contracts”, the 96-page report read.

The IMF diagnostic says corruption became particularly institutionalized during the 2016-2021 period.

Surely, can such an individual even have the audacity to say he wants to come back to power? To come and continue looting and plundering our meagre resources!

Prince Bill M. Kaping’a
Political/Social Analyst

30 COMMENTS

    • Emanuel mwamba is making Edgar look and behave like a fuulish mad man. Go to YouTube and watch him make Ba Edgar and his entraged wife dancing to Kuomboka speech like idyots.
      Edgar and family are the major beneficiaries from Sata’s death.

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    • @Fresha waku ma ruins: You cannot pretend to not see the evidence arrayed before this criminal Lungu family. One by one, they have failed to account for the wealth they have. You are trying to pretend that there is a mystery which is not there. Lungu said after seeing his family members fall one by one, that “You peel an onion one layer at a time”. He knows that very soon, the government will complete the peeling and reveal that he is the rotten core of the onion. This is the only reason why he wants to come back to power, even that would violate the law.

    • Immediately I read it I could see the headline was stoopid. Unlike Sishuwa, Kapinga practices “agendalism”
      “Of all the presidents; how did Edgar Lungu walk away from State House a rich man?” Which president walked away a poor man?
      And a word of advice when you write such articles show us that you did your homework because we would all like to know how our taxes were stolen. Kapinga could have counted Lungu’s travels away from home got the allowance rates for a President multiplied and got us a total figure of his earnings juxtaposed these with Esther’s spending, Tasila’s farm and Chiyeso’s K9million properties. Dont just repeat quotes that support your suspicions. Si journalism iyo ni quarrelism

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  1. Its heart-rending and humiliating that we as a nation allowed this scumbag and his lawless party to take us ten years backward in development. We now carry the burden of debt for these looters and their children while they point accusing fingers at those who mean well for our country
    UKA and Membe have never said anything about the callous and wanton destruction of our economy by Lungu and fellow cadres, but they also want to rule…..Shame

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  2. Did Changwa Lungu and his family walk away from the State House rich with no backup as to how he accumulated $$?

    Yes, he did and that’s all-stolen money on paper and he will forever get away with it because he is above the law.

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  3. There’s no African president who leaves office in rags and tatters and the electorates encourage it, we ought to be ashamed of ourselves.

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    • Lungu’s assets before the presidecy and after were shocking enough.Add to that, the sudden wealth of his wife and children ,and what you should feel is anger and not jokes.At least they should explain to us how they managed to accumulate such wealth in such a short time so that we can include their business acumen in university course curriculums in Business & Entrepreneurship

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    • Lie. Lungu changed the rules. No presidential candidate was obliged to declare assets in 2021. Previously, this was a requirement. Lungu knew that he had shi*t in his pants

  4. Practically all politicians should be investigated. The biggest number of people who become wealthy in Zambia is in Politics. Isnt it astonishing that we have invested so much in Engineering, Mediicine, or agriculture which are very needed industries but we have no millionaires from those professions?Why? when politics, if viewed as an industry, is the biggest loss making sector? One can only conclude it is because it is a playground for thieves. The country borrows money that is brought to Lusaka for the vultures to devour. All Politicians should be investigated-by the CIA

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  5. This man really hates Lungu. No day passes without him writing his children bed time stories starring Edgar Lungu and the big black wolf.
    Let the enforcement officers do there job without your insinuations.
    The way HH loathes ECL he will not lose the chance if it came of arresting him.
    Immunity is just an imaginary shield which can disappear should evidence come up.

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  6. He may have stolen material things but at least he signed the dual nationality thing which most of his predecessors were frightened to do. Lungu is a petty thief compared to abena daddy cholo lolo and co.

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  7. GRZ should drop his immunity and ask Eswatini to help in forfeiture of his mansion there. ECL put Zambia 10yrs back with his incompetent & corrupt leadership.

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    • Please take a trip to Eswatini and ask for this mansion. Milupi is just barking like a common jerabo, shame. If it’s true Edgar owns property in a foreign country, the normal and decent thing is for the government to ask the other government to help with investigation of such property.
      I remember how ashamed I was of myself when it was discovered that Kenneth Kaunda was actually ” poorer” than me after accusing him stashing millions of dollars for himself.

    • @Deja Vu: How can you compare a criminal thug, Lungu, to KK? The article lays out the extensive properties accumulated by Lungu, his wife and children. As in the case of iceberg, the small tip you see over the surface is much smaller than the great mass that is under water. This is not shocking, the man stole from his own client, and was disbarred by the law association of Zambia for it. When he became president, he said “He who works in the field eats in the field”. The only reason why he is trying to make come back is because, as he has said “You peel an onion one layer at time”. He is in a hurry to return to state house before enough of the peels of the onion are removed to reveal that he is the rotten core of it.

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  8. Guy Scott tried to stop this thief from assuming office but what did he get at eobashilile. Utter nonsense and ignorance from Zambians. I console myself that I never voted for that hoodlum. Actually Guy Scott would have made far much better President.

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  9. On top of his stealing and nearly normalising corruption……….

    Lungu supports political violence, his armed PF caders were more powerful than the police………even beating up and taking over police stations…….

    And least we forget……….

    More than 50 innocent civilians were lynched and burned alive I our streets during the gassings ……..never has ever happened in zambias history………it was under lungus watch…,…

    May there souls rest in eternal peace

    This is a dark period in our history.

    Forwadee 2031…..

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  10. One thing is for sure. There was looting during the PF regime done mostly by those with power but that does not end with the Lungu family. I feel pity for the family that just wanted a better life not knowing the consequences of their actions. To be honest, Lungu was just ill advised by those close to him otherwise he is a good man.

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  11. Malawians know that Zambians are sleepy. Easy to rule. All that one need is to change one’s name by using a dead man’s name. To go further in life as Edgah Lungu instead of maintaining his own birth name of Jonathan Mutawara. Such untrustworthy character want to come back and further plunder Zambia.

  12. And we have not even delved into the gassing of citizens and gangs such Tokota on the copperbelt. All this happened under Lungu’s watch.

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