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Emmanuel Mwamba Condemns President Hakainde Hichilema’s Private Jet Hire, Economic Challenges Persist in Zambia

Ambassador Emmanuel Mwamba has issued a post on his Facebook page condemning the actions of President Hakainde Hichilema, pointing out various issues that have caused public concern in Zambia.

The first issue raised by Mwamba is the hiring of a private jet by the government to fly President Hichilema to a SADC meeting in Namibia. Despite promising to reduce the cost and frequency of travel, President Hichilema has taken over 30 international trips in 16 months. The use of a private jet has raised questions about the President’s commitment to his promises.

The second issue is the recent increase in the pump prices of petroleum products by the Energy Regulation Board (ERB), which has caused a record hike in the prices of diesel, petrol, kerosene and jet A-1 fuel. This is likely to impact the economy, as Zambia is an import-oriented country.

The third issue is the termination of the concession contract for the management of the Dry Port Facility at Walvis Bay by the government due to alleged poor performance and underutilization of the facility. This decision has raised questions about the government’s involvement in business interests, especially in light of their past actions and compensation payouts for canceled concession contracts.

The fourth issue is the announcement of record profits by ABSA Zambia, which has contributed to the treasury, but the Auditor General’s report has revealed irregularities and poor performance among parastatal bodies and statutory institutions. The report showed a total of K3.4 billion in irregularities, including failure to remit statutory obligations and failure to collect revenue.

The fifth issue is the continuous depreciation of the Kwacha against major currencies, which has lost value from K16 to K19.2 per U$1 in just three months and has become one of the worst-performing currencies in the world. This will further impact the economy negatively.

Finally, the rising mealie prices and the anticipation of a poor harvest and crop failure due to the late distribution of farming inputs and the outbreak of army worms, has led to concerns about food security and increased cases of hunger among vulnerable and rural communities. Vice President W.K. Mutale Nalumango’s advice to resort to roller meal, a cheaper but more nutritious option, has been criticized as reminding Zambians of remarks made by former Patriotic Front Chairperson, Ng’onga Mukupa, during a similar crisis.

The Facebook post by Ambassador Emmanuel Mwamba has brought to light several pressing issues in Zambia, and it remains to be seen how the government will address these concerns.