YOU can’t believe this; there is a mafia kind of arrangement in this country and if we don’t stop it, Zambia will become ungovernable, warns Mwenya Musenge.
In an interview, Musenge bemoaned the deeply entrenched corruption in the country stating that even the Head of State Edgar Lungu was not helping matters.
He said corruption in Zambia was worse and agreed with PF Roan member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili when he talked about corruption in the PF.
“And I know that Kambwili is putting his life in danger, even myself I know I am putting my life in danger by revealing this but I would rather I am killed for telling nothing else but the truth. Posterity will judge is harshly as a nation,” Musenge said.
He said he was saying this not out of frustration or bitterness.
Musenge recounted and revealed details on dealings involving some leaders and investors over some mine operations in Chingola.
He recalled a story in the The Post story about China Copper Mines in Chingola in which Chilufya Tayali alleged he [Musenge] and Christopher Yaluma were given US$ 2 million by the Chinese.
“There was that battle. In fact, that China Copper Mine is in Chingola in Kasompe. That was the major issue that caused me to be decampaigned in Chimwemwe. Edgar Lungu, abena Kaizer Zulu na bantu babo babombeshe sana…,” he explained.
Musenge, a former PF Copperbelt minister, said the Mwanawasa administration decided that Jerabos form a cooperative and a consortium, Mimbula Fitula Consortium, was created.
He explained that the Mimbula Fitula Consortium was then given five dumps and an open pit.
“Now that those dumps were later sold to the Chinese at between $4 million and $5 million. The transaction was spearheaded by former minister Maxwell Mwale. All the documentations were there. Those people (Chinese) paid US$4 million from the onset and there was a balance of about US$1 million,” Musenge explained. “So when we formed government as PF, we found that these people had not paid the US$1 million…And there was another company, Donalds, who were given a mining licence by Ministry of Mines and it was irregular how those things were given.”
The former PF central committee member, who is now National Democratic Congress party interim leader, said Yamfwa Mukanga was minister at the time and was brought on board.
He said Mukanga even visited the site.
Musenge said at the time of the visit, the Chinese had put up massive investment and employed over three hundred workers.
He said at Tikumbe and Donalds, there were no activities.
“But they had licences and the Chinese were saying but these were part of what we got and they produced the documents showing that all the five dumps were theirs. So ba Yamfwa went and cancelled those licences and ordered the Chinese to pay the balance to Mimbula Fitula. The Chinese paid that money and they got those dumps. Unfortunately, ba [president Michael] Sata moved ba Yamfwa, bababwekesha ku works and supply, ku mines kwaisa ba Yaluma. From nowhere, God knows, ba Yaluma reversed the transaction. Why he did that, God knows. But now we are able to see that there was a lot of money that exchanged hands…I went to see him and asked him why he did such a thing. After a lengthy discussion with him, he reversed one and left the Tikumbe one for the Neria guys,” Musenge explained. “You can’t believe this, you know there is a mafia kind of arrangement in this country and if we don’t stop this thing, this country will become ungovernable. Because the mafias will take over my brother.”
He said he was at some point suspected to be an impediment to the transactions.
“So what they did was, the first person they went to see was Given Lubinda, because they heard that he was very close to me, promising that they would do this and this for me. Given Lubinda came to me…I explained everything to him and he became scared and he said but ‘Musenge you are doing the right thing’ and he said ‘no, no, no, mwana just proceed with what you are doing’. From there, they went and brought Mwaliteta,” Musenge said. “Mwaliteta also came on the same, trying to convince me but I said ‘no’. We argued until he convinced me to just meet them. They later told me to go to their home but I refused. I think that story was carried by The Post. I gave that story to one of the girls at The Post then. Next they sent Chimumbwa. He came to pick me up and took me to those Arabs. We discussed and discussed…I challenged them, suppose this thing, it was you in the Chinese’s position, because all documentation was straightforward. I told them that ‘I don’t see why you want to grab this thing’,” Musenge explained.
“It was hell for those Chinese. But later, it was discovered that nabobene ba [Copperbelt minister Bowman] Lusambo was involved in those issues. And the money was exchanging hands. So from there, those guys chartered a plane to the Copperbelt, they landed at Southdown airport in Kalulushi wanting to meet me at Moba Hotel. I refused. From there, they moved into a mission to make sure that I was going to be decampaigned in Chimwemwe. And they used abena Kaizer Zulu with some State House staff who came and camped at a farm in Kitwe, near Kamfinsa. They met my councilors no kubapela impiya [and gave them money] and sent them to go down to decampaign me in Chimwemwe. They wanted to make sure that I was out in spite of the works I had done and they succeeded.”
He said President Lungu was not helping the situation.
“So whatever is happening right now, Edgar Chagwa Lungu is not helping us. Because if there is anything that is happening at State House, it’s nothing but crooked transactions,” Musenge charged.
“And it’s very unfortunate because when you assume that highest office, you are there to protect the integrity of the nation and therefore you are supposed to live above board and ba Edgar Lungu is not living above board.”
He said he became unpopular in the PF because of being straightforward over the Mimbulu Fitula matter.
Musenge said because he put his foot down, he briefed President Lungu on the whole issue.
“One day we were at the Presidential guesthouse in Kitwe. Kambwili was there, ba Yamfwa Mukanga was there, Paul Katema was there. Katema was area member of parliament for Chingola where he had this issue. So we brought up this issue and the President said ‘my name has been dragged into this issue for China Copper Mine, I don’t even know these people’ and I told him, ‘Mr President these Chinese are being frustrated after putting up so much investments and after acquiring these dumps in a normal way and it seems we are failing to make a decision’. So he said ‘I have never seen any documents over this. So I said okay, Mr President, let me call them [Chinese] and ask them to bring a file so that you look at them. I phoned them and they said they were ready,” he said.
Musenge explained that a file was brought to the Presidential lodge but Zulu intercepted them and grabbed the file promising to deliver it to him.
“That document was given to Kaizer Zulu. And Kaizer Zulu instead of bringing it inside, he went and hid it in his vehicle outside. Then we kept on waiting and we saw this file was not coming so I decided to call and those people [Chinese] said ‘we have already delivered’. Then I asked who had taken it. I asked the front desk officers, they said they had not seen it. I asked Amos [Chanda], he said he was not aware of it. I asked Kaizer and he said but that document, ‘if it has entered, now it is State House document’, so what are you talking about? I said, no, no no, that document is supposed to come into my hands and I hand it over to the President,” Musenge narrated. “He said no that’s not how we operate. So I called the secretary to the President, I said ‘Madam, have you seen this file?’ She said ‘I have not seen it’. That’s when Amos tipped me to say ‘just ask Kaizer. He is the one who knows about that document’. So as I was going outside, I met my messenger, who told me Kaizer has just jumped into his vehicle and they saw him reading the file and he had left. That’s how they disappeared with that file.”
He explained that he informed President Lungu about what had happened to the file but that instead of phoning Zulu, he simply said “how can Kaizer do such a thing? Anyway it’s okay we will ask him to bring the file in the morning tomorrow.”
“In the morning, this issue was not tabled. The President could not say anything. I realise that I think I am trying to force something that was well calculated and these people know what they wanted to do. From that day, I never spoke about that issue again. This is the type of governance that we have,” Musenge said.
“We are being forced to say some of these things so that the Zambian people know that it is not out of frustration but it is out of the bad habits and bad ways of running this government and some of us are now beginning to come out.”
He said Chinese investors in Zambia were finding it very difficult to work because money was being extorted from them.
“The Chinese are paying through their noses for them to operate in Zambia. They cannot work without them being asked to cough out money every now and then. Tuli mubwafya ubukalamba sana,” said Musenge.