The statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs appears to omit the main reason why the President of the Republic of Zambia is travelling to South Africa tomorrow. As the advert alongside the message shows, the purpose of the President’s trip is to go and launch a book written by a private person who happens to be his friend named Greg Mills.
Mills is the CEO of the Brenthurst Foundation, a Johannesburg-based organisation established by the Oppenheimer family, the founders of Anglo American Plc, in 2004. This Foundation is widely believed to have bankrolled the UPND campaigns in the last few elections. Is the President repaying a little of the favour?
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the President’s visit is a two-day working visit and that the President will pay a courtesy call on South African President President Cyril Ramaphosa. By definition, a courtesy call is a by the way. It is a call or visit made out of politeness. So, what exactly is the purpose of President Hichilema’s trip to South Africa if the meeting with President Ramaphosa is only a by the way? Is the meeting with President Ramaphosa a mere cover up for his private pursuits, especially that SADC leaders only recently met in Malawi to discuss the security situation in the region?
Is this the best way to use public resources and time: galavanting all over South Africa to promote the commercial interests of the President’s non-Zambian associates? Is it justified to travel to another country using taxpayers’ resources (office, money, time, etc) to physically promote the commercial interests of private entities even if they may have helped fund one’s election campaigns?
Doesn’t this make it plain who the power brokers in the new government are? Is this the beginning of State Capture?
Zambia, we can surely do better than this!