President Edgar Lungu ha
s secretly contracted an Ethiopian businessman to import military attire from Eritrea, Somalia and Ethiopia.
Military sources have disclosed to the Watchdog that Lungu has contracted Netsanet Mengistu, the owner of Lusaka based Blue Nile Inns to supply boots, caps and other clothing for Zambian soldiers.
The contract is not a one off assignment but will be a running agreement to supply the attire as need arises.
Sources say Lungu, who is also minister of defence gave Mengistu the contract without following government procurement procedures.
The contract is said to be payment for Mengistu’s support to Lungu during the PF presidential adoption process in the presidential by-election.
Most of the meetings and press conferences by the Lungu faction during the fight to succeed Michael Sata were held at Blue Nile Inns along Alick Nkhata road just behind the UN building but before ZNBC.
Sources at Blue Nile Inns have revealed that Lungu’s faction was being hosted mostly for free. In addition to hosting the meetings for free, Mengistu gave Lungu money for operations and mobilised more funds from Ethiopians in Zambia. (There is also an Ethiopian woman involved . But that is a story for another day, suffice to say Ester Lungu should bookmark this page for details).
According to government sources, Lungu is ‘cutting’ a lot of corrupt deals using or in the name of the defence and security forces and that is why he has decided to retain the position of defence minister.
Just recently, the government attempted to hide the $193 million loan it agreed to borrow from a Chinese weapons manufacturer, Poly Technologies, a unit of Beijing-based China Poly Group Corp.
On the Ethiopian deal, military sources fear that Zambia is being opened to terrorism and all sorts of unwanted evil forces.
The Horn of Africa, in particular Eritrea and Somalia, where Lungu and Mengistu will import these military attires is considered a breeding ground for terrorism and there are many terrorist networks operating in the region There are several inter and intra state conflicts going on and it is feared that such attire would be procured from conflict zones at cheaper prices. A source explained that in an effort to make huge profits out of the deal, Mengisutu is most likely going to buy the products from war lords in Eritrea and Somalia. In turn, Zambian money will help sustain the wars in the region, perpetuate raping of women, maiming children and fund terrorist operations elsewhere in the world.
The Watchdog has always predicted and hereby repeats the prediction that Lungu’s imprisonment when he leaves office would arise from his corrupt activities in the ministry of defence. It is safe to guess that people like Mengisutu will disappear into some no fly zones in Somalia.
We shall wait, like we have always done.