Allow me to express my disappointment with what is happening at the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU). The union is on a death bed, it’s actually dead. All that is remaining is a shell of what it used to be. Staff have gone for a number of months without salaries and there is a backlog of unpaid debt owed to suppliers of goods and services, as well as gratuities owed to employees whose contracts expired.
It is unfortunate that the general public were made to believe that there was massive funds embezzlement at ZNFU by suspended CEO – Ndambo Ndambo and the late ZNFU president Dr. Evelyn Nguleka but that is far from the truth.
The truth of the matter, which the general public are not aware of, is that there is tribal purging at ZNFU just like in government departments. Tonga staff and to some extent Lozis are being hounded out of the institution.
Ndambo’s deputy, Ellah Chembe, and one of the senior managers at ZNFU, Florence Phiri, started scheming against Ndambo way before the audits at ZNFU were conducted. These two staff working with former ZNFU executive director, Edward S Zyambo, some board members and some donors decided they had seen enough of Ndambo and wanted him out. And now that Ndambo was suspended they have gone flat out hounding out all those perceived to be Ndambo’s allies.
Ndambo promoted the 2 female staff to top management positions even when they didn’t deserve it but they turned around and ‘stabbed him in the back.’ All the negative reports in the Daily Nation Newspaper against Ndambo and the former ZNFU 1st Vice President Richard Lisimba, who acted as president following the resignation of Dr. Nguleka, were a creation of these two evil and tribal women who are currently leading the ZNFU. The 2 worked with Richard Sakala of the daily nation to portray a picture that Ndambo employed his fellow Tongas and that they dominate the institution. Everyone knows that Richard Sakala is a damn wako-ni-wako tribalist and anything against Tongas is music to his ears, so he agreed to publish the lies.
The lies in the Daily Nation led to the rejection of Lisimba when he contested to be President at the ZNFU annual congress held last year and farmers re-elected Jervis Zimba instead. Jervis Zimba has also been hoodwinked into believing that staff from Ndambo’s tribe (Tongas) are against him. So he has also fallen for the idea that Ellah Chembe and Florence Phiri should lead the institution.
Ellah Chembe is an economist with very little agricultural knowhow while Florence Phiri has a mere certificate in nutrition, but these are the people who are currently heading the ZNFU after Ndambo got suspended.
You will realise that this is a cartel of people from Eastern Province who wanted Ndambo out so that they could install themselves as ZNFU bosses and they have achieved it. Staff who hail from Southern Province and are perceived to be Ndambo’s sympathisers have either been hounded out or frustrated to the extent that they have left the institution on their own.
The ZNFU has been the most organised and most successful farmers body in the whole of Africa since the late 90s but it is now certainly headed for total collapse. Having been a member and witnessing the Union grow since the late 90s, It hurts to see what has happened to the once mighty Farmers’ Union.
Tribalism has ‘killed’ ZNFU