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Ex-Zambia President Edgar Lungu on Hakainde Hichilema’s neck over mealie meal scarcity

FORMER President Edgar Lungu has advised the UPND government to consider engaging private millers who have over the years worked with successive governments in managing the mealie meal market if the current crisis of Zambians queuing for the staple food has to be resolved.

And former President Lungu has said the Zambia National Service (ZNS) was never meant to take over the production and trading in the mealie meal market but the project was merely meant to supplement the private sector.

Commenting for the first time on the continued scarcity of the ZNS Eagle mealie meal which Zambians are now queuing and stampeding for, former President Lungu said ZNS had never had the capacity whatsoever to produce and meet the demand of the country’s staple food.

He said during his tenure as President, there were regular meetings with the private millers and grain traders to discuss how best to manage the mealie meal industry and that the private sector had always provided the best solutions.

Former President Lungu said under his administration, there was never a time when the country had a shortage of mealie meal and that because of the relationship government had with the private sector, the prices of mealie meal were always stable and affordable to citizens.

“When late President Michael Sata warned that we should never bring people into government who should do job on training, he meant every word. Zambians elected a leader who is learning how to govern but unfortunately, he is a slow learner. Even the few people that he listens to are also new and slow learners and this is the price we are paying for inexperience,” former President Lungu said.

“The ZNS was intended to supplement the efforts of the private milling sector and never meant to take over the market. Truth be told, ZNS has no capacity whatsoever to produce mealie meal and meet national demand.

Government should consider engaging private millers who have from time immemorial worked with successive governments to resolve the mealie meal crisis. Zambians are now being subjected to queuing for staple food in this day and era…it is unacceptable and should never have been allowed,” he said.

He recalled that the ZNS milling progeramme was mooted by the PF government whose original blueprint was not to take over the milling business market, warning that things could get worse than what was currently obtaining.

“It is a no brainer that the PF mooted the programme but ZNS was never designed to stifle the private sector. For me, it is not a surprise that we are where we are with citizens queuing up for mealie meal.

Even Dr Webster Chabe, the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Pastor has told him (President Hakainde Hichilema) to wake up because there is a real crisis of hunger in rural communities where this ZNS Eagle mealie meal is not distributed. I hope he will listen,” former President Lungu said.


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Robert Ngwira
Robert Ngwira
Attended Our Future Private Secondary School in Rumphi from 2006-2009 Holder of Diploma in Journalism from Malawi Institute of Journalism (MIJ) Hobbies, reading newspapers, going out with friends, listening to radio and watching football. Email:


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