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THE SALE OF ZAMBIA AIRWAYS WAS A CRIME – TRUE OR FALSE?

ABLOGGER has decried the sale of Zambia Airways as a crime against the people of Zambia by the Movement for Multiparty Democracy government popularly known as the MMD. 

To justify his accusation, the blogger has listed all the properties that Zambia Airways owned which really meant that the airline was not insolvent or bankrupt at the time of its disposal.

Came across this post and I have nothing but tears and a very broken heart.

1. Did you know that Zambia Airways had more than 155 housing units scattered throughout Zambia, mostly in the upmarket areas of Lusaka?

2. Did you know that Ndeke House currently Ministry of Health headquarters was Zambia Airways property hence the name?

3. Did you know that the currently Electoral Commission of Zambia office headquarters belonged to Zambia Airways?

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4. Did you know that the offices where the Auditor General is was the property of Zambia Airways?

5. Did you know that Ndeke Hotel was owned by Zambia Airways hence the name?

6. Did you know that Aircrew Residence now Crismar Hotel belonged to Zambia Airways?

7. Did you know that the hangar maintenance at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport was the property of Zambia Airways?

8. Did you know that Zambia Airways had properties in *Queens area of New York City where most billionaires have properties?*

9. Zambia Airways had a two-storeyed building in Piccadilly in the heart of London

10. Zambia Airways had properties in Hendon area of London where most diplomats live?

11. Did you know that Zambia Airways had properties in RSA, India, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Kenya, Swaziland and many other countries?

12. Did you know that Zambia Airways had shares in hotels in Mauritius and Cyprus?

13.  Did you know that at i’s peak in the 1980s Zambia Airways had more than 67 percent market share in Zambia?

14. Did you know that Zambia Airways was the second best performing airline in Africa, the reason why it was allowed to fly into New York?

15. Did you know that Zambia Airways was the lead airline on routes Lusaka to Johannesburg, Lusaka to London, Lusaka to Nairobi, Lusaka to Bombay?

16. Did you know that Zambia Airways had paid more than US$30 million from US$48 million leaving a balance of US$17 million on the DC10 aircraft the “Nkwazi’ before it was grabbed at London Heathrow Airport?

17. Did you know that Zambia Airways liquidation was voluntary and not forced by creditors?

19. Did you know that at its peak in the 1980s Zambia Airways had a work force of more than 3, 600?

20. Did you that the first Air Malawi pilot was trained by Zambia Airways?

21. Did you know that the first indigenous Zimbabwean pilots were trained by Zambia Airways?

23. Did you know that Zambia Airways trained more than 125 commercial pilots costing the airline more than US$50 million?

24. Did you know that Zambia Airways trained many aeronautical engineers to some of the best schools in the world including Northrop University, USA?

25. Did you know that the Senior Design Engineer on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a Zambian, an ex-Zambia Airways Aeronautical Engineer?

With these impressive investments, was there any justification to sell Zambia Airways?

What the airline required was a reorganisation to curtail the abuse by government officials that was rampant during the UNIP administration. The airline had the potential to grow the aviation industry in Zambia and make the country the hub for central and southern Africa.

The lamentation about Zambia Airways immediately raises worries about the rumours surrounding the future of Zesco.

It has been alleged that the privatisation of Zesco may be one of the conditions of obtaining a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund.

Many Zambians feel that Government should not accede to that demand; and they have given a lot of justifications.

The major justification is that 90 percent of the power generation is by hydropower which uses our water and that all the major power stations at Kafue Gorge, Kariba North Bank and Victoria Falls were funded by the government.

Funding of the construction of power stations by government means that taxpayers’ money was invested in the provision of electricity in the country. It is therefore an injustice to surrender public investment to foreign private capital the opponents of privatisation are saying.

They explain that the Kafue Gorge Power Station was built through a World Bank loan which the government is still servicing. This power station they say is a complex design which involved the building of two dams lying 400 kilometres apart.

The main reservoir; the Itezhi-Tezhi Dam lies in the Kafue National Park. This dam holds water for generation of power at Kafue Gorge Power Station 400 kilometres downstream. A coffer dam was built near the power station to raise the head and achieve the kinetic energy required to power the turbines.

Similarly, the Kariba Dam was built through a loan obtained from the World Bank by the then Federal Government of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. At the time of independence, the Central African Power Corporation (CAPCO) was split between Zambia and Rhodesia and the liabilities were shared proportionately. Each country developed a power station with Zambia developing the Kariba North Bank Power Station under its own company. But the management of the Kariba Dam still remains in the hands of both countries through the Zambezi River Authority.

All the other smaller hydropower stations at Lusiwasi, Chishimba Falls, Lunzua Falls, and Musonda Falls have all been developed with public resources.

For this reason, many people feel that Zesco should not be sold into foreign hands.

“Why should a foreigner come and use our water and equipment acquired with public resources to generate electricity, sell it to us, and then externalise his profits, they ask.”

“If any foreigners want to participate in the energy sector let them come and develop their own power stations, whether solar or hydro.”

It is indeed really painful that the World Bank and IMF would like to see Africans owning nothing. Selling our national assets and resources to foreigners means that we shall always remain consumers. It is imperative that the government must think of more innovative ways of putting the ownership of national assets into Zambians hands. There are many qualified engineers and MBA graduates who can run electricity utilities in the country given the necessary support and environment by Government.

I think it is incumbent upon the young generation to decide whether the sale of Zambia Airways must be repeated in the country.

On my part, I do agree with the blogger and I have always considered the sale of Zambia Airways and Konkola Copper Mines as the worst economic crimes committed by politicians against Zambians.

Prevention is better than cure.

*pentvision@gmail.com, 
ecchipalo@icloud.com,  
ecchipalo@yahoo.co.uk

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