Pterocarpus Soyauxii ‘Mukula’ Export saga deepens, raises more questions than answers

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*Mukula tree botanically called Pterocarpus soyauxii, the African padauk or African coralwood, is a species of Pterocarpus in the family Fabaceae, native to central and tropical west Africa, from Nigeria east to Congo-Kinshasa and south to Angola. The tree has attracted global demand especially from the Chinese as the wood is used in the manufacture of the AK-47 butt and other hardwood tree purposes.

STATE CRAFT is needed in running a nation; a deeper understanding of the collective psyche of the people being led. As the year 2017 comes to an end, we are seeing the government coming under more scrutiny. This scrutiny when coming from an opposition party structures is at most times treated with suspicion, because of the inherent interest that the opposition party have of replacing the current government.

But as the year 2017 comes to a close, the current Patriotic Front Government is coming under heavy scrutiny not just from the opposition UPND, PEP and recently formed NDC, but also from within its own structures. Former National Planning Minister Lucky Mukusa broke rank and condemned his own government’s official statements and questioned the seriousness of the PF governments ability to implement a performance management system that removes impunity from government officers.

Even ordinary citizens and PF sympathizers are now beginning to question the integrity and quality of decisions of the current Government. This is perhaps a clearest signal that there are moral and integrity issues that are leading to these internal discontent that has now spilled over to the general public.

In the past week, a video went viral which showed what was reported to be some Chinese nationals supervising Zambian Prisoners contracted to load the much talked about and valuable Mukula tree into truck containers to be exported out of Zambia. This was in the background of an announced national ban on export of the Mukula logs by Lands and Natural Resources Minister Jean Kapata.

Then about two days ago, members of the Patriotic Front Youths Wing effected a citizens arrest and intercepted about 9 trucks laden with the banned Mukula logs which were destined for export via Chirundu border. It was also reported that some opposition UPND youths had earlier effected a similar citizens arrest of other trucks laden with the Mukula logs. Videos have been shared and have gone viral on Facebook and other social media’s messaging platforms like what’s app.

This was followed by Home Affairs Minister Steven Kampyongo issuing a statement followed by the Defence Ministry issuing another statements, both statements from the top government officials contained information which raised more Questions than Answers. This matter is now officially a saga, a scandal which if not cleared, has the potential to cause permanent damage and complete loss of trust for most citizens in the government. Any leadership that people support derives it’s Authority from some credible level of public trust.

Below are the questions that this export saga has raised that need urgent responses and clearing before loss of public and even ordinary sympathizers of PF regime trust:

  1. As per media statement by the Defense Permanent Secretary Stardy Mwale that ZAFFICO was mandated to Auction the logs, why was the Auction of the confiscated Mukula logs not done publicly, why were local Zambians not invited to participate in the Auction?
  2. The media statement and video from Home Affairs Minister, Steven Kampyongo on the response to the citizens arrest saw the minister directly threaten the “whistle blower” PF youths with unspecified action, why was the minister so incensed on a matter which his government could have easily cleared if there is nothing to hide?
  3. The export of the confiscated Mukula logs was kept away from the public eye, the trucks carrying the logs had Government vehicle escorts, a fete that even more valuable copper does not receive, why all the secrecy if the deal was done above par?
  4. The Defense PS said that the Auction was done by Zaffico in China, why not do the Auction in Zambia when we are the same country that recently moved the auction of emeralds into Zambia to curtail illegal exports?
  5. What is the true value of the Mukula log, at what price was the auction done compared to the market price as this is were allegation of under-pricing to get kick backs come in?

Dear reader, please add your questions to make sure that if there is corruption involved, the people behind it are made to account.

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1 COMMENT

  1. God in His omniscient and omnipotent way blessed Africa with the most natural resources from inorganic (precious stones) to the most organic (animals , peoples and trees), for beauty and for self substance. Interestingly through our intellectual laziness and self-fishiness others peoples have convinced us that we are like animals and don’t deserve the blessings God have us. So we allow people who eat snakes and dogs to loot our resources (Rhinos and elephants, now Mukula), while we fill our churches every Sunday to ask God to improve or bless our lives. Its a mental and cultural curse only God will one day explain to me.

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