It’s certainly not right at law and otherwise for the Commandant and deputy Commandant of Zambia National Service (ZNS) to hold shares in their own names in ZNS owned companies.

Shares in ZNS run Eagles Holdings Limited are held by the Commandant and his deputy.

We agree with Mr. Dickson Jere’s opposition to the maner in which ZNS is doing business. Public assets can not be held and managed in this way. This is too much power being given to two employees of ZNS to literally do as they please. The two are the sole shareholders and directors of ZNS companies.

Whatever personal relationship they may have with the President or the Minister of Defence, this is unacceptable and unjustifiable. It’s a recipe for corruption and gross abuse.

Let us help build incorruptible systems that will help us develop this country and give our people a better life regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or political affiliation.

It is also important for our political leaders and citizens to fully understand the purpose, nature, and meaning of defence industries. Without a clear understanding of the concept of defence industries, corruption and other abuses will set in, and those involved may have to face charges and possible prosecutions when there’s a regime change.

The military should not be made to focus on business lines that our people, with a bit of support, can easily engage in. The military should focus more on businesses that advance or promote the defending of our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
It’s not about just making money. Once we lose it and dangle a carrot in front of them, the military will end up forgetting their role of defence and start thinking more about making money for themselves or their families and when sent to the battle field they will not concentrate because they will be thinking more about their assets and investments and fail to fight.

The military worldwide run investments or industries that directly benefit them. For example, ammunition, weapons, armoured vehicles, manufacturing of military uniforms, and so on and so forth. It is important to note here that the military will grow and diversify their businesses only when their main business lines have matured. The primary business is then sustained by the development of secondary businesses.

The crisis Zambia finds itself in today can only be resolved quickly by the government paying attention to the empowerment of the private citizens and not ZNS.

Then what is the role of the Ministry of Defence businesses? The answer from me would be: defence industries provide governments with military capabilities across the naval, land, aerospace, and electronic systems domains in support of current and future defence and military requirements.

The orientation of ZNS businesses seems to be veering away from this conception, and the ending can be disastrous. Yes, we need military industries – and it’s very difficult to develop a country without military industries or businesses, but not the ZNS inherently corrupt way.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party


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