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There is no maize scandal – State House

KELVIN CHONGO, Lusaka
PRESIDENT Lungu allowed the export of 100,000 metric tonnes of maize to Malawi following that country’s President Peter Mutharika’s request, State House has said.
Special assistant to the President for press and public relations Amos Chanda said yesterday, however, that Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya and the Zambian government were not involved in the export of maize to Malawi.
Mr Chanda was speaking at a press briefing at State House in Lusaka.
“There is no scandal whatsoever on the maize export. If at all there is any problem about maize exports from Zambia to Malawi, it is on the Malawian side,” he said.
Mr Chanda said Profesor Mutharika had informed President Lungu that there was no wrongdoing on the Zambian side and that there were some controversies on the Malawian side.
He said Ms Siliya did not played any role in any scandal and that what Zambia did was simply responding to the special request by President Mutharika by waiving the export ban that was in place to allow for the export of 100,000 tonnes of maize to Malawi.
“The process was agreed between the buyers and the sellers, in this case Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF), and the Zambian government has nothing to do with that,” Mr Chanda said.
He said the report by a commission of inquiry in Malawi had mentioned Ms Siliya without even talking to her, which is misguided.
“It must be noted that President Lungu similarly allowed maize exports to Democratic Republic of Congo at the special request of President Joseph Kabila,” he said.
Mr Chanda said it is misguided for some people to try and gain political mileage by dragging the names of President Lungu and Ms Siliya into the Malawi issue.
He said President Mutharika sent his envoy, the Malawian Minister of Agriculture, to meet President Lungu.
And Mr Chanda says former MMD president and now United Party for National Development (UPND) sympathiser Nevers Mumba has fallen from the great height of being republican vice-president for him to fail to understand how Government is run.
He said Dr Mumba must be smarting from immense embarrassment caused by his criticism of the visit of the King of Morocco to Zambia recently.
“I guess in Morocco there is laughter at the ignorance of the former pastor, Dr Nevers Mumba,” he said.
International media reported at the weekend that President Muhamadu Buhari of Nigeria made a phone call to the Moroccan King Mohammed VI, who commands immense respect among African leaders.

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