Power and Politics

PF chieftain, Lusambo, alleges mealie meal imports a ploy to bring in GMOs, wants Agric Minister sacked


The sudden and critical shortage of mealie meal in Zambia is a ploy by government to begin importing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) commodity, says the opposition Patriotic Front (PF).

PF member, Bowman Lusambo, said this move was risking the lives of the consumers.

Lusambo said it was not the responsibility of the government to source for mealie meal from outside the country to satisfy the demand in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

He alleged that the importation of the commodity was but a ploy by the government to start importing GMO mealie meal from South Africa after having exported all the maize stock from 2019 to 2022 seasons.

Read more: Manufacturers decry govt plans to import mealie meal, fear it will hurt local millers

“It is shocking that soon after assuming power in 2021, the United Party for National Development (UPND) administration embarked on selling the maize the governing party had inherited from the PF which had covered about three seasons from 2019 to 2022,” Lusambo said in an interview on Monday.

He recalled that when the PF was leaving government, Zambia had enough maize stocks but the UPND decided to sell all the grain with the claim that there were still adequate stocks of the staple food in the country.

“The problem is that the UPND think that Zambians are dull and they would not know that they are trying to sneak in GMO mealie meal in this country.

“The UPND upon getting into power decided to sale all the maize they had inherited from the PF against clear advice by the opposition. Now a crisis has been created and the government is trying to use the shortage of mealie meal to sneak in the GMO mealie meal,” Lusambo said.

Also read: Govt moves to avert shortages of mealie meal, opens borders to imports

Lusambo said DRC had always been importing GMO mealie-meal from South Africa and that the demand on Zambian mealie meal had always been there but wondered why government had taken upon themselves to start importing GMO mealie meal on behalf of the neighbouring countries.

He said when PF was still in power, the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) was clearing millions of trucks with GMO maize from South Africa detained for DRC but that did not call the Zambian government to start facilitating imports on their behalf.

Lusambo asked President Hakainde Hichilema to immediately dismiss his Agriculture Minister Mtolo Phiri because according to him, the agriculture had completely been messed up.

He said government had no right to import mealie meal on behalf of the country’s neighbours and that the new dawn administration should admit it had lamentably failed to govern the country.

Lusambo said the UPND government knew that Zambians were about to revolt because of the current shortage of mealie-meal and had decided to import the mealie meal in an attempt to satisfy the local market with GMOs.

He stated that there was no doubt that the imported GMO mealie meal being imported would certainly end up into Zambians’ households.

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