4 January 2021
The UPND is shocked by the revelations made in a statement on 4 January 2021 by the ZAF Director of Public Relations and Foreign Liaison Colonel M. Kasoma with regards to the Gulfstream G-650 Presidential Jet, also known as the Ferrari of the Sky.
In an attempt to rebuke President Hakainde Hichilema’s commitment to sell this scandalous aircraft, the Colonel advised that one of the reasons the aircraft cannot be sold is that it was acquired through a contract with the Ministry of Defence and bought ON CHARGE on the ZAF inventory.
The statement that the Presidential Jet was acquired using a loan, which was charged against the inventory of ZAF, essentially means that all ZAF inventory (i.e. Aircrafts, Helicopters and other equipment) was pledged as collateral to obtain the loan.
If Zambia were to default on its loan obligations regarding this loan, the creditor would legally be able to enforce their rights against ZAF assets, and repossess them for sale.
This kind of reckless public spending by the Patriotic Front (PF) regime has placed all of Zambia’s Air Defence capabilities at risk.
Further, in the context of current Debt Crisis, where the Ministry of Finance has publicly announced that it is no longer servicing any External Debt obligations to ensure all creditors are treated on a Pari-Passu basis, we are left to wonder if we have indeed already defaulted, or the Ministry of Finance has been secretly and selectively servicing certain debt obligations.
We note that the acquisition of the G650 Presidential Jet, under an aggregate contract amount speculated at $400m, has come at a huge cost to critical sectors such as health, education, agriculture and skills development for the youth.
In order to put the minds of Zambians at ease, we demand that the PF government confirms if indeed that statement issued by the Colonel is to be read and understood as is, and that Zambia’s Defence capabilities have been compromised.
The Ministry of Finance must also confirm if the loan related to the Presidential Jet is included within the loans which the Government has stopped servicing.
The UPND and indeed President Hakainde Hichilema remains committed to realigning all public spending priorities and reallocating resources to priority sectors such as Education and Health.
We further encourage the Zambian people to remain vigilant and hold the PF government to account or we will have nothing left of our own as a nation once the PF departs public office.
UPND Presidential Spokesperson.