Lungu’s Eswatini land offer didn’t materialise – Mswati

Lungu’s Eswatini land offer didn’t materialise – Mswati

By Fanny Kalonda

KING Mswati’s office says it would be folly for Eswatini to entertain ownership of land that did not take off.

According to yesterday’s Times of Eswatini edition, the land Mswati gifted former president Edgar Lungu did not materialise.

The King’s Office said it cannot comment on the ownership of land that did not even materialise.

Director of Communications Percy Simelane was responding to questions from the newspaper on the alleged offer of a piece of land to Lungu.

“In no uncertain terms Dr Lungu says he was offered land by the King but did not it because of the hullabaloo that ensued in Zambia. We elected not to comment lest we dilute the sentiments of witness number one,” said Simelane. “He also says he has no properties in Eswatini. It would, therefore, be folly for us to entertain ownership of land that did not take off. The ethics of journalism dictate that once a position is stated it exists no more and cannot be a point of reference.”

On Monday, Lungu said he has no property or business in Eswatini.

Lungu, in a statement, explained that he is not surprised about the malicious allegations because the UPND government has gone to great lengths in throwing all manner of baseless accusations at him.
“A report from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) titled: ‘Swazi Secrets – a glimpse inside the tiny Kingdom’, has been brought to my attention. Further, and following this report, the minister in charge of housing and infrastructure in Zambia Mr Charles Milupi, is quoted in one of our local tabloids challenging me to explain the source of the money for my investment or properties in Eswatini. A casual read of the ICIJ report shows that the report is based on unverified information, innuendos and in many cases, utter lies. The report, inter alia, alleges that I own a luxurious property in Eswatini. The truth of the matter, however, is that I own no property in Eswatini,” he said in a statement yesterday. “During my official visit to Eswatini as head of state in 2018, the King – His Majesty Mswati III – during exchange of gifts, offered me a plot on which he proposed I could build a house. The empty plot was in a gated golf estate and architectural drawings of the proposed house were prepared. I was extremely grateful for the offer from His Majesty, King Mswati III, but I chose not to take it up particularly after the hullabaloo in Zambia, alleging that the gift was not declared. Therefore, it can clearly be seen that this is not a new allegation. It has been popping up occassionally, especially from malicious people whose fervent desire is to paint me black. I have elected to remain silent all this time out of deep respect for His Majesty, King Mswati III who made that offer in very good faith.”

Lungu said he has now been compelled to respond because “I didn’t expect a senior minister in government to throw such a challenge at me when the government – using the state machinery – can easily establish the truth of the matter”.

“I am not surprised, however, because this government has gone to great lengths in throwing all manner of baseless accusations at me. Similarly, the attack on the Zambian businessman who has settled in Eswatini for decades and has made the Kingdom his home, is clearly malicious. The Zambian government offers business opportunities and construction jobs to many international companies from different nations such as China, Turkey, Japan, South Africans, to name but a few. In this vein, Inyatsi company which is associated with Mr Michelo Shakantu has enjoyed doing business in Zambia even before I became president,” said Lungu. “His company, to my knowledge, has had footprint of business since the days of president Levy Mwanawasa to date.
It is, therefore, malicious and mischievious to suggest or portray that Mr Shakantu conducted business with the Zambian government only during my tenure as presiden

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