Chishala hits back at ZNFU, tells them to clean their house

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An Eastern Province-based tobacco farmer Chilufya Chishala has accused the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) of trying to bring the corruption that is allegedly rife in their union to the tobacco industry.

ZNFU had in a statement accused him of being a rabble rouser purporting to speak on behalf of farmers.

But in response, Chishala said ZNFU has no standing to speak about issues relating to the tobacco industry because the majority of tobacco farmers are not their members.

“The Zambia National Farmers Union does not represent the majority of the Tobacco growers in the country. The majority of tobacco farmers are small scale farmers who affiliate to regional associations and are not members of the ZNFU. 

“In what capacity is ZNFU responding to the concerns we raised as farmers regarding the industry. If you go through the records ZNFU has not participated in the review of the issues affecting the industry which started in 2013. They don’t participate in our issues because they are not part of us. 

“ZNFU is just an association just like any other association, it is not a quasi government institution, its a member based association and the majority of tobacco growers in the country are not members. I am speaking on behalf of thousands small scale farmers who are being oppressed in their own country for many years by these merchants,” he said.

He said the interest of ZNFU was to protect commercial farmers at the expense of majority farmers.

He said the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture whom the union is trying to protect was not appointed to take care of his interest but that of Zambians. 

“The interest of ZNFU is to protect TAZ which is a white commercial farmers’ association. ZNFU should realise that the Permanent Secretary who they are trying to protect was appointed by the President to represent the interest of government and it’s people not a few individuals. He was not appointed to represent the interests of his associates whom he met at ZNFU or his personal gain, we will not allow that.

“ZNFU should stop bringing their corruption to the tobacco industry. Instead of disparaging people who are trying to bring sanity in the tobacco industry so that small scale farmers are treated with dignity, ZNFU should clean its house first. Zambians need answers from ZNFU on many corruption scandals involving the donor funds at the union,” he said 

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31