Corruption allegations force Zambia Foreign Minister to quit

On Tuesday, the presidency of Zambia, a southern African nation, confirmed that Foreign Minister Stanley Kakubo had tendered his resignation amid controversy over a business deal with a Chinese businessman.

Mr. Kakubo, who had been appointed as the foreign minister in September 2021, wrote a letter to announce his decision to resign, attributing it to malicious allegations stemming from a business transaction.

His resignation was preceded by the widespread dissemination of a video on social media platforms, which depicted two individuals counting large amounts of money in bundles on a table.

In addition, an image of a note written and signed by hand surfaced on the internet, implying a payment of $100,000 between a mining company from China and a mining company from Zambia.

The note included the names of Mr. Kabuko and a Mr. Zang, but it did not provide any other details about the nature or purpose of the transaction.

China has a significant presence and influence in Zambia’s mining sector, which is a crucial part of the economy of the country that was once a British colony. Zambia exports most of its copper, a valuable metal, to China.

According to data from the Chinese Embassy, in 2022, more than 600 Chinese companies made investments in Zambia, totaling over $3 billion.

China also played an important role in helping Zambia restructure its foreign debt, after the country defaulted on its sovereign debt in 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which severely affected the global economy.

The resignation of Mr. Kakubo has raised questions about the transparency and accountability of the Zambian government, as well as the extent of China’s involvement and influence in the country’s affairs.

Some critics have accused China of engaging in predatory lending and exploiting Zambia’s natural resources, while others have defended China’s role as a development partner and a source of much-needed investment and infrastructure.

The Zambian government has maintained that its relations with China are based on mutual respect and cooperation, and that it is committed to fighting corruption and ensuring good governance.

However, the scandal involving Mr. Kakubo has cast a shadow over the credibility and reputation of the Zambian government, both domestically and internationally.

It is not clear whether Mr. Kakubo will face any legal consequences for his alleged involvement in the questionable business deal, or whether the Zambian authorities will launch an investigation into the matter.

It is also unclear whether Mr. Kakubo’s resignation will have any impact on the diplomatic relations between Zambia and China, or on the future of the mining sector in Zambia.

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