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Magande Opens Pandora Box on Gabon Disaster

Former Finance Minister Ng’andu Magande may have opened a Pandora’s Box by damning revelations on the Gabon disaster.

Magande in a teaser note on his forthcoming book from the Depth of my Footprints alleges that government never undertook to retrieve the remains of the plane that killed the entire national team in 1993 in Gabon despite having gotten from Zanaco for that undertaking.

Below is his full Write Up:

By Ng’andu Peter Magande

In April 1993, the ZANACO gave an advance to the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) for the national team’s trip to Mozambique. While the team was away, FAZ Chairman Michael Mwape came to see me and asked for some further financial assistance for the team’s trip to Senegal in West Africa. I demanded that they must first pay back the money they’d borrowed before we could consider another advance. From his passionate and detailed explanation, there was not enough time, as the team was just passing through Zambia on their way to West Africa.

As an ardent supporter of the national football team and as I had consulted my chairman on the first request, which was approved, I approved another advance. The team connected through Lusaka, where more players and officials including FAZ Chairman Mwape joined on the journey to Senegal via Gabon by a Zambia Air Force military plane.

A few days later on 27 April 1993, I left for the USA at the invitation of the NCR Corporation, the suppliers of computers to our bank. On our first day, we had to leave Washington DC very early in the morning for a visit to one of the computer warehousing facilities. As we were having our early breakfast, one of our hosts came over to me and whispered that the plane carrying the Zambia National Team had crashed in West Africa. He continued to say that from the reports received, all on board had perished.

I could not hold back my tears as I dropped my utensils and started sobbing publicly.

We abandoned our breakfast and I retired to my room with a sense of guilt. I concluded that it was our bank’s financial assistance that enabled the team to undertake the fateful journey. I vividly recalled my conversation with FAZ Chairman Mwape, as he’d pleaded with me that without our financial support the team would not make it to Senegal for the match. He was not aware that even with our bank’s financial assistance, the match was not going to be played.

We cancelled the day’s tour programme and the delegation remained at the hotel in mourning for the sporting heroes. As I was now on hypertension treatment, I prescribed to myself another dose of medicine after six hours due to the sad news. Our three weeks’ trip, both in the USA and Scotland was a sorrowful one as we had to answer many questions, everywhere we went, about the accident from so many people, who spoke highly of the departed football players.

On our return to Zambia, I brought the matter of the FAZ advance to our board with a recommendation to have the amounts for the two trips written off. The situation was that the cash drowned with the footballers and no one alive was to be held accountable. The board accepted my recommendation, although the chairman made some comments apportioning some blame on my management.

A few weeks later, the Zambian Government requested the bank for a loan to be used for the salvaging of the ZAF plane off the coast of Gabon. As I was aware that the Zambian Government had no capacity to undertake such a task, I requested for a copy of a contract signed with an organization that was competent in salvaging operations. I insisted on such documentation in view of the large loan amount requested. When no such documentation was presented, I declined to take the government’s request to the Board. This raised a lot of resentment against me within the Government circles.

I learnt later that the loan was approved by the ZANACO Board, a few weeks after I had left the bank. During a trip to Gabon in 1997, I visited the accident site and was informed that no salvaging work was ever undertaken by the Zambian Government and the plane wreckage was still at the bottom of the deep ocean.

The report on the plane accident has not been released to the chagrin of the living relatives of the accident victims. Consultations on the compensation to the thirty affected families were protracted and only concluded and the families paid in 2004 after I became Minister of Finance in President Mwanawasa’s administration.

After our trip to the USA and Scotland in 1993, I was eager and confident to implement the computerization of the bank. We had become acquainted with the latest equipment, which we were shown during our tour of the NCR installations in Dundee, the “City of Discovery” and the home of the first automated teller machine (ATM) in 1967.

One of the computerization milestones achieved by my management was the installation of the first ATM in Zambia’s banking industry. I recall the exuberant mood of the ZANACO staff and guests, as the ATM, dubbed ‘ZANACO 24’, located at the entrance to the head office building, was inaugurated. The bank’s popularity rose resulting in an increased clientele and the bank’s profit before taxation, which went up from K1,884 million for the year ended March 1992 to K4,072 million for the year ended March 1994”, from “The Depth of My Footprints”.

76 Comments

  1. Jms

    We miss you Honorable you where a man of your word may God return what you lost

  2. FGM

    Zambia has brilliant men and women who can turn round our economy but have been sidelined by our political system. Your combination with Mwanawasa was the best Zambia has ever seen. Government is in the habit of hiding and failing to release important commission reports to burry its negligence. Lives were lost and Zambia’ s glory was also buried by that incident. Shame indeed

  3. Nkonkosheni

    Thats my man,were have u been mr?

    • M.M.

      Yes, we have this culture of discarding people who otherwise could be answers to some of our development challenges. Mr. Peter Ng’andu Magande, the man I have known since the early 1980s, is a thorough thinker, but how many of us want to know?

      But another point is that sometimes brainy people can make irrational decisions by using wrong permutations. Mr. Magande made such a mistake by forming his own party. However, this is his democratic right. But if leaders know what they want and identify the human resource they can use to achieve what they want (for the nation, of course), they could have invited Mr. Magande to join the governing team so that he can contribute to national development. This is not new, Mr. Mutati is one such example. In fact, regional balancing would be a huge excuse for bringing Mr. Magande into Government, apart from his personal attributes.

  4. Siabalima

    where have you been hiding all this while Mr magande only to publish that news now.

    • Kokai

      The Garbon story has twists and turns. Magande accept to come back in goove

    • Evergreen

      Njala yamunyokola

  5. Bluno marss the moonshine jungle

    Wow! beautiful article written by a brave man

    • Lusakan

      It’s an excerpt from his upcoming book titled The Depth of My Footprints.

  6. Easy Easy

    Plz let’s not be excited, this Gabon issue still pains millions! Mr Magande we all know was hardworking but was on salary,he must know that he is skating on thi n ice in such matters. We may open old wounds,careful!!!

    • Lusakan

      We can’t bury history because it is painful. History needs to be told and this can even benefit the concerned relatives and all interested parties. It’s only that Zambian News Media don’t do documentaries and investigative journalism. They could have been the ones to bring the truth to the fore on this matter.

  7. Toyota

    How much in terms of compersation was paid to each family ?

  8. guru

    I thought the story was all about the plane crash…so its about your self image..like how you traveled to usa, your breakfast, how the bank made profits, computers, ATM etc…. did you investigate further when you were told the plane was not recovered? who told you? why didn’t you tell zambians immediately? why are you telling us now after so many years? Are you really smart? you are just marketing your book to make money..you are another broke old broke.

    • Ziba zako

      Here here

    • Lusakan

      Zambians never cease to amaze me. This man has WRITTEN A BOOK. They haven’t said whether it’s his autobiography but it’s obviously about his life and the Gabon disaster touched his life as his bank facilitated the loan that paid for part of that fateful trip. So you think by asking those questions ( some of which have been answered in the excerpt ) make you a guru? You just sound st.upid. People write books for many reasons. We need many more Zambians writing books. Develop the culture of reading then you’ll appreciate books.

      • SHI ALIKO

        This is what is happening to chishimba kambwili very soon he will have is own book aganist the rulling government

    • Napster

      It is you who is not learned and naive.
      How old are you.
      You don’t watch documentaries or history channel.
      No one ever says anything of any accident in its infancy years until 10yrs and above.
      Yes he is publishing his book and we shall buy it.
      He is creating history for your own children to read and to know UNLIKE you who just knows criticism.

    • Nash

      I know very few people can understand that article

    • M.M.

      Remember, this is just a part of his autobiography.

    • 🤔

      Some of the questions and concerns put forward in a seemingly smart way here in response to the write-up are a shocking revelation ignorance on how government operates. Develop your mind, read and explore – it’s a duty that rests solely on you. Know more about the land you call home, especially what can and can’t be said when.

  9. Obaerver

    …and Mr. Magande after Zanaco you became a cabinet minister, and for that matter heading the most Ministry. What did you do? You sat back waited to write a book and make money out of it? I cannot buy your book Sir. You are a hypocrit Mr. Magande.

    • Nash

      The man works for the world bank, learn to investigate don’t just comment moreover he has been one of best finance ministers we’ve ever had

      • SHI ALIKO

        We know you even the one we have are you will be saying the same

  10. King David

    I can not waste my money on rich people.

  11. Marvel

    The man is very right u know he can’t keep hiding it,,more so you have done well to bring it to light. Mwanawasa was the last President for me and his cabinet

  12. Marvel

    Keep it up, I’ll get a copy of this book when published

  13. Mpombo

    Another old political dinosaur and frustrated tribalist looking to forment discontent among the general public. Why he didn’t revela this under the “transparent”goverment of mwanawasa is any body’s guess

    • Fyakubantu

      Mr NPM you have just talked about the loans advanced to the FAZ Chairman Mwape barely without figures mentioned even for compensation what are you hiding?

  14. Dell

    Wow. I need this book once it done. Insightful stuff

  15. Jms

    Easy Easy stupid easy you have again opened your filthy mouth idiot have manners when you open your nose anyandule silly are you a Zambian because non Zambians are the ones destroying Zambia

  16. Jms

    In these televisions their is a channel which produces why and how these accidents occur now magande knows his role part IF YOU ARE WILLING TO HELP him and the Zambians at large you should have opened your eyes and act wisely LEARN TO SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER .KK STOOD WITH THE OTHERS AND IDI AMIN fled stick together lost people

  17. Madalitso Banda

    Can’t we convince Magande, Milupi, HH, Nawakwi and other qualified Zambians to offer parallel alternatives to government like Mazola used to do? Seems the ruling PF can’t by their ideas but if we the people can hear and see, we will know that there are possible options

  18. Jms

    Madalitso madslitso go and watch television and learn how you friends are progressing as long as we belong to this party we know that MAZOKA with us as long as we are with HH Now be reluctant just follow our foot steps you won’t be mislead by people who are felling to support your brothers

    • SHI ALIKO

      I know you fools especially Chi jms because he’s a tonga let him also publish books for our freedom fighters,post bus disaster etc

  19. Angoni

    U were a real minister of finance not the chitati,munakotwe,miss Hon Magande help us to see this dollar be at less than K3000 now K3.00,help us if u are in Zambia sir

  20. Ziba zako

    So who are u writing as sir: a former employee of the bank or a former minister. If the former then your fiduciary responsibility was to collect from FAZ and not to “quickly” offer our money to an organisation that should be responsible. Actually, bcoz the plane crashed, you should have assumed the money has not been used. If u write as a former minister then I suggest you had all the opportunity to ensure the government used the money for the intended purpose. U could have ensured whatever ministry reimbursed the funds to that end. Be careful with self glorification. After all it is my opinion that you only worked well because Mwanawasa was a good supervisor.

  21. Easy Easy

    Iwe JMS ,l can’t see anything sensible that you put across every time you comment apart from insults on others! You should be quarantined with fellow- shallow minded and uncouth vagrants who did night sch and thought had read enough to just comment anyhow. Edit your foolish submissions first otherwise they are just exposing your stupidity .sharp sharp !!

  22. Wongani

    Secret code oath is not respect by government works and ministries bcoz of weaker laws we have. Since 1994 to come out now not helpful 2 family who lost their bloved ones better 2 keep quite and leave with it has u agreed as cabinet

  23. Jms

    Ziba Zako and angoni ask those to lungu and if you think that mwanawasa was a good supervisor what do you mean say it directly or maybe you are cowards mind you what I say is being analyzed we should be careful of every speech

  24. Mk

    I have failed to understand Mr magande’s revelation. Are u trying to sell your book or telling the air disaster?

  25. Jms

    Easy you can’t see sensible in what I say because you neediest be who you are without what you are respect

  26. Kachika Kenny

    We miss you

  27. Jms

    Nevertheless Dr magande has opened the case you should concentrate in finding out not attacking in the end you won’t know who,why did that accident occurred due to people lacking good reports and detectives shame how do you expect people to help in such situations

    • KANYINI

      cume and fuck me magande so that you forget the ordeal im waiting read my name

  28. Bright Mhango

    This is very bad revelation to the nation after many years in the name of a book.I believe mmd did alot of Hamm in the name of democracy.magande people have suffered after that accident please shut your mouth and talk about current problem in our nation

    • Benson Mulenga

      Mr Mhango they can be no future without the past if Americans are still talking about JFK who died 55 years ago why cant we talk about our gallant men who left us 25 yrs ago

  29. Love your neighbor

    Mr Mpombo, boss how has Ba Magande become a tribalists in this post, please people these comments you make concerning tribes, they will put our country on fire why do you hate other tribes for nothing, you always think negatively about other tribes lets build our country pliz!!

  30. Munasi

    The reason why that plane could not be recovered from the ocean is to hide evidence of what really happened. That is why up to now the report about the aircrash cannot be released to the public. It only takes a simple analysis to conclude that the government is hiding the truth.One day it will be revealed by a brave leader.

  31. Mumba

    That accident was a military issue,there is no way they can give you a report on a military assignments.Mr Magande as a former minister knows it very well. If he doesn’t know this,then there is something missing.

    • Benson Mulenga

      Lives were lost thats the issue Mumba and if we dont learn from our past ordeal history may come back to haunt us…

  32. Joseph.mwape

    Its not a military issue that is a problem with people who always behave like a cadre. Magande can not work with people who have no vision. God give us a person who can reverse the economy and a Good fearing man.

  33. Razor

    Magande was supposed to take over as president after the demise of mwanawasa then we wouldn’t be in this predicament that we are in now.

  34. Munasi

    Mr Mwape you are very right.This country is crying for proper leadership.You remember how during chilubas time the economy was experiencing a lot of problems ,but there came Mwanawasa who asked Magande to serve in his government.And Magande sacrificed his lucrative job in Asia to come and serve our country and things changed like a miracle.In this country people forget very quickly!

  35. Elijah Mache

    Day that’s when you can reveal such a big thing.why magande

  36. Mumba

    Bwana Mwape,since 1964 cadres have been creating the ZAMBIAN Governments even the 2021 GRZ will be formed by them , no matter which ever party is going to win.It will take long for intellectuals to form the government.its not fair for people to start talking ill about cadres when ever there’s a n issue like this one.please let’s be one and think positively.

  37. Jms

    Look people don’t give bad ideas to us see their is nothing Impossible weather military or not the thing is you can’t do it because you don’t know how to do it

  38. Bimms

    Whst about those plane crush remains at Zaf base. If they went not retrieve then he has ti be account because it is him who even prounced that the issuance of expenditure to retrieve the remains

  39. Bimms

    What about those plane crush remains at Zaf base. If they went not retrieve then he has to be accountable because it is him who even prounced that the issuance of expenditure to retrieve the remains

    • Director

      Not every evidence is real, that’s why some people go to prison because someone thought beyond and produced evidence that appear true but fake, think beyond your eyes, u don’t think those who got money to retrieve the remains were foolish to just swindle the money and pretend people will keep quite, they had to find something that would appear evident to people like u.

  40. JONADO Jonasee

    Ndeloleshafye!

  41. Observer

    Dear Zambians,
    Please try to grow up and start thinking.

    You spend 8hrs everyday watching Western movies from Hollywood.

    By now I thought you have learnt how the world operates by now.

    Sensitive issues are never in public domain until it’s more than 10yrs and above.

    You watch FBI, CIA etc. Information gets to reach the public domain after thoroughly investigations.

    Mr. Magande just completed his investigations and now he is publishing in his book.

  42. Client

    @Observer, well observed and clarifying comment!

  43. Magwaza

    zambia have missed u?where have u been?come and fix the economy with HH.this govt have failed to fix the economy.

  44. Didier

    Great man. U will always be missed…

  45. Benson Mulenga

    He was not aware that even with our bank’s financial assistance, the match was not going to be played.This needs serious thought

  46. Ali-baba

    Magande you are such an inspirational figure Zambia has ever had since independence, your hard working and quality leadership revamped our economy, you are such a model to many zambians, releasing a written document, an article or a book, would teach the society. I have no doubt that it’s full of wisdom.

  47. mercutio

    Ronald Penza waz the best ever finance minister m.h.s.r.i.p…,ati magande best ndeloleshafye…Big man that commission report about the k.k eleven demise is very painful & heart breaking…i wonder if the families were compensanted rightfully & collectively..how much for a family…R.i.p the copper bullets ever we miss you always.

  48. Jms

    Never worst time when some one doesn’t need help

  49. New generation

    We zambians we r not foolish
    .How long does it take to investigate such a big issue? Yes tell us how much each family were compansated . Foolish.

    • The Punisher

      The usual Zambian way of digressing. Now it’s about Magande being this or that instead of debating the topical issue and demanding from him for more data so that we construct information there from. This issue of him coming back is just misplaced. This country has so many capable young and old persons who can do the finance minister job. It’s not rocket science please let him go and we move on. Mwanawasa is so eulogised but always pose and remember the KCM sale scandal which now make chaps like Trevor Noah look like geniuses when they ridicule us for the most foolish business transaction ever. Yet the myth on Mr. Mwanawasa being smart continues. Let’s just peharps hold our peace if we have scanty info and are less analytical.

  50. Chumunthu

    Magande writes: “I brought the matter of the FAZ advance to our board with a recommendation to have the amounts for the two trips written off. The situation was that the cash drowned with the footballers and no one alive was to be held accountable….” No! No! No!…You advocated for the first unsecured ‘loan’. and perhaps not for the second ‘unsecured loan’ to FAZ. You as head of ZANACO, a public institution, should have taken responsibility for the funds given to FAZ. Surely, you Magande was totally irresponsible in (a) giving an unsecured loan and (b) advocating that both loans be scrapped on the assumption that the money ‘drowned’ with the players. That was wrong…You should have paid back the amounts yourself because you were the ‘security’ to at least one of the loans.

  51. sim1

    Foolish magande,you’re just boasting about eating a meal in usa and installing an atm at zanaco main,is that the report how zambian team perished .u got the loan and plundered the cash with yo mmd ,today ur reporting fake stories ,acc is on yo door step .bring back our monies. U hayena.

  52. lombe

    sim1 are u mad?go to chainama b4 it is too late.

  53. kaliya moses

    I wonder why such brilliant pipo are not privileged to be president.

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