MILLIONS of Zambians today know or at least have heard about Edith Nawakwi.
People’s knowledge of Nawakwi, an economist, may not be so much centred on her being a farmer but a hothead politician, when she means to.
She is opposition Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) president.
On the other hand, she is a farmer, indeed.
Actually, Nawakwi is the proprietor of Legana Investments Limited, manufacturers of Legana pork sausages.
Legana sausages have been trending on Facebook, of late. Why? Everyone says they are so tasty. But an alarmed customer, Luyando Kopakopa, a clinical medicine student, is alleging that she found a condom in the Legana sausage she prepared.
She also alleged that inside the ‘condom’ was ‘human’ flesh.
The matter went to the Lusaka City Council on August 7 and its Department of Public Health collected a sample of the said ‘adulterated’ sausage and took it to the food and drugs laboratory for analysis.
Results of the analysis? There was no evidence of foreign matter identified and the casing was identified as a food grade casing.
But Luyando has since sued Legana Investments Limited. However, my rudimentary legal knowledge from media law and ethics in journalism school bars me from commenting on this legal suit.
Nawakwi was on Red Hot Breakfast Show on Hot FM radio yesterday and talked about Legana – a nice sounding name but from the village, according to her.
“There are three of our children. There is Kaivwambile. So, we took LE. Then there is Mbwiga, we took GA [and] then there is madam Namboozi, the smart lady, we took NA. Legana! So, it is not from abroad, it’s from the village,” Nawakwi says, in response to a question of ‘where does the name Legana come from?’
On how the idea of setting up Legana came about, Nawakwi says it started with her owning a piggery.
“Well, as a farmer, I kept pigs and [by] keeping pigs, we grew up to 2,000 pigs and I realised that I wasn’t making the money because many times I would be stressing on how to feed the pigs. I thought to myself what if I add value to it and that’s how I started,” she explains.
“I just walked to Fred Hirsch and to their credit, they are one of the few companies I can proudly say they are part of this brand, Legana, because they gave me equipment worth half a million kwacha – at that time called half a billion – and said ‘you’ll pay as you go’ and provided the supporting background. That’s how it started! That’s how we started from a home environment [but] now we have a factory. Having grown pigs, I was also supporting small-scale farmers….”
Asked about how she feels about the negative publicity that Legana sausages have been given with the viral ‘condom’ video by Luyando, Nawakwi responds, “I feel very bad that a young lady is being used to this extent.
“Even this morning, there’s another video by the same lady and the father just called me and said ‘look, I don’t know what’s wrong with my daughter.’ He’s been calling me for the past two days that she’s run away from home, he’s paying for her school fees and I got really disappointed that this is a 20-year-old young lady and being allowed to be abused by an adult police officer,” she says.
“The gentleman behind the scene is none other than Erick Ng’andu. He’s been transacting as a police officer from [Lusaka] Central Police and going to Central Police we discovered that actually he is a reservist.”
She adds that Ng’andu extorts money from unsuspecting people, under the name of being an investigator from Lusaka Central Police and being a regular police officer as an inspector.
“The police are looking for him [but] to my surprise they say they don’t know where to find him. How can you have a police officer on your roll…. I mean, as a reservist police, the law says reserve police officers are part of the force. So I get baffled that you can have an officer on your roll and not being able to find where he is,” Nawakwi notes.
“It’s a tragic story of young ladies being lured by glitter and glamour, this man is flashing nice cars. They came to the farm to try and serve the summons; he is driving an unregistered Mercedes Benz. So, it’s a tragic story of us parents…. The same duo came to the farm a day or so ago.”
Nawakwi adds that she does not feel so much injured for what Luyando and Ng’andu have done to her company but: “I feel much more injured as a parent to realise that one of my daughters is in wrong hands. It’s really a tragic story that Erick nao (also) posted another video saying that it’s the young lady who has misled him and it’s the devil. You see, because he is not on the video, he can easily wash his hands [and say] that ‘I’m not the culprit,’” she laments.
“But behind this girl is this devil called Erick Ng’andu, a police officer, and it’s wrong for an officer of the law to be able to manipulate and abuse girls like this.”
The lucid politician believes Luyando’s actions are: “equivalent to human trafficking.
“If you sit back and reflect, this is what happens to our young people, male or female, when they are trafficked. If you find a young girl trafficked from Africa, involved in prostitution abroad, they are literally manipulated like a machine,” Nawakwi indicates.
She further says the workers at Legana Investments Limited are “very depressed” with the alleged contamination of their product.
“I look at them [and] I have to console them because they are honourable people. They’ve been operating since 2011 without me having to go and lord over them to ‘do this, do this.’ They wake up in the morning; like now if you call the farm, they are on the farm – they are loading, transporting, doing orders, delivering. To abuse them…. Maybe they are targeting Edith Nawakwi!” Nawakwi explains.
“But this company is run by the workers and the workers have families and the spin-off from what we are doing is not just a benefit to Legana, our children but to many people. There are many people who are ordering food from Legana and re-selling; it’s quite an industry. So when you target an industry or you target a brand, you are not just targeting the owner; you are targeting a whole set of livelihood.”
Nawakwi highlights that Legana Investments Limited has small-scale piggery farmers who are solely dependent on the company.
“So when you ask me ‘how do I feel,’ the people who are most injured are in the supply chain. Like this morning when the father to Luyando called me, he is distressed. It’s really tragic!” Nawakwi notes.
On the massive support from Zambians online, Nawakwi answers: “I feel greatly honoured and we don’t deserve the support; we are a very small company.”
“The support which has been given to us is immense and I’m truly grateful. I don’t know how to say it. Deep down my heart, I’m indebted to every Zambian who has stood up,” she says.
“This little company started from a kitchen. We started with about two workers [and] now we have in the factory over 47 workers plus the little shops, the spin-offs of farmers bringing there…. So this support given to us as Legana is support given to the Zambian farming community, small-scale farmers.”
On whether she is amenable to an out-of-court settlement of the matter, Nawakwi says: “I’m not the lawyer; our lawyers are handling that. I shall not intervene in that matter.”
No doubt; politics, like farming, can be demanding.
But how does this farmer-cum-politician Nawakwi does it?
“As a woman, I multi-task; I’m not just an entrepreneur. I’m a mother, grandmother, care-giver. I don’t sit at the factory and try to manufacture [sausages],” answers Nawakwi.
“I have an idea; I have workers, I have a manager and they do the work. There are accountants, there are systems – they know what to do. On the political side, we have the secretariat. There is not one human being on earth who does only one item – we multi-task. But women are much better at multi-tasking.”
In the final analysis, Edith Nawakwi can be everything; annoying, loving, hard-working, unresponsive and mention it. But today’s story is about her hard work which has pushed her into farming stardom with her Legana sausages.