Newly elected ZNFU president Jervis Zimba has apologised for the financial audit queries at the farmers body and appealed to stakeholders whom the union may have offended to help move the agricultural sector forward.

In a statement, Zimba, who was elected following the Zambia National Farmers’ Union’s 2016 Council Meeting and the 111th Annual Congress last month, stated that all stakeholders needed to bear with the union following the trying period it underwent during revelations by audit reports about the misappropriation of funds that were linked to suspended executive director Ndambo Ndambo.

“To those whom ZNFU may have battled fiercely with or offended during these trying moments, kindly find it within yourselves to bear with us. It is only because we love our union so deeply and we care so strongly about our agricultural sector that we may have differed with yourselves. Come, let’s join hands together and move our Zambian agriculture to the next level,” Zimba said in a statement issued by ZNFU media liaison officer Kingsley Kaswende.

Zimba, while offering a public apology, also stated that the newly-constituted board would focus on resolving all outstanding issues with the union’s cooperating partners to help achieve all of the union’s intended objectives.

According to the statement, the new board has pledged to immediately embark on transforming the embattled farmers’ body into a more united and stronger union, driven by enhanced corporate governance and a restructured, efficient, transparent and accountable secretariat.

Among the new board members include Fisho Mwale, a director at Yalelo Limited, who was appointed commodity director, while Mumbwa District Farmers’ Association board chairperson Austin Shinachize assumes the role of director for small-scale farming.

While the position of the executive director remains unclear, the new board is, however, expected to meet in the next few days to, among other things, select the union’s first and second vice presidents.