Fighting institutional corruption

Once again we have the distinct dishonour of reporting yet another incident where the people of Zambia may lose $25 million through irregular procurement and this is happening to an institution that should have been instituting water tight procedures.

Very recently the entire management of the institution was overhauled on account of a pronounced desire to curb graft and institute procedures that would preclude any form of underhand corrupt or irregular dealings.  A new team was put in place and one would have expected that things were to change.  But sadly this will not be the case.

If anything a more rapacious system seems to have generated.  Which system is worse and more dangerous than before, according to inside information officers within RTSA have been lobbying with various suppliers and indeed a team has travelled out of the country to meet suppliers.  Equally other meetings and briefings contrary to normal business trade protocols have taken place, thereby making total nonsense of any procedures.

We are now made to understand that a contract is being considered even without the requisite due diligence which would have exposed the incapacity of the prospective supplier.

The tragedy of this situation is that normal systems have been circumvented because those operating have political blessings and are therefore above the tender norms.  This is exactly the situation and circumstances in which corruption in Zambia will continue unabated, because those with political clout will continue to occupy sensitive office and indeed oversee expenditure running into billions of kwacha without any question.

This is possible because institution of governance have been compromised to the extent that they are ineffective and only serve as political tools against perceived political enemies.

The fight against corruption will only be effective if such institutions as anti-corruption commission and indeed prosecution agencies have a high moral and integrity base which does not leave room for doubt as they carry out their investigations and subsequent prosecutions.

For some time to come and unless some thing is done the campaign against corruption will be an exercise in absolute futility which in turn will be a danger to public resources that are intended to serve the expressed needs and wishes of the Zambian people.

A corrupt system deprives the most needy of resources that would go a long way in improving conditions and status of the people.

Our hope therefore is that the government will work diligently to create an image through restructured governance systems that will inspire confidence and comfort to all Zambians regardless of political affiliation.

The situation at RTSA deserves a thorough investigation which should either confirm allegations of irregularity or indeed establish that the reports that we are privy to of massive corruption are not true.

However, the starting point is the creation of institutions that will inspire confidence.

"Govt to lose K127bn" As corruption at RTSA is exposed

GOVERNMENT may lose over K127 billion through a corruptly executed tender at the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) to replace the centralized computer system that crashed  last year.

The tender for the supply of a new computerized operation system, known as Zambia Transformation System is apparently in the process of being awarded to a company which has no financial and technical capacity to handle the billion rich project.

This is contrary to Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA)’s advise.

According to senior officials at RTSA, government had asked the agency to invite companies to express interest in the procurement, delivery and supply of the new kit.

In response 31 companies across the globe submitted tenders and 9 companies were shortlisted after along evaluation processes by the tender committee at RTSA.

The nine companies were then asked to submit their Financial and Technical proposals separately and by June 7, 2012 seven companies out of the 9shortlisted managed to submit the required documents and eventually the evaluation processes started.

The officials said that on August 17, all companies that had qualified at this stage were invited to attend the opening of the Financial Proposal ceremony and only two companies attended.

RTSA subsequently submitted a report favouring their preferred but unqualified company to ZPPA but after a complaint was logged, ZPPA directed that due diligence must be conducted on both companies to ascertain their financial and technical capacity to carry out the project.

“But we were surprised that the company which scored high marks of above 80 per cent on both the Financial and Technical Capacity to handle the project was ignored as RTSA senior officials werepushing for the named firm using under hand methods

to do the multi-billion rich job.

“There is too much corruption in this tender and the levels of corruption will cost this country huge sums of money which the government will regret and will then start chasing people. The company had even failed the works inTanzania,” said one of the sources

In spite of RTSA having records that the fovoured company had no capacity to handle the multi-billion Kwacha Transformation System project, some named RTSA officials and the government department had made up their minds to award the tender to their preferred but incompetent favoured company.

“It is not a hidden matter now, ask anyone at RTSA, one of our top officials was even captured on camera recently having meetings with a representative of the favoured company at one of the hotels inLusakaand we know that.

We also know that just last week on Sunday he travelled toTanzaniawith other officials to meet heads of their preferred company. But this is against the advice from ZPPA.

Why are they rushing to give this tender to a non competent company? Let them come out in the open and declare interest in this matter,” the source said.

Deputy director at RTSA Cytone Kibela when contacted for a comment said that he did not give interviews on phone.

Ngambela shocked by torture

 The undressing and torturing of 17 detainees at Kaoma Prison by security personnel is depressing and shocking, says the Ngambela of Barotseland Clement Sinyinda  

And the administration has demanded that the findings of the Rodger Chongwe Commission of Inquiry be made public.

Speaking on behalf of the BRE, Mr Sinyinda said it was sad that innocent suspects could now be turned into victims of torture and harassment by authorities.

Mr Sinyinda said even with such actions by the State, the Lozis will not change their resolve to secede from the rest of Zambia and will continue to demand for what belonged to them through peaceful means.

He said that it was not fair that innocent people could be treated in that manner for unexplained reasons and later denied medical attention.

The Ngambela said the Lozis have been working on their secession plans in a peaceful manner and it was unfair that people who were expressing their views could be treated in such a manner.

“We are very disappointed with what is happening to our people. They are being tortured for unknown reasons and as Lozis we shall not stop to fight for what is rightfully ours,

“We are trying to get our State through peaceful means because we are admirers of Mahatma Ghandi and we believe that we shall attain our goal because we are a peaceful people.

He appealed to the international community to come to their aid so that injustice that was being perpetuated on the innocent Lozis by the Zambian security officers was checked.

Mr Sinyinda insisted the people that tore the draft constitution for the republic of Zambia were innocent victims.

He said the 1964 Barotse Agreement was not a political matter but a legal issue and warned that no one will ever change what was already there.

He challenged the Human Rights Commission (HRC) to investigate the matter of torture because this was an abuse of human rights.

On the Chongwe Commission of Inquiry, Mr Sinyinda said the reports should not be tempered with and reproduced in full.

Human rights activist to sue govt

A concerned human rights activist plans to sue government over the inhuman conditions obtaining in Zambia’s prisons.

Foundation for Justice and Human Rights chairperson Christopher Shalwabala has accused government of having grossly neglected the welfare of prisoners in the country.

Mr Shalwabala said that after visiting Lusaka Central, Mwembeshi and Kabwe‘s Mukobeko prisons, he felt compelled to ask government to do something about the poor living conditions of inmates.

He said “We cannot celebrate independence when our brothers and sisters are still living in beyond slavery conditions in prisons “he said.

Mr.Shalwabala said as a result of poor living conditions in prisons, a number of inmates have died after contracting various communicable diseases.

He said the situation was unfortunate especially that some of the inmates were innocent but were being subjected to such inhuman treatment

“It is for this reason that I am planning to sue government so that it can do something about the conditions in our prisons. It is unbelievable   that we can subject our brothers and sisters in prisons to such appalling conditions 48 years after independence,”

“I will definitely sue government over the inhuman treatment of prisoners inZambia, ”said Mr Shalwabala.

Zambia’s poverty a scandal-Matale

IT is a big scandal for Zambians to continue living in abject poverty after 48 years of independence, says Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) Secretary General Reverend Suzanne Matale.

Rev Matale said that time was now to  move Zambians out of poverty through a vibrant and focused political leadership.

She observed that politics of hate, intimidation and victimization was long gone and that Zambians deserved better.

She said that years of paucity and instability should not continue to haunt the people ofZambiaincluding the coming young generations.

“National leadership should and must be prepared to live in unity and ensure that peace for national development and justice for all is maintained.

That is what this independence is all about. Let all political leadership whether from the ruling or the opposition realize thatZambiais bigger than them and peace was very cardinal in all aspect of life,” she said.

Rev Matale urged Zambians not to depend on individual feelings in order to develop and address other challenges faced in life but to focus on a responsible leadership which would inspire the people ofZambia.

“The biggest problems this country has are  under development, poverty, diseases and poor life style. But we cannot continue to live like that, this is unacceptable and we need to fight poverty and other evils with,” she said.

Respond to Miyanda’s sentiments, PF told

Government has been challenged to answer the questions that were raised by Heritage party leader Gen Godfrey Miyanda instead of attacking him Brebner Changala has said.

Mr Changala said the general raised very cardinal points but it is unfortunate that this government is naive and very arrogant and therefore refuse to answer issues that were affecting the Zambian citizens.

He said it was not right for the labour minister Mr Fackson Shamenda to respond the way he did just because Gen Miyanda had lost an election.

“When did government state that those that have lost elections should not participate in the governance of this country?

General Miyanda was merely speaking on behalf of the Zambians and a seasoned minister would reason before attacking.

“We can’t have people in government who are failing to analyse issues and instead try to attack the very serious issues General Miyanda was trying to bring out.

“This type of leadership is bad for the growth of the country andZambia’s democracy. These ministers in the PF administration should stop to be arrogant and should have time to look at issues the way they are presented,” he said.

Mr Changala as a concerned citizen has challenged the PF administration to answer the issues raised by the general.

He said he was afraid that Mr Shamenda will aid in bringing the democracy of this country to a standstill, the same way he brought theZambiacongress of Trade Unions to a stand still after he took over from late president Fredrick Chiluba.

Mr Changala observed thatZambiawith so many challenges and government should work on these challenges.

He said this government is full of failure, jealous and bitterness and that because they have not yet come to reality that they were in power they are behaving as if they were in opposition where they could not agree with anything.

“I wonder where they are getting these terminologies because they are displaying signs of desperation because they know that they are liars.

The PF must apologies for failing the Zambian people and must stop showing arrogance.

Instead they should concentrate on working on the failed promises and raise hope in lives of the 13 million Zambians,” Changala said.

 

Corruption fight disappoints ADD

The fight against corruption by the PF government’s one year in office has been a disaster, saysAlliancefor Development and Democracy (ADD) president Charles Milupi.

Mr Milupi said that President Sata’s performance in the graft was and the provision of good and sustainable leadership had been highly compromised as a result of failure to respect and promote the rule of law.

He also said that the war which the PF government has waged against opposition political parties was an assault on democratic governance.

“The fight against corruption still has a long way to go because under the PF government we see no proper programme and commitment in this fight. We have heard about the worst forms of corruption in this government involving ministers but little has been done,” he said

He said that the PF government would lose the people’s confidence if it did not create hope and opportunities for the people.

Mr. Milupi who initially supported President Sata’s fight against corruption said that Zambians have seen many failures and challenges under the PF government because it seemed targeted only at those with divergent views.

He said the PF government lacked political will to fight corruption and efforts to have a meaningful constitutional review process which would represent the desires of the people.

He also expressed concern over lack of action on the  numerous Commissions of Inquiries set up by the president investigate perceived wrong doings by former leaders.

Mr. Milupi said it was shocking that the PF regime had failed to act with the same speed and zeal to the recommendations citing the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), the Oil Procurement and the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA).

He said that these commissions set up by President Sata were a sheer waste time and tax payers’ money.

“There is need for the PF government to timely demonstrate visible and tangible action on its recommendations in order to instill total confidence in its leadership. For now the PF have totally swallowed its own vomits on many commitments made to the people ofZambia,” he said.

STATEMENT ON THE PATRIOTIC PARTY (PF) PERFORMANCE THUS FAR:

 BY BRIGADIER GENERAL GODFREY MIYANDA

The first twelve months of the PF in Government provide good material for assessing a regime that came in on an incredible wave of presumed popularity, because the debate comes at the advent of the independence celebrations, a time when we recall the reason for the struggle and hoping to recommit ourselves to the unity of all our peoples.

In reviewing the first steps of the PF this is what has to be assessed. It is our independence and unity that has to be guarded, protected and defended. This analysis is premised on this in order to see to what extent the PF has helped our young democracy to remain united and remain a beacon of hope for all its peoples.

The PF leadership must swallow its pride and begin to realise that modern Government cannot be run as a private or sole -trading entity or as a family farm! Further, Zambians must refrain from using partisan spectacles to debate national issues as has so far been the case. Additionally it is a relegation of national responsibility for some opposition leaders to want to appear “nice” to the PF regime for whatever reason. The purpose of these analyses must always be to help the Executive benefit from any errors made so that they may make amends.

I disagree that the PF must be given a chance to carry out their mandate. This approach introduces a diversionary angle as it distracts the public from raising the real issue of the ’90 Day ruse’ which achieved its intended purpose but is now disowned by its PF foster parent. This debate is not about hounding the PF out of Government but is one that even PF followers must join in, truthfully bringing out what they feel their leaders have reneged on. In fact it is especially more important for opposition leaders to take an aggressive though not destructive stance to jolt the blubbering PF to wake up and change course. Regrettably some of the opposition leaders seem to want to be seen and heard to be politically correct, in a way that is becoming confusing and ambivalent as one cannot tell whether they are actually opposition or are mere sound boxes for the PF. If all the opposition adopt an unbiased but ‘adversarial’ posture they may well help our Government (NOT PF Government) to change course before it is too late to do so. The issues highlighted in this commentary are those governance acts that are fundamental and eye-catching but that are being swept under the carpet, for ‘diplomatic reasons’.

The PF regime must be assessed on their own promises because such pronouncements result in winning an election. Many voters who do not realise that they have been duped still make choices on the basis of promises made to them. President Sata touted himself as the “Most Experienced” of all the Presidential Candidates in the 2011 elections; he set that standard himself and this is the standard that may help us to gauge how the most experienced supervisor has helped the rest of his juniors below him, almost all of them ‘fresh men and women’, to carry out their obligations.

For starters, President Sata has not addressed the Nation since he took up office on 23rd September 2012. He has avoided addressing the Zambian people directly to guide the nation during his first days on duty. His silence has created fertile ground for speculations. For instance the rumpus that followed the recruitment of soldiers into the Defence Force led to serious allegations not just of corruption but that the PF party recruited into the military those on pre-determined lists of PF members. There are even allegations that there is a parallel security system juxtaposed between the PF’s party security (as happened during MMD early days) and the official Defence and Security systems. If this be so it is dangerous (rememberBiafra). But what is the truth? We do not know because the Captain of the Boat has refused to address us, though he found time to travel to address the United Nations.

 President Sata regularly lambasted President Banda’s travels within and outsideZambia. Yet the First Lady has made so many trips in the few months of the regime that may have surpassed that of the President and those who are employees of the State. President Sata’s uncharacteristic silence has led to speculation about the humanitarian activities of the First Lady because of their frequency and regularity. Without disparaging our latest Mother of the Nation, Zambians should ask and expect to get answers to the following: what are the specific duties that the First Lady is carrying out and is this a full time occupation? What is the budget line for those activities? Who or what institution is financing her trips? Is it State House, Ministry of Health or the University Teaching Hospital (UTH)? Is she travelling as a UTH or State House Doctor? To which department does she belong and to whom does she report? What is now the status of her substantive duties at the UTH as a doctor? Et cetera, et cetera. The Speaker’s ruling on a point of order has NOT put the matter to rest because it did not tackle the foregoing serious questions which go beyond the point of order.

The now ‘vibrant government media’ is making a positive mountain of her activities. Do we see the hand of the President in this affair? Are we being prepared for a time when the PF will officially introduce the Office of the First Lady? Should philanthropic activities be the reason for incurring additional costs by a regime that pledged to reduce the cost of running Government? All this runs counter to the PF pledge and calls for public scrutiny and debate.

There is an unprecedented increase in tribalism, regionalism and racism created by and under the PF regime; this is a seed that has taken root partly due to the selective and unplanned so-called “decentralisation”. Our unity has been compromised and this seed may never be completely uprooted. The Post newspaper properly coined the phrase “FamilyForest” for the first time inZambia. They had said in one of their editorials that late President Mwanawasa had a family tree but that President Sata had a family forest! The PF did not respond to The Post allegation but when Presidents Hakainde Hichilema and Charles Milupi said the same thing all hell broke loose and the PF violence machine was set in motion. The silence of the President is deafening and must be questioned today, not five years later as some naive opposition leaders are suggesting, contradicting their own passionate praises of President Sata and the PF. This division of our people must be condemned out rightly even by Bemba-speaking people themselves as it is such manipulation that leads to genocide.

There are indiscriminate dismissals of citizens from Government jobs, more pronounced in the diplomatic service. This secret and vindictive “crush Rupiah Banda’s MMD” policy has created enemies where there should be none.

By reneging on his promise, the President has provided ammunition for theWesternProvinceto demand to secede and has done little to forestall the confrontation. If we are to remain one, and we should, President Sata must dialogue and refrain from gun-boat diplomacy that he is using; such tactics work but only in the short term. This policy has exacerbated the situation inWesternProvince. The populist promises made to restore the Barotseland Agreement purely to get votes are responsible for the present high tension there. Blood has been spilled under President Sata’s watch; I do not recall this happening before apart from the banning of Mundia’s National Party.

 I do not subscribe to the 90 day PF fantasy, for I know that development is long term; only naive people believed that election ruse. Unfortunately lies do get votes because people trust their leaders and believe those lies until the leaders are caught with their pants down as is the case now. This is a total PF failure in spite of spirited efforts to cover it up. The failure is not having failed to create jobs in 90 days, but REFUSING TO ADMIT THAT THEY PROMISED MILK AND HONEY IN 90 DAYS!

This dishonest denial was made worse by Vice President Scott declaring in Parliament that the Barotseland Agreement is not in the PF manifesto. So what? The PF President himself made the pledge at a well-attended rally in Mongu, thus putting it in the PF Manifesto by amendment. Why mock the people? A pronouncement of this magnitude by the leader of the PF becomes part of the manifesto, unless the PF Central Committee immediately repudiated it before the people voted, which the Central Committee did not do and hence are part of the grand ‘90-Day deceit’. 

These denials are very annoying as they make all of us, including some PF adherents, look stupid, not sufficiently intelligent to understand PF election rhetoric. Imagine the very Vice President Hon Dr Scott standing in Parliament, without blushing and in full view of the aggrieved people of the WesternProvince, denying making the promise! The PF leaders seem to forget about modern technology that enables citizens to keep pace with their leaders and most of the time being far ahead of them. Zambians have camera phones, VCRs, DVDs, CDs, secret recording devices all packed with original recordings of the PF boat and its ubiquitous coxswain now hardly heard or seen in Zambia. The PF leadership is guilty for not admitting what needs to be admitted and for not apologising where there was need to do so at least by the PF Presidential Candidate now President of Zambia.

 The levels of intolerance are unprecedented and have appeared rather too early in the PF journey; usually this may happen after a few years in office. Intolerance led to the creation of the One Party State in 1972: intolerance means nobody coughs; it means sub-standard decisions that are never challenged; it results in preventing and suppressing ideas, then using them later after people have forgotten about who initiated them and later execute them as their own innovations (the Heritage Party’s manifestos since 2001 to 2011 reveal a progressive and ambitious plan of OPENING UP ZAMBIA THROUGH DEVELOPMENT CORRIDORS THAT HAS NOW COME AS THE PF’S “LINK ZAMBIA IN 2012″, abruptly launched with fanfare but without a budget!)

In less than 90 days we witnessed dictatorial and totalitarian conduct. The judiciary were not spared; the deportation of a priest for carrying out his pastoral duty crowns the twelve month hell in Zambia. It is as though the PF think that they carried out a revolution and hence must uproot all and sundry. This approach is creating instability in institutions as well as in individual citizens except those close to the powers that be but this is NOT the way to go in a declared democracy.

 There have been contentious and questionable appointments for a government that has declared corruption as Number One Enemy. Wholesale dismissals of civil servants and recalls of diplomats are the order of the day, without due regard to the impact on families so affected, and actually contributing to increased joblessness. This has set the stage for retribution by a future regime.

There has been an abuse of the system of Commissions, a method of work that must surely be the exception rather than the rule.

The President has established the bad practice of rebuking Defence and Security Service Chiefs in public. One such incident occurred at a Passing out or Commissioning Parade of young officer cadets at Kohima Barracks within hearing of the newly Commissioned Officers. One of the most sacrosanct of traditions of the Services is high regard for the hierarchy, right up to the Commander-In- Chief himself; it is this that keeps oiling the Defence and Security disciplinary machinery. The President may have succeeded only in making the young officers look down on their superiors. Later the President was to repeat the same thing, by shouting orders at the new Inspector General (IG) Libongani at the Cathedral of the Child Jesus. Someone reported something to him; he went to the podium and shouted “Stella, go and sort out Nevers Mumba’s MMD cadres wearing Don’t Kutina T-shirts!” But there were also PF cadres in PF T-shirts. The IG, as a disciplined officer, obeyed the President, but that was a wrong directive because the IG is the one who should have decided how to handle the matter which was several ranks below her office!

To crown it all, under the PF regime we have noticed that a Permanent Secretary issued contrary operational instructions on police activities! Recently Commissioner of Police Dr Solomon Jere, a learned Police Officer, gave instructions to stop political party cadres wearing party uniforms at funerals. The day before the burial of Mama Betty Kaunda, the message was re-broadcast on the ZNBC as a continuing reminder. But immediately after that item was read, there came a late news item loudly stating that the Permanent Secretary (PS) of Home Affairs had ordered that cadres must wear their party uniforms! No PS has authority neither to issue operational directives nor to countermand them; this is unheard of (may be it was actually the President directing from theUSA). Under this PF style there is nothing to stop other PS’s to cancel operational orders by Service Chiefs or field commanders. This is dangerous and a recipe for chaos in the discipline and security system.

There is inconsistency in policy pronouncements. There was an election pledge to expel the Chinese fromZambia, which many suffering Zambians believed and voted for the PF (not that I support such hate statements). After winning the election President Sata quickly took over the Chinese from the MMD in unexplained circumstances. We are entitled to speculate that the very honey that President Sata alleged was being enjoyed by the MMD as their reason for aligning themselves to the Chinese was now being gulped by the PF!

The timing of the introduction of the registration of sim-cards is highly suspect and must be reversed forthwith or suspended. Before implementation the proposal must be subjected to public debate in order for the real promoters of this policy to justify their intentions. The plan has a tendency to compromise privacy and hence makes the relevant constitutional safeguard on privacy moribund. Additionally, with the selectiveness and vindictiveness that has manifested under the PF regime, business opportunities will be in jeopardy because of the selective manner in which the first 90 days were carried out. Company secrets will not be safe; even court matters will not be spared, with the confirmation of Government acquisition of listening devices (as given in evidence in court) having a range of about 400 kilometres from the centre. This beats even George Orwell’s prophetic book titled “1984” but written sometime in 1949!

It is disconcerting that at this same time the President has declared that there is nothing wrong with the Public Order Act – when combined with the sim-card scheme this is an ominous declaration! Has the President really read the Public Order Act and the ratio in the Mulundika judgment by the then Chief Justice Ngulube? If the PF does not rescind or suspend the sim-card exercise I would personally advocate for a class action in court so that many citizens join as litigants to stop this unjustified erosion of our constitutional rights.  This scheme must not be implemented; but if it has to be, then certainly not under the presidency of President Sata!

And then the constitution-making process: this is not even worth writing about as it is clearly partisan, is manipulated, is compromised, lacks credibility and above all has no legal backing – in short it is a waste of time and public funds.

Intimidation and threats are the hallmark of President Sata’s 90 days in office. Threats against judges; against political opponents; even against chiefs with promises to create new paramount chiefs. All these are election gimmicks in the first twelve months that the PF must stir clear from. The days of Shaka Zulu, Hitler, Idi Amin are gone. The sooner PF wakes up the easier or smoother will their remaining days on duty be.

The address to Parliament was a dismal flop and has set a bad precedent that must not be emulated by future Presidents. Hon Kaingu was right to tear the paper because the President did NOT read the speech in Parliament. We saw him speaking off the cuff and incoherently passing over papers as though he had read them. He was directly engaging the MPs in debate, thus encouraging them to interject, contrary to the practice and custom of the House that emphasises proper decorum. He has been a Parliamentarian and hence ought to know better. The so-called humour or joke about Hon Fackson Shamenda’s first name was completely out of Order and should have been so ruled, except perhaps for the Speaker’s respect for the Office of President. MPs should have boycotted debating a speech that was not delivered in Parliament; if anything all of them should have emulated Hon Kaingu who should never have apologised for tearing it up. It is reported that when angry, Nikita Khrushchev banged his shoes on the table at the UN during an address; here at home Mama Julia Chikamoneka undressed in public, a criminal offence, yet the British Government were so mesmerised by this type of display that they later succumbed to the pressure from Zambians. PF should have admitted that the President squandered an opportunity to set a proper direction for the nation but used the occasion to make “X certificate jokes”! Thus the first “90 days/12 months” have been a joke as there was a failure of the PF leadership to steer their boat properly and help to preserve our unity and sovereignty.

 Last but not least, as a result of the foregoing I call upon President Sata to urgently address the Nation, live on television and radio. This address must involve serious public participation. The President’s opening or keynote statement should be about an hour or so, followed by questions from the public for at least two hours; no tricks or sabotage of phone lines not working or pre-determined favoured callers and sms’s. He travelled to and addressed the United Nations forum; he must now face WE THE PEOPLE!

GODFREY MIYANDA,

BRIGADIER GENERAL,

HERITAGE PARTY

[15th October 2012]

 

 

Food security under threat

THE wrangles in the fertilizer procurement contract awarded to Nyiombo Investment and Omnia Fertilizers if not properly handled will sabotage the agriculture sector and cause hunger in the nation, says UPND vice president for administration Richard Kapita.

Commenting on the joint investigations team of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) about the allegations of unsound business practices leveled against Nyiombo Investment Limited and Omnia Fertilizers in the procurement and supply of fertilizers to the government supported Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), Mr. Kapita said the move if not properly handled would sabotage agriculture sector and cause hunger in the nation.

Mr. Kapita warned that, “Tell them not to cause hunger in the nation. So far some farmers have not been paid by FRA and now they want to delay the whole process of farming by dragging this matter. We all know how investigations are carried out. The input distribution will be halted until investigations are completed and that is how uncaring and disorganized this government is.”

“We don’t want to be associated with individuals’ fights especially in this matter of fertilizer. This is an individual matter and if not carefully handled it will backfire and that minister in the PF will live to regret having started this battle,” he said.

Mr. Kapita condemned what he said was political interference in the investigations of various matters including fertilizer.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) last week launched investigations into the two companies after a complaint was raised by a Minister in the PF government after he failed to secure a tender through his in-laws company.

Mr. Kapita feared the PF government would sabotage the country because of lack of an agenda.

He said political interests in various government contracts by the PF government were a threat to the country’s economic development.

Mr. Kapita wondered why investigations could be instituted now after Nelia Investments withdrew the matter from the courts of law.

“I am aware that Nelia took this matter to court and withdrew it later. However, no communication was made to suggest the reason why they did that. But if politicians have taken advantage of the matter to start in fighting then they are sabotaging the economy of the country and it is high time ACC and CCPC refused to be used in such fights because they have a negative and destructive bearing to the economy of the nation,” he said

He said the investigations would also halt the distribution of inputs and affect the farming season, adding that the PF government had exhibited high levels of misbehavior in the manner they were conducting government business.

Mr. Kapita reminded some government officials to stop using underhand methods in fighting companies legally awarded the contract.

Corruption crusade is corrupt -RB

Former republican president Rupiah Banda says the  fight against corruption inAfricaand other continents has become corrupted because authorities use it  as an instrument to pressure their political opponents, pursue personal grievances, or even use it as an instrument against investors and business competitors adding that the fight against corruption should not be selective.

He urged African government to support the fight against corruption by using robust legal framework and independent institutions like an independent judiciary, anti corruption agencies and law enforcements that uphold the rule of law and can carry out efficient prosecutions.

Mr Banda said  that when corruption depletes national resources; the citizens of African countries are always deprived of their rights to development.

“Africais composed of young nations, poor nations whose people have only tasted freedom for a handful of decades. We are only considered successful when we are able to organize elections, keep the armies in the barracks and maintain economic growth above 5 per cent” he said.

Addressing the Crans Montana Forum inSwitzerlandon October 18, Mr Banda said success inAfricawould only be defined if much more was done to create more job opportunities, education, social development and run an efficient delivery of services to the citizens.

Mr Banda said citizens are deprived a generation of their opportunities with devastating consequences when national resources are taken hostage by private individuals and government officials instead of dedicating them to social and infrastructure development.

“Because the fight against corruption is so important, we accept form over content and take rhetoric at face value without seeing what is actually being done to fight corruption but the tactics implemented may not constitute best practices,” he said.

He maintained that “Anti-corruption efforts should focus on building a solid institutional framework that can pursue cases based on real evidence and rights to defence” he said.

Mr Banda said African countries are faced with enormous inefficiencies with their anti-corruption bodies absorbing huge budgets to pursue petty cases instead of working together to secure meaningful investigations.

“Corruption feeds on inequality and weak institutions. It wants to live in systems that fail to provide to the people, where bribes and kickbacks are simply crimes but methodologies of survival, definitions of success,” he said.

Mr Banda said corruption enjoys and encourages poor governance through a self reinforcing cycle of a failure to deliver services and the exacerbation of the gap between the rich and the poor.