THE uproar over the 42 fire trucks acquired nearly three years ago has surprisingly refused to die despite the various pronouncements over the procurement process which was cleared by the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) and the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC).
This is not all, a court of arbitration in London also cleared the tendering process as being above board.
Further, Local government Minister Vincent Mwale promptly issued a statement in Parliament confirming that tender was cleared by the two institutions because the purchase of the trucks represented value for money.
Despite this, heated debate surrounding the tendering process is raging on with some people insisting fresh investigations should be instituted they suspected corruption. The where whiff of corruption has aroused deep emotions, clouding out logic and reason.
Although President Edgar Lungu has obliged to fresh investigations, inviting those with evidence of corruption to furnish appropriate investigative wings, the clamour has not been assuaged.
Interestingly, since the commotion pertaining to the fire engines broke out, not one person has come forth and ably availed evidence to back the corruption claims.
Yet naysayers and some political malcontents continue pointing accusing fingers at government leaders crying foul – that the tender process was marred by corruption.
We are baffled and left wondering as to whether this issue is truly about the fire tenders, if it is, what more evidence do they want, if we may ask? Are they telling the nation that ZPPA and ACC have skeletons in the closet?
Nay, this matter is merely a political battle underpinned by hatred, jealous and personal vendetta. What the nation has not been told is that the proposal and tendering process started in 2012 and was approved during the reign of the then President Michael Sata.
We therefore find it incongruous and highly disturbing that some outspoken critics such as expelled former minister of information Mr Chishimba Kamwbili and the former Justice Minister and PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba were in the forefront condemning government, when in fact, they were part of the government that actually approved the fire engines’ tenders.
So, it is only proper for Mr Kambwili and Mr Kabimba to out come in the open and tell the nation that truth…that the 42 fire engines were endorsed during Mr Sata’s tenure. But isn’t it strange that they have found it convenient not to do so?
This is why we can’t help but agree with former United Party for National Development (UPND) presidential assistant Edward Mumbi, that it is unimaginable that Mr Kabimba and Mr Kambwili could turn round and criticise a process they were long privy too.
It is therefore, exceedingly unacceptable and disingenuous for Mr Kabimba who from time to time acted as president in the absence of Mr Sata to backpedal and heap the blame on President Lungu and his government.
Given the foregoing, we are compelled to believe that this furore over the fire engines is nothing but a political battle and shear personal vendetta emanating from some people’s penchant for power. Unfortunately it is has become elusive for them!
For some people who were protesting against the fire engines, we are not surprised at all. Yes freedom of expression is indeed a fundamental right, but we are not surprised at all as they have to do so, lest their imperialist master think they are not working to warrant being funded.
We urge Zambians to reflect deeply and reject hatred, political divisive machinations and personal vendetta as these will only breed turmoil in our nation which continues to be a beacon of peace.
Let peace prevail!