National Restoration party leader Elias Chipimo says the admission by Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister Ronald Chitotela that he got a vehicle from RDA to monitor road projects goes to show the levels of abuse of power in the PF government.
Last week, Chitotela said on Radio Christian Voice that there was nothing wrong with him demanding for a vehicle from the Road Development Agency (RDA) because he was minister in-charge of infrastructure.
“RDA is one of the statutory bodies under my ministry and nothing stops me as a minister if I don’t have transport and I am going to inspect road projects under RDA to ask for a vehicle from RDA for project monitoring. That doesn’t mean it has become my vehicle,” Chitotela said.
The Minister added that since he was appointed minister, he has never been given a ministerial vehicles, hence his decision to get one from RDA for monitoring projects.
“But in his reaction, Chipimo wondered why Chitotela had taken up the role of monitoring road projects, which he said was a responsibility of qualified technocrats and consultants.
“This entire incident is yet another example of the broad rush of abuse of office that has been the characteristic of the PF administration since President Lungu came into power. We are seeing an array of different attempts to hide from the truth of what’s really going on. To have had the minister duck and die and then eventually accept to have received a vehicle from RDA is troubling but is not surprising. And we expect that more of these types of abuse will come to the surface,” Chipimo said.
“The reason why this is worrying is that there is a role that the minister of any government ministry is suppose to play. His job is not to inspect projects. His job is to be a policy advisor to the president. And inspecting of projects should be something that is incidental to the work that the minister does as part and parcel of his ongoing policy, advisory role to the president. People who should be inspecting the projects that have been conducted by RDA and reporting in the correct channel to the relevant ministerial heads is a completely different team. And the day that agencies now start buying vehicles for their ministers in order to inspect things that they are doing, is the day that we will have total chaos.”
Chipimo said inspecting roads was a job on its own designated to qualified civil engineers.
“And is he not supposed to rely on properly tasked officials who can inspect road projects? Because it’s a job on its own to inspect, verify and categorize on what has really been done so that they can give a professional appraisals of the work that RDA is suppose to be doing. So these excuses are an attempt to cover up the misappropriation and misapplication that is constantly identified in the Auditor General’s report,” Chipimo added.
The opposition leader further said Chitotela’s action should be condemned by every well meaning Zambian.
“And we really feel disciplinary action should be undertaken. In this case there has been a clear admission of the misapplication, misappropriation, misuse, abuse; and action should be taken. But unfortunately because we are dealing with individuals who know how ruthlessly the patriotic front can be when they try and enforce the law and procedure, we are not likely to see any action taken against this kind of abuse,” said Chipimo.
“But let’s not make any mistake about it. This is abuse, it should be condemned as such and the Zambian voters must wake up to the reality that the PF is not here to work for the people. The PF after Michael Sata is only interested in one thing. Getting itself as rich as it can possibly get its selected members to become within the shortest possible time. They are only interested in staying in power so that they can continue to consume the fruits of the labour of the Zambian people at the expense of the Zambian people.”