President Edgar Lungu has fired Community Development Minister Emerine Kabanshi, just days after an investigative report revealed that over US$4 million British Aid to Zambia meant for social cash transfer beneficiaries was stolen.
On Monday, British High Commissioner Fergus Cochrane-Dyet confirmed that his government had frozen all bilateral aid to Zambia, adding that UK does not tolerate corruption and fraud.
President Lungu fired Kabanshi in the face of a probe into the misuse of donor funds. The Head of State has since replaced Kabanshi with Nyimba member of parliament Olipa Phiri.
And President Lungu promoted Acting Zambia Air Force commander General David Muma to Lieutenant General and effectively appointed him as Zambia Air Force commander.
“Do no hesitate to let me know if there are shortcomings in the establishments you will be leading. I don’t want to be told the day I decide to relieve you of your appointment that things are not okay, I should have reported earlier. If these things are beyond you, let me know so that I help you, that’s why I am here. All said and done, we are a team. We work together to bring prosperity to the people of Zambia,” said President Lungu when he swore them in.
“Some people forget that I am the appointing authority and I am the one who can change the team at any time, I even told those who were appointed much earlier when I was swearing him in. I am the coach and I will decide when to substitute the team…there’s no limit to the number of substitutions which I can make.”
In February this year, the National Democratic Congress reported Kabanshi, Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya, Minister of Infrastructure Ronald Chitotela, and Luapula province Minister Nixon Chilangwa to the ACC for using State facilities, including Zambia Air Force planes during their recent political campaign trail to Luapula province.
At the said Campaign rallies, Kabanshi distributed money and over 2,000 cell phones, among other gifts to the voters in the name of social cash transfer benefits.
“Ba Lungu bali bomba. Bali mupela ulupiya uwabalanda kuno ku Samfya, impendwa ifikile kuli 17,000 abantu bali pali social cash transfer. Ukufuma apo banamayo, mwe bali 2000 nalimiletela ama phone, namutampa nokufola ama K1,000 mwebali 2000. Bushe kukaba umuntu ukeisa mipela impiya efyo baLungu balemipela? Takwakabe aini? (Mr Lungu has worked. He gave you money for the poor here in Samfya and the social cash transfer programme has reached 17,000 people. And for the women, I already brought phones for 2000 of you and you are already getting paid K1,000 each. Do you think anyone else will come and give you money the way Mr Lungu is giving you? There will be no one),” said Kabanshi.
“Social cash transfer nalamipela naiimbi ikeisafika 23,000 (social cash transfer will reach more people so that it covers 23,000 people). Eh kumitemwa bamitemwa baLungu (this is how much Mr Lungu loves you).”