Vice-President Inonge Wina says Minister of National Planning and Development Lucky Mulusa will be disciplined for likening the recently procured fire tenders to wheelbarrows.

And Vice-President Wina says only those who work with President Edgar Lungu everyday can appreciate how serious the Head of State is in the fight against corruption.

Vice-President Wina was responding to questions from members of parliament during Vice-President’s question time in the House today.

Chimwemwe Independent member of parliament Elias Mwila wanted to know whether government was considering asking Mulusa to resign for breaching Cabinet collective responsibility.

“During the CIMA meeting in Lusaka last week, the Minister of National Planning and Development Lucky Mulusa is quoted to have disparaged the procurement of 42 fire tenders by likening them to wheelbarrows in his own words compared to the ones Liverpool city purchased at the same price. It is the belief of the people of Chimwemwe that Cabinet sat and approved this purchase which we have since welcomed and the minister is bound by the principle of collective responsibility. Now my question is, is the government considering asking the honourable minister to resign for going against the principle of collective responsibility?” asked Mwila.

In response, Vice-President Wina said Mulusa’s case would be considered under the ministerial code of conduct.

“Madam Speaker, I regret that I was not privy to the statement that was made by honourable Mulusa but being what it is and having received some reports regarding the statement that the minister has made, there are certain channels that we use in this government and in the party to discipline our erring ministers or members of parliament. Under the ministerial code of conduct, this matter will be considered [with] disciplinary measures that government will deem fit to apply in this particular situation, I thank you,” Vice-President Wina said.

And Vice-President Wina said people were discrediting the presidency by doubting President Lungu’s ability to fight graft.

She was responding to a question from Mafinga PF member of parliament Jacob Siwale who wanted to know her position on those making corruption allegations without providing evidence.

“The way we are handling the matter [of corruption] is that we are actually undermining the presidency itself because you seem to think that the President is not taking measure to curb some of these matters. The President is at the forefront to instigate…” Vice-President Wina said but she was interruption by opposition MPs who shouted “Question!”

Vice-President Wina continued; “You can question because you are not near him every day but some of us who work with the President and know the way he is doing things, will agree with me that he is the biggest fighter of corruption. So honorable members, let us be truthful, let us not be in the House to champion causes that may not benefit us. If an individual is aggrieved simply because a contract was not fulfilled, don’t agree to be used to champion the cause. We are here to fight corruption at any level. So Madam Speaker, we need to be serious about the fight against corruption. Let us not use it as a scapegoat for political acrimony and political finger pointing.”

She said President Lungu had tasked the ACC to investigate the purchase of fire trucks further.

“The fight against corruption is a fight that we should not trivialize as political players. Corruption eats at the fabric of our society or any society for that matter. Corruption impoverishes the poor and benefits the rich. That’s why it is very important for this country and the people of Zambia to know that fighting corruption, we should fight corruption together, all of us, whenever we see the head of corruption coming to the surface, let’s fight together. As for the fire fighting tenders, the president of this country has implored the ACC to investigate the matter further so that if there are any issues, if there is any evidence that can be brought to the fore, this evidence should be brought to the fore so that it is reexamined, so that those that are found wrong, should be punished,” Vice-President Wina said.

“But what we are doing is to use certain cases to target our perceived political enemies. This is trivializing the fight against corruption because if we continue on this road, it means that we are undermining the institutions of governance such as the ACC and other investigative wings of government that should probe these matters and bring the culprits to book. Again, the way we are handling this matter is as though we just want to discredit the administration, [but] that defeats the fight against corruption because when you have evidence, take it to the rightful wings of government that will investigate and prosecute the offenders.”

Meanwhile, Vice-President Wina revealed that many children trekking to Zambia from the Democratic Republic of Congo were unaccompanied by their parents.

She was responding to a question from Kaputa PF member of parliament Maxas Ng’onga who wanted to know what preparations government had put in place for refugees flocking to Zambia from the DRC.

“The influx of people from DRC has been continuous. Among the asylum seekers is a large number of children who walk all the way from wherever they come from in Congo into Zambia, unaccompanied by their parents. We also have a large number of pregnant women as of last week, the total number was 192 pregnant women who have walked to Zambia to seek asylum. Madam Speaker, this trend of affairs has definitely created a humanitarian crisis in our country. But luckily, the Zambian government through its agencies has mobilised resources to tackle the problem and also the UNHCR, UNICEF, UNFPA and others, together with our Red Cross, DMMU, Ministry of Health, Home Affairs, Defence and others have come together to tackled the situation and I must say that as of now, the situation is under control,” said Vice-President Wina.