Former Ministry of Health Spokesperson Dr Dr. Canisius Banda says it is wrong for public officers to dodge matters raised by citizens whom they serve.

Last week, the Zambia Pharmaceuticals Business Forum (ZPBF) raised a red flag against the Ministry of Health for exclusively awarding tenders for the supply of drugs to companies of personal interests, against the public procurement guidelines.

ZPBF wrote to Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, demanding the cancellation of tender number MoH/SP/016/17, among others, which was not subjected to open and inclusive bidding.

And a whistleblower narrated how Medical Stores Limited had engaged a named Chinese company situated along Cha-cha-cha Road to supply drugs, which do not go through quality checks as per standard requirement.

But Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya refused to explain the concerns raised by ZPBF, saying he would not engage the media on a matter that should have been dealt directly with aggrieved parties; while his Permanent Secretary Dr Kennedy Malama has also expressed unwillingness to comment on the matter.

Reacting to the revelation, Dr Banda told News Diggers in an interview that public officers should not forget that citizens have the right to demand answers.

“Its the responsibility of the citizens to ensure that their country is run according to the level of their expectations. So in this particular matter, citizens must be encouraged to seek the truth on matters that concern them, and they must find the answers. So if a particular individual has done something which is conflicting with the republican constitution, citizens expect some action to be taken. There is not a single government official that should dodge a public issue,” said Dr Banda.

“When citizens ask questions about their leaders, answers must be provided. These people are serving on behalf of the citizens so when they try to dodge what the citizens ask, it is wrong. These officers must answer, they must never dodge. Dodging is wrong. In fact its like not imputing with the republican constitution. It is an art which boarders on secrecy and inefficiency, so they must not dodge at all.”