The PF leadership is treating everyone who is from Southern Province as a UPND member who must be removed from government, Rainbow Party leader Wynter Kabimba has observed.
Kabimba was commenting on President Lungu’s decision to fire Public Service Pension Fund chief executive officer Dr Richard Mwiinga, after the Boar had resolved to renew his contract.
President Lungu has also personally removed PSPF Board Chairman Dr Moses Banda and Board member Professor Oliver Saasa, leaving Ministry of Labour Permanent Secretary Barnaby Mulenga in charge.
But Kabimba who is former justice minister said the PF government was victimising Southerners because they regarded them as members of the opposition UPND.
“In many pieces of legislation, if not all of them, it is actually the minister responsible that is actually supposed to appoint the board of directors. But somehow, there is a silent rule which has developed that after the minister has made the appointment, those appointments must be approved by Cabinet, chaired by the President. It is not written anywhere, but that is the practice and I saw it myself when I was in government; a practice which is not supported by law. Now this particular incident, if the facts are as stated, then Mr Mwiinga surely should have recourse to a Judicial Review and I have no doubt myself from my experience that the court would rule in his favour over that interference by the President,” Kabimba said.
“Secondly, when I saw the headline myself in your paper, one of the things that came to my mind was that there is this thing which is emerging now of dubbing anybody who is a southerner as being UPND. And if you are UPND, then you are not entitled to work in a parastatal company under the PF government for reasons which are unknown, except that you are UPND. I think President Lungu must be advised that the promotion of this atmosphere that certain ethnic groupings are not wanted by him or his government is not good for the security of this country or the future of this country. This is what has brought about problems in places like South Sudan, even the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.
He said the PF started ill-treating Southerners during his time in government and he denounced the trend openly.
“I saw this myself when I was in Cabinet and it unsettled me. There were times when discussions even as to who should sit on a board bordered on tribalism and that’s why I made a statement from way back when I was in government that there was tribalism that was showing its ugly head in PF and I have been very consistent about that. But you also see it even in the opposition. So the Zambian people need to analyse the leaders on the political landscape in a broader perspective than narrow ethnic interests. The President must make sure that no one tribe, or a group of tribes feels marginalised whether in terms of economic delivery or in terms of job opportunities,” he said.
He said Tongas in government were having sleepless nights, fearing that they would wake up to a dismissal the following morning.
“It is very difficult to give them any sense of security if they are going to be treated like endangered species and it will be very difficult to get positive outputs of work because they are insecure as they work. There is no sense of security you would give to someone who is feeling marginalised and discriminated against at the level of President.
And Kabimba feared that respected professionals would start refusing to serve on parastatal boards for fear of being removed in an embarrassing manner.
“If you are going to treat people like Oliver Saasa and others like that, then you will not get good people to volunteer to serve on the board of directors, you are going to get mediocre. And what is going to suffer, ultimately, is the institution and the country at large. If people are not going to be treated with due respect and on merit, then the good people that have the experience, in whom the country has invested so much, they will shun away from serving on boards of parastatal companies. Ultimately, what you will find will be parastatals being run by illiterate and semi illiterate party cadres.