Former Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) Chief Executive Director Dr Richard Mwiinga says he is sad that his dismissal from the government institution has dragged him into media debates of politics and tribalism.
In an interview with News Diggers! Dr Mwiinga who was removed from PSPF on instruction from President Lungu said it was unfair for the Daily Nation to twist a “no comment” interview into a political story involving the opposition UPND.
“Me I am not a person who works through the media. I am a person who follows procedure and would want to do things in a very administrative and professional manner. So the very aspect that I am being dragged into the media unsettles me. I have to be protected from that. I don’t want to be part of the media debates,” Dr Mwiinga lamented.
“Yesterday around 12:00 hours somebody called me and did not even identify himself. I asked ‘who are you’ and he said have you been dismissed on tribal lines?’ I said ‘no I don’t know the reasons’. All I said was that I don’t know and so I can’t comment. But I got surprised when I saw that headline in the Daily Nation. I can tell you that I was very taken aback.”
When pressed to explain how he was dismissed from the Pension Fund, Dr Mwiinga said although his removal was strange, having been rated highly by the board, it was difficult for him to attach tribalism to the matter.
“It’s very difficult for me to say that my dismissal from the Pension Fund was on tribal lines. But during my time there, I worked extremely well. And in terms of the board, they assessed my performance for the renewal of the contract. It was rated exceptional and excellent; given a rating of 86.88 per cent. The working relationship was extremely good with the board, not until the 8th of December  when some strange things happened before the board meeting,” Dr Mwiinga recalled.
He went further to explain how the “guidance” from the President for the discontinuation of his contract was communicated.
“What happened is that the Permanent Secretary [for the Ministry of Labour] Barnaby Mulenga, before the meeting started and people were already in the boardroom, called for Dr [Moses] Banda who was the board chairperson and Professor [Oliver] Saasa who was one of the board directors. He called him along with me to my office and what he did was to handover the letters to them just there, saying that your appointments have been revoked as board chairman and even as director for Professor Saasa,” Dr Mwiinga narrated.
“After that they just went into the boardroom to thank the members and indicated to them that ‘our appointment has been revoked and we have just received the letter. This was in the [board] meeting. So they left the boardroom and immediately they left, I was also told to leave. After that Barnaby just informed me that there was a directive from the President, which subsequently in the next meeting, he indicated that they don’t want to use the word ‘directive’, but they want to use the word ‘guidance from the shareholder’. Meaning there was guidance from the shareholder and the guidance was that my contract was not going to be renewed. That is what I can state and that is how far I was told.”
He said the decision shocked him because it was against the recommendation of the performance evaluation committee.
“I can tell you that I never ever expected that. I had legitimate expectations that the contract was going to be renewed because the committee that assessed my performance never indicated that there was anything to the contrary. The assessment was done in line with the job description as stated in the Act and in the Board Charter and the strategic plan. The performance was assessed comprehensively, I think it was more than 13 pages, detailed evaluation. That evaluation indicated exactly what I have achieved with evidence. The committee strongly recommended for my renewal of the contract. That’s how far I know,” said Dr Mwiinga.
Asked if he was involved in any political activity, he responded in the negative.
“I have never ever been a member or even seen to be active in any political party or meeting. Not even for a single day in my life. I have never done that. I have just been a professional public servant that is all,” said Dr Mwiinga.