Patriots for Economic Progress leader Sean Tembo says his fortnightly protests against the $42 million fire tenders is yielding positive results.
And Tembo says he plans to hold 42 protest in total, one for each fire tender.
In an interview after successfully holding his 11th protest, Wednesday, Tembo said he believed that some of the ministers that had spoken out against corruption in the Patriotic Front had done so because he had continued talking about it.
“I think we have achieved a lot because when you hold a protest, you are basically raising the awareness of the citizens. So we have been able to do that and there is evidence of that. If you look at the number of ministers who have been able to speak out against these fire tenders, for example honourable [Lucky] Mulusa was able to speak out and compare these fire tenders to wheelbarrows, we believe that it was by virtue of our protest that honourable Mulusa’s conscious was raised and he was able to speak out strongly against these fire tenders to say even his fellow ministers were struggling to justify them. So the other major achievement is the resignation of honourable [Harry] Kalaba. We believe that through our protests, we were able to raise the conscious of honourable Kalaba for him to realise that he was serving in a corrupt government because without these protests, when everyone is quiet, you don’t realise that there is corruption which is going around,”
“We believe that those are some of our major achievements and then also, the Anti Corruption Commission has been able to decide to reinvestigate the matter when at the beginning they said they had investigated the matter and they didn’t find any corruption but later on they had said they were going to reinvestigate the matter. So we believe that without the pressure, the pressure that we have applied, these parties would not have been able to take these kinds of action. Initially, we started with civil society but ever since our arrest at Parliament, we have been the only ones that have continued with this fight against the fire tender corruption so we believe we have made a lot of achievements and we will continue to make achievements going forward.”
Tembo said since President Edgar Lungu had failed to justify the fire tenders, his party had decided to label them full blown corruption.
“As a party, we have now graduated from calling this issue of fire tenders suspected corruption to now calling it corruption because we gave the government ample opportunity to show to the Zambian people that there was no corruption involved but they failed to do so. We petitioned the President and the President has been quiet so as far as we are concerned, since the government are resisting and not willing to show that there was no corruption involved, then we have no option but to categorise this fire tender scandal as a corrupt scandal. Initially we were resisting to call it corrupt but now we are calling it fully fledged corruption,” Tembo said.
And Tembo said he would carry out all 42 planned protests, one for each fire tender.
“The other week (January 30), they blocked us but when we clarified that we had complied with provisions of SI79 with regards to numbers, they said we needed to make it very clear in the notice so we proceeded to issue a fresh notice last week Wednesday which matured today so we managed to proceed with the protest today. We have planned a total of 42 protests, one for each of the fire tender,” said Tembo.