National Restoration Party president Elias Chipimo says it is disgraceful to see ZNBC workers protesting over delayed salaries when the institution has capacity to generate enough funds.
In an interview yesterday, Chipimo observed that transactions like the Topstar deal had stripped ZNBC of its dignity.
“It’s an absolute disgrace that we can see the kind of development that is happening at the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation. It is a disgrace that an institute that has at its disposal an opportunity to generate significant income has been so depleted because of transactions like Topstar and other dealings where loans have been acquired, we have ended up having to pay them back without a proper audit as to what the money was used for and stripped ZNBC of its dignity and its financial capability,” Chipimo said.
He said the PF had turned ZNBC into a propaganda tool and that had contributed to financial challenges at the national broadcaster whereby it was failing to even buy toilet paper.
“The government of the day, the administration in power as managed by the PF has turned what should be a national institution that should be for the benefit of every Zambian into a propaganda tool purely to mask the failure and weaknesses of the Patriotic Front by presenting projects that have not properly been accounted for and hiding the lack of commitment to genuine development programs. And this has resulted in a lack of interest and attention to that should be able to generate huge amounts of money for an institution that should not be struggling even to buy toilet paper for its staff,” he said.
Chipimo said ZNBC should be left to operate independently.
“The key issue with regard to ZNBC has a lot less to do with specific individuals as it does with policy which is silently administered by the Patriotic Front and its leadership. What needs to happen with these institutions is to allow them to function genuinely independently, once you do that, they have enough expertise, they have enough capable people who won’t be looking over their shoulders wondering what a particular party official is going to say or do and they will be able to conduct themselves in a professional manner and generate the necessary income and run the institution as professional as they should do,” said Chipimo.
On Monday, unionized ZNBC workers staged a protest against the delayed payment of their January salaries and the poor management of the institution.
They demanded among other things that a new board should be ushered in as the current one was only comprised of the Director General and the Ministry of Information Permanent Secretary.