Alliance for Community Action executive director Laura Miti says the biggest form of resource misappropriation that the country has been experiencing is legal wastage which cannot be accounted for.
And Miti has charged that President Edgar Lungu is being mischievous when he asks for evidence from people who are accusing his government of corruption, saying people cannot produce evidence in a country where the Access to Information bill has failed to pass.
Meanwhile, Miti says it is shocking that the Judiciary is untrustworthy under Chief Justice Irene Mambilima despite having assume that office with high expectations.
Speaking when she featured on a Diamond Television show dubbed Costa, Sunday, Miti said many cases resource mismanagement do not appear in the Auditor General’s report because they involve matters that are considered legal, even though they could be wrong.
“Zambians do not know that the money that government uses to build roads, schools and boreholes is theirs, that is why the politicians keep ordering them about to say clap for us we did this for you. But the moment that people change their mind sets and start connecting the links that the reason why baby died on the queue at UTH is because PF media director Sunday Chanda was on a trip to the Commonwealth where he should not be. Citizens need to think that it is because 42 fire trucks were bought which was not a priority. We’ve been told that the Presidential delegation had a cruise in New York, so people should be able to make that link because the amount of money we are losing via abuse is too much,” Miti explained.
“If you come to our offices, you will see a post that says ‘legal waste is more dangerous than corruption. In this country what we are actually suffering from is legal waste. This is wastage from the kind of activities that do not come up in the Auditor General’s report. For example if the President decides to take 200 people with him on a trip, it’s legal and it cannot go into the Auditor’s report but it’s wastage of resources. Take for example a home where rent has not been paid but then dad comes back home with a brand new suit or mum comes back with new Brazilian hair, they have not broken the rule but their priorities are wrong and everybody watching would be able to say ‘that is wrong’. So we as Zambians need to start talking about the priorities and strengthen the systems.”
And Miti said it was mischievous for President Lungu to keep asking people for evidence to support the corruption allegations when citizens have got no access to information.\
“President Lungu is being mischievous when he asks for evidence because the evidence is with the government. In a country where you have refused to pass the Access to Information law, you can’t ask citizens to give you evidence. The President knows that no body will be able to get that evidence but once the question has been raised for example, why is this person on the trip? Why are your delegations so bloated, why are our projects costing us three or four times as much as anybody else within the region? It is the responsibility of the President to then not only respond but begin to take measures to redress that. The law in this country is completely broken and if there is anything keeps coming up in the Auditor General’s report is the breaking of the law,” Miti said.
“Just in last year’s report, there is all lot of people that need to be fired but the President is absolutely silent that you’d think he has not heard. So forget that he cannot prove, we all that the President can prove these things but he just don’t care. Right now this country is in the state of paralysis, nothing is happening expect the fact that this President wants another term and generally those around him want to stay more in power because they are enjoying our money. We need to be able to say to those in power that you might not be able to give us access to information, you might not give us the information we need but we will vote you out. The greatest power of the citizens lies in their vote.”
Miti said the PF government had messed things up and deserved to be voted out of power.
“This government deserves to be voted out because it has really messed us up. The reason why we vote a government into power is so that there is a wider good but this government has absolutely forgotten about the wider good. So I think this government deserves to be voted out. The bigger issue though is that whoever replaces him needs to be reasonable. If this government is voted out because citizens have understood their rights and what they should deserve from their government, then the next government is then put on notice. But if we vote government for the sake of voting them out without linking why we are voting them out to how they have managed the country, then what we have now is UPND because it is the biggest opposition waiting to do to us exactly what PF is doing,” she said.
Meanwhile, Miti observed that people did not trust the Judiciary under Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima.
“There was a time in this country where we had respected Chief Justices, we had a time when the Speaker of the National Assembly was respectable but under Ireen Mambilima, the Judiciary is a mess, under her, the Judiciary is not trusted. And I find that very shocking because Ireen Mambilima went into the Chief Justice’s office on a high note after the 2015 elections and there was even a song which was sang about her that she had a character to admire. But look at what is happening in the Judiciary, we have a situation where the general public does not trust the Judiciary. So I would appeal to officers like the Chief Justice, the Inspector General of Police, ACC, DEC to stand up for this country. You can’t all sit together with those that are supposed to be held to account and become one team. It’s one thing for given Lubinda to try and pass the constitution through Parliament that favours President Lungu because he’s in the executive, but it’s quite another for Dr Patrick Matibini to be part of that group that discusses how you are going to get rid of the impeachment motion,” said Miti.