Public accountability in Zambia has been dead since 2013 due to the breakdown in the rule of law under the PF administration, says ZCSD executive director Lewis Mwape.
In a statement, Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD) executive director, Lewis Mwape, condemned the failure by the named 105 local authorities to produce audit reports for the years 2013 to 2015, as highlighted in the Auditor General’s report.
He charged that public accountability in Zambia had died since 2013 soon after the PF took office due to the breakdown in the rule of law and lack of compliance to public finance management requirements, adding that the country currently had a leadership that did not care about accountability and service delivery to its people.
“ZCSD is seriously concerned that the failure by 105 local authorities to produce audit reports from 2013 to 2015 clearly demonstrates the breakdown in the rule of law and lack of compliance to public finance management requirements. This also confirms the lack of commitment by the PF government to promote accountability and transparency in public resources management. We have a leadership that does not care about accountability and later on service delivery to the people! How did the Ministry of Local Government manage to fund the local authorities without getting the feedback on how such resources were being applied?” Mwape asked.
“Local authorities have boycotted lack of funding from the Ministry of Local Government and have seen to have no need to be audited because they are not being funded by central government! In any case, this possibility could be demonstrated by ensuring that the local authorities produce audit reports and are audited. In this way it would be easy for the public to sympathise with local authorities on their lack or inadequate funding from central government.”
He challenged the local authorities not to use inadequate funding from central government as an excuse for their failure to produce audit reports and account for locally-mobilized public resources.
“Inadequate funding must not be used as a scapegoat for failure to produce audit reports and account for locally-mobilized public resources! Accountability [in the PF government] has died since 2013 and has finally been buried! This is a dangerous situation which requires to be arrested urgently if we still have a responsible government in place!” Mwape added.
And Mwape called on Minister of Local Government, Vincent Mwale, to resolve the situation, saying the failure by state institutions to produce audit reports is a serious demonstration of poor governance and absolute breakdown in the rule of law.
“We, therefore, wish to call on the Minister of Local Government to immediately move in and ensure that challenges facing the local authorities are addressed! The failure by state institutions to produce audit reports is a serious demonstration of poor governance and absolute breakdown in the rule of law! The state of affairs in the Ministry of Local Government also confirms the public assertion of a corrupt government that cares less about service delivery and has no interest on how public resources were utilized; knowing too well that the resources were held hostage by those entrusted to manage public affairs! This is unfortunate to have happened in the face of a Minister, Hon. Vincent Mwale, MP, who once served as the Chairperson of [the Parliamentary Public] Accounts Committee of the National Assembly and, thus, fully understands the importance of auditing public institutions!” stated Mwape.