Lusaka lawyer and PF member Kelvin Bwalya Fube (KBF) says the fact that President Edgar Lungu did not persuade acting Auditor General Ron Mwambwa to stay in his job shows that the Head of State could have a lot of information about the individual which may not be disclosed to the public.
And KBF has commended President Lungu for putting austerity measures in place to cut down on government expenditure, but says more needs to be done to achieve positive results from the intervention.
Meanwhile, KBF has observed that some “members who have been loyal to the PF” are hurt with the choice of mayoral candidate, and challenged Miles Sampa to change and show genuine loyalty and gratitude to the party for forgiving his betrayal.
In an interview, KBF said he could only speculate that there must be a good reason why President Lungu did not ask Mwambwa to stay if he was good at his job.
“The acting Auditor General had his reasons for resigning. I don’t want to speculate but what I can say is that if the President has enough information to accept his resignation and not persuade him to stay, then perhaps he has good reasons. If you are good at your job and you resign and I am your boss, I am supposed to accept that resignation and I say no no, stay. That’s different. But if I accept it, that’s different also. Perhaps I have information about you which perhaps you didn’t want the public to know and you decided to run and the President says ‘okay, let’s not have too many cats out of the bag’. The government must be protected at different levels, you see the President receives a lot of information about people and when he decides to accept someone’s resignation, trust me he has information,” KBF said.
He said Mwambwa’s resignation was not going to affect government, adding that there were many people who could do the job better.
“So for me, if the President has accepted that resignation so be it. I don’t think it’s going to affect the running of government, there are more people, perhaps even more competent who can run that office… You and I may not know what the President knows about this man, he could have been damaging the country somewhere somehow and the President didn’t want that kind of thing maybe that’s why he accepted. Let’s not speculate but for the President to say ‘let him go it means he is well informed. It also means that there are people to take over who are capable if not better. There is no harm , people can resign and go, it’s fine,” he added.
“Even here in my office lawyers resign, they move on, I am still here, other lawyers come, we employ them. If a person comes and says ‘I have been given a job as legal counsel at the council’ and if he thinks he will be given a plot, you think I should stop him? I will let him go. ZIALE will produce more lawyers and I will train the lawyers they will work. The Auditor General’s resignation doesn’t shake government, he’s just one pin. And I don’t think others are willing to resign just like that. There are things that happen in government. Government is a big thing, it’s a machine. So when someone decides to go, know that either he’s got skeletons or something happened or he’s not happy, he’s frustrated but whatever reason, the President must have enough reason to say ‘yes’ if he said yes then he’s comfortable and I trust the President.”
He then thanked President Lungu for getting the ball rolling on imposing austerity measures.
“I have said there are four things that have affected us and continue to affect us. Number one is the way we line up our budget, how we distribute monies in the budget. I have argued because I know I have empirical data and evidence, the last budgets in the past years have not been growth budgets, so how we attack the budget is very important. Number two, our loan systems have always been wrong. If you are going to borrow money and the loans are huge and the interest rates are too high to sustain themselves and those loans are incapable of paying back themselves, those loans are not sustainable,” KBF said.
“I have argued number three that our procurement systems in government, coupled with corruption which is the fourth element, are bad. Procurement and corruption for me go together. So those four elements have been a problem and if we improve on these four elements then we can change this country. In my book I have argued that of you’ve got 10 aApples and you’ve got 100 families to feed, it doesn’t matter whether you are a genius, there are just 10 apples, you can’t feed them. It’s the same thing with us, that’s how we have been running our economy. We must change, it’s the mindset, it’s the political will to do it.”
KBF said President Lungu realised that he had been running government wrongly.
“Let me thank the President for having come up with those austerity measures because it means there is a realisation that there is something wrong in government, there is a realisation that we’ve been running government wrongly. Are the measures enough? To some degree yes, but can we do more? Yes we can. Part of which is what I have discussed in my book,” he said.
And KBF said he was going to vote for Sampa as Lusaka Mayor, saying it was important for the party to respect the decision of the Central Committee to chose a candidate who had betrayed the party.
“I am a disciplined member of the PF, when the central committee adopts a candidate, I trust they’ve done their homework, I trust they’ve done what we call a due diligence and they believe in the candidature of the person they are giving the electorate, that’s what I believe. Biblically speaking, we’ve got in Luke:15 the prodigal son who runs away, wastes his money but he comes back. When he comes to his senses, he comes back, what does the father do? He opens his arms and welcomes him and throws a party.” he said.
“We’ve got party members today who are loyal to the PF who remained and who feel hurt and want to behave like the brothers in that prodigal son story. My challenge to Miles Sampa is that I hope he comes to his senses and realises the importance of this party. Miles was more related to Mr Sata than myself, he betrayed ba Sata but the party has forgiven him. We as a membership has forgiven him. Miles Sampa owes us as PF loyalty, he owes us delivery as a candidate. He owes us discipline as a party and that’s what I expect from every member of the PF. Let’s welcome him back but let’s not behave like the brother in the prodigal son story and be fuming with anger, no, let’s forgive him.”
KBF said Sampa must know that the PF has its eyes on him, and expected nothing less than total loyalty and commitment.
“But because he has been given a second chance, Miles must know that we have our eyes on him and we are watching. So for me, the Central Committee has come up with a decision that he is our candidate, as a disciplined member, I will receive it. Am I going to vote for him? Yes I will vote for him, why? Because the PF comes first. And that’s the way we should behave as members, that’s discipline. But that doesn’t stop me from criticising him, if I see something wrong I will speak because those are rights I enjoy as a party member and that’s what I expect from everyone. But we should not be bitter because Miles has been picked above those who are loyal, if those who remained in the party to be loyal are not capable in the eyes of the central committee, we can’t fault the central committee. If they think Miles is the best candidate as they decided, let’s respect that decision,” he said.
Meanwhile, KBF said he had decided to join full time politics so that he represents himself to the people as he continues to point out where the Lungu led government was failing.
“From the sidelines, I have realised that some of the people we have in office are incapable of understanding the micro and macro factors of the economy, therefore, am going to go into politics straight because if you send people to represent you sometimes, they don’t understand what you want them to represent you about. Nothing will get done, so go and do it yourself,” said KBF.
“That is why I want to join politics full time. Next time you want to talk to me I won’t be in this office, I will be in another office with the political will to push that agenda because I am that passionate about my country. For me I have always insisted that if those measures are not achieved then the President must fire some people, that’s the only way you push your agenda. I told you to do this, you have failed to do this, fire. But if you keep people when they can’t execute what you are telling them to, then people will say there is no political will.