EAZ becoming a PF surrogate – Musenge

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has urged the Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) to seriously introspect the new Council members to avoid a situation where the professional institution is rendered a PF surrogate.

And the NDC say State House’s launching of an inquiry into the privatization of public enterprises under the MMD regime is unnecessary and untimely.

In a statement issued, Wednesday, NDC secretary general Mwenya Musenge warned the EAZ not to render itself a Patriotic Front (PF) surrogate by pushing a pro-PF agenda.

“As NDC, we are not amazed that State House is now using professional bodies, such as the Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ), to discuss the privatization of former State assets. As NDC, we have fears that the EAZ will soon lose its relevance and respect if they do not thread cautiously,” Musenge warned.

“We call upon genuine members of the EAZ to seriously have an introspection of the new EAZ council. We foresee a situation where the EAZ will soon be a surrogate of the PF looking at the partisan lines some of its executive members are tolling.”

And Musenge said that State House’s launching of an inquiry into the privatization of public enterprises under the MMD regime is unnecessary and untimely.

On Tuesday, President Edgar Lungu’s Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda called for a public and judge-led inquiry into the privatization of companies where an opposition politician was implicated.

But Musenge said that government was better off spending resources on more pressing matters as opposed to wasting public funds on the inquiry .

“As NDC, we feel the probe into the sale of state parastatals will not yield any results. Such an inquiry into the matter will merely be an academic excise and a waste of public resources. Colossal sums of money that could be spent on such an inquiry could be diverted to needy areas such as the health and educational sectors,” Musenge argued.

“Moreover, we feel most of the documents in the privatization of state firms cannot be traced. It’s now almost 20 years after the MMD government concluded the said excise. Worse still, most of the people behind the sale of former government firms have either died or relocated from Zambia.”

Musenge charged that State House has ulterior motives for making the inquiry and intends on denting the image of the opposition.

“We feel State House deliberately wants to dent the image and reputation of certain persons linked to the privatization of government assets. All this is meant to disparage the image of a well-known opposition political figure,” Musenge stressed.

“This witch-hunt being promoted by State House is petty and extremely preposterous! It is unfortunate that such cheap talk is coming from the Presidency, undoubtedly, the highest office in the land. Zambia has a lot of urgent matters to resolve. State House could do well, for instance, to discuss the plight of starving villagers in Lumezi District living on raw mangoes.”

He also pointed out how President Lungu can focus on fighting corruption in his Cabinet and utilize the FIC Trends Report where most Cabinet Ministers were cited.

“The Presidency can go further to discuss how President Lungu is fighting corruption in his Cabinet. Zambians want to know, for instance, what Mr. Lungu is doing about the latest Financial Intelligence Report handed over to him by the FIC. Several Cabinet Ministers are cited in this dossier,” he narrated.

“The country may also want to know how far the probe into the infamous procurement of the fire tenders has reached. The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has been investigating some named Minister over wealth suspiciously acquired. We want to know if President Lungu has received and studied the file presumably handed over to him from the ACC. The Presidential handlers should use this period to organize a meeting with the Zambia Chambers of Mines to discuss the pending job cuts in the extractive sector.”

Meanwhile, Musenge, a former PF Copperbelt Province Minister, also warned Chanda not to get involved in politics, which should be left to politicians instead.

“We want to caution the Presidential Spokesperson Amos Chanda NOT to use his office to fight proxy political battles. Mr. Chanda should leave political battles to politicians and he should be above partisan politics,” cautioned Musenge.

“The people of Zambia are not interested to know, for instance, how President Lungu used the monies he got from the sale of Zambia Cold storage. We believe that Mr. Lungu and others in the privatization team of state enterprises did a professional job in whatever undertakings and decisions they made. If those in the privatization team were involved in illicit acts, previous administrations could have probed those linked to the sale of parastatals.”

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