Minister of Works and Supply Mutotwe Kafwaya says there is nothing wrong with expatriates driving government vehicles because they are also public workers.

And Kafwaya says the Opposition Alliance is not a threat to PF because it will not last long due to mistrust amongst member parties.

Responding to a question from a caller only identified as “The Golden Voice of Lusaka”, who wanted to know if expatriates elsewhere in the world were allowed to drive government vehicles, Kafwaya who had featured on Hot FM’s Hot Seat programme said there was nothing wrong with expatriates driving government vehicles as long as they had permission to do so.

“I think that expatriates can drive government motor vehicles, whether they are in GRZ (Government of the Republic of Zambia) number or in private number, if they are authorized to do so. The key feature there is that you’ve got to have authorization. When we caught those Chinese [nationals sometime ago for driving government vehicles], we caught them for lack of authorization. We were implementing the rules that we have, our rules are such that for someone to use a government vehicle on a non designate day, you’ve got to have authorization. So for me, I am looking at the fact that you have been allowed to use the motor vehicle on that particular day, whatever expatriate you are. Ever heard that anywhere else in the world, I am not very much traveled like many people but I have heard people saying ‘we’ve never seen a Zambian drive a Chinese vehicle in China. We’ve never heard this’. But Chinese may never needed Zambian expatriates, you understand that? As badly as we need them, their level of development is different,” Kafwaya said.

“We have to understand where we are development wise. We have to be clear that the Chinese are exporting human resources to us because they are much more advanced than we are. The Americans can export their human resource to us because they are much more advanced than we are. So even when you say ‘I have never seen’, I think you must say ‘I have never seen a Zambian drive a government vehicle in Botswana’, it makes sense because we can export labour into Botswana. It’s very difficult for the level of development we have achieved so far to export labour to German but German can do that and if they can do that, we should be able to find ways of integrating them into our system so that we get value from them. The things is that a Chinese or an American who serving the Zambian people is a public worker here in Zambia. [So] why should you discriminate people who are looking at our patients, people who are improving our education sector?”

And Kafwaya disclosed that government would soon start penalising officers who were abusing government vehicles.

“The penalties are various. They range from K1000 to around K5000 and even to an extent of revoking the certificate of competence for a period of six months and I have always said to our drivers in the public service that ‘if we impound you three times in space of six months, we are going to revoke your competence’. And when you are a driver and you put out of work for six months, you will actually be lucky to be retained to the service. So some examples of abuse of public vehicles is use of a vehicle without authorization, use of a government vehicle for personal gain. That’s abuse, because all of these vehicles are their to facilitate public service and if you are not undertaking public service, you are not allowed to use a public vehicle because that’s people’s money. That’s people’s investment into their own service,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Minster, who is also PF’s Lunte member of parliament, said the recently formed Opposition Alliance would crumble because it was founded on regionalism, hatred and comedy.

“Personally I am not scared [of the alliance] because personally I know that one day PF will come out of power, I know that one day I won’t be MP for Lunte and I know that one day I will not be Minister of Works and Supply. But when that day will come, I am not sure because I can’t project the future. I think an alliance of people who don’t believe in each other, an alliance of political… the reason I think they don’t believe in each other is because these political parties have their various political ideologies. Some of them their ideologies are anchored on regions, others their ideologies are anchored on hatred. Others their ideologies are anchored on imitating past politicians,” said Kafwaya.

“So you can’t put regionalism, hatred and comedy together and think it’s standing on firm ground. I think this [alliance] is standing on very quick sinking sand and if it did survive they will be lucky. But to remove PF, it will take the Zambian people and not the alliance because the Zambian people are the ones who are seeing what PF is doing. Some people are saying ‘what PF is doing is not the right thing. But my thinking is that all of these leaders have just joined the UPND because that’s what it means.”