Works and Supply Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya says President Edgar Lungu will not accept any excuse for the Electoral Commission of Zambia to print 2021 general elections’ ballot papers outside the country.
And Kafwaya says it is almost impossible to record zero cases of government vehicle abuse by public officers because some people are just too attuned to doing wrong despite consequences.
Speaking when he appeared on Sunday interview, Kafwaya feared that President Lungu would not condone failure by his ministry to print the 2021 general election ballot papers locally, after all the pronouncements and commitments made.
“The President may not tolerate me if I fail to print ballot papers [locally] in 2021, because he himself understands very clearly how much it costs the country to take delegations abroad for purposes of accessing the printing systems there and then going to verify all of those things, transportations of ballot papers and above that, the actual purchase cost. The President wants government to cut that cost substantially so that we get gains from the process. Now, I am on record to say that we are not ready now to print pilot ballot papers but in due course, we will be able to do that. So if we have an opportunity for a by-election, we are ready [to do the pilot ballot paper printing], which I think won’t be late from now given what we are doing. But from where we stand now, we are not ready to do that because we haven’t done what is necessary for us to be able to do that. But give us a few months, we should be able to develop that capacity to be able to do a pilot,” Kafwaya said.
“And just in case we are not able to do the pilot because there may be no by-elections at the time when we will get ready, we will do demonstrations and will invite the media, we will invite all stakeholders to come and see how we would have developed that capacity and to come and gain confidence from the Zambian public. I don’t want to put a time line to that but in the mid of this year or towards the end of this year, I will be coming with more definite information and I think I will be inviting stakeholders to come and see the progress we would have made.”
meanwhile, Kafwaya regretted that public officers had continued abusing government vehicles.
“Many people have been cited in the Auditor General’s report, some of the people taken to court and jailed for corruption but corruption still continues. So abuse of government motor vehicles is just like corruption, it’s undesirable, nobody wants it. But no matter how much you publicise it, there is going to be people who are just attuned to doing the wrong things. Every time we have gone out to monitor, we have found some people abusing government vehicles, it is a big problem. My message has always been very clear. I have always said, these resources are not for us as public servants, they are resources for the Zambian people, they are the ones who pay the taxes that we use to buy these resources in order for us to use them in serving the Zambians people. So they are not for self service, and this is why we are not saying this is the Director so let them go, no! If you are a Director, you are directing public service and not self service,” said Kafwaya.
The Minister who is also ruling PF’s representative for the Lunte Parliamentary constituency disclosed that most government buildings were not well maintained due to lack of adequate financial resources.