Katombola UPND member of parliament Derick Livune says President Edgar Lungu’s address to Parliament on national values is in contrast with how the Patriotic Front behaves.
In an interview, Livune observed PF officials did not exude the values and principles which President Lungu asked Zambians to adopt.
“In his address, he does recognize the importance of the Church but the Patriotic Front government does not want to go to dialogue where the Church must take the lead. So that is the contrast. He’s talking about the values in the country, but as I speak to you now, many farmers have not yet been paid their dues and these are people who get paid once in a year. After so much labour, they don’t get their money for one year. Meanwhile, himself (President Lungu) and everybody else who are in employment are getting salaries every month. So where are our morals as leaders if we can fail to pay people who get paid once in a year?” Livune asked.
Livune wondered how President Lungu could talk about corruption when some corruption-accused officials were still serving in government.
“Where are the morals if issues of corruption cannot be given the seriousness they deserve? He spoke about not interfering with the investigating wings, but there is a contrast here, we have got people who are facing corruption charges but they are still operating in the government. Now where do you draw the line? A pubic officer who is being investigated against corruption but is still discharging public functions…it’s only fair that those who are alleged to be corrupt and there’s a matter before them, they are sent on leave so that they can attend to their issues and once they are cleared, they can be reinstated. That way there will be some public confidence. Even people investigating them will have the power to investigate someone. How do you investigate a minister who is coming to court with a flag flying on his vehicle? It’s not right,” Livune argued.
“So on the morals and the country’s values, we must be calling also for the judiciary to be speeding up some of these cases, for example if a minister is appearing before the courts, there must be some speedy kind of attention to ensure that the public confidence is not diluted. When there is a problem of a public officer discharging functions as well as attending to allegation, public service delivery is compromise. Even the strength of a minister who is facing corruption charges allegations to address people… sometimes it may be issues to do with corruption in the ministries where they work from. Where does he get the strength to talk about corruption which he’s accused of? So it’s fair that those who have got allegations are asked to be on leave then others can act in those offices.”
Livune also called on the President to stop paying lip service to political violence.
“So this issue of the address, yes he has fulfilled the constitutional mandate but the action within his cabinet, his colleagues leaves much to be desired. His party is associated with violence. Not too long ago in Sesheke there were violent activities and there are some pictures that have shown some of the government officials with the people that are said to be agents of violence. So they must match what they say and do. In any case, President Lungu as an individual, he can stop the violence because the instruments of power support him to do so. If today he made a pronouncement that ‘nobody will be spared, whoever is going to be involved in these violent activities, the law is going to visit such a person’, there is no one who is going to go ahead and do violent activities when there is a Presidential decree. So we need a lot of action oriented activism in what we are saying, starting with the President himself and his cabinet, government officials and everyone,” said Livune.