Vice-President Inonge Wina has thanked the University of Zambia (UNZA) for deciding to confer honorary doctorates on President Edgar Lungu and his Zimbabwean counterpart, Emmerson Mnangagwa, saying this will help them promote good governance in their countries.

Speaking during the Vice-President’s question time in Parliament, Friday, Vice-President Wina also said Finance Minister Margarate Mwanakatwe will soon explain to Parliament what government meant by opposing some of the ways in which the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) operates.

Meanwhile, Vice-President Wina says ministers do not need lifestyle audits because they declare their wealth before assuming office.

Responding to a question from Ndola Central PF member of parliament Emmanuel Mulenga, who wanted the Vice-President’s advice to politicians and school-going children on education following the conferring of Honorary Doctorate Degrees on President Lungu and President Mnangagwa, Vice-President Wina commended UNZA for recognising the works of the two leaders.

“Mr Speaker, we all know that education is key to literally everything in life. And I want to thank the University of Zambia for recognising the leadership of His Excellency, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, as well as that of the President of Zimbabwe, Mr Mnangagwa. The University of Zambia has decided to confer Honorary Degrees on these two leaders because they have put into consideration certain attributes that they have recognised in these leaders. That is why these degrees are being conferred. And we are very pleased that this is happening because this will help us as we work so hard to promote good governance in our countries, in Zambia as well as in Zimbabwe,” Vice-President Wina said.

“So, Mr Speaker, for the young ones, who are still in colleges, primary schools and all institutions of learning, it is very important to concentrate on their studies so that they can enhance their lives in future and take control of the development of this country.”

And Kabompo UPND member of parliament Ambrose Lufuma asked: “K6.1 billion reported in the FIC (report), which has been fraudulently obtained by politically-exposed persons and known by government. Instead of government supporting its own watchdog institution, government is rubbishing the (Trends) Report. How does rubbishing the Report auger with government’s pronouncement that it is allergic to corruption?”

In response, Vice-President Wina said there was no way government could rubbish the FIC because the institution was one of the investigative wings.

“FIC is a creation of government, and there is no way government can rubbish its own creation. FIC is one of the investigative wings of government and we have created these institutions, Mr Speaker, to promote democracy to ensure that corruption is fought in the country; to ensure that money laundering terrorism and all these evils are gotten rid of. And the Financial Intelligence Centre is one of those units, but the Financial Intelligence Centre is one of those investigative wings, but not the final one. And whatever has come out of that Report will be taken to the rightful agencies so that the matters are investigated,” she said.

Vice-President Wina added that Mwanakatwe would soon inform the nation, through Parliament, to explain in detail what government meant by objecting some of the ways in which the FIC institution was operating.

“In fact, some of those issues that were raised in the Report are already in the court of law. So, I don’t see the reason why people should be so hyper about this Report! And Mr Speaker, because this is such a serious matter, the Minister of Finance will come to the House to explain in detail what government meant by objecting some of the ways this institution is operating,” Vice-President Wina said.

Meanwhile, asked by Chimwemwe PF member of parliament Elias Mwila on what government’s position on calls for a lifestyle audit for civil servants was, Vice-President Wina argued that there was no need to conduct such a measure because parliamentarians and ministers declared their wealth before assuming office.

“Members of parliament make declarations before they even take their seats in Parliament and each one of us is known for what we have and what we own, what our financial obligations to the banks are and I do not think there is need for that audit to take place because we cannot only audit the ministers as some people try to portray, unless we audit all the people in the country, which is not possible [to audit all] those in business; those in parastatals; those in Cabinet; those in Parliament. I don’t think it’s possible for government to undertake this exercise,” Vice-President Wina said.

And when asked by Bwana Mkubwa PF member of parliament Dr Jonas Chanda on what advice she would give to those who refused to attend the National Dialogue Forum (NDF), but were opposing some its resolutions, the Vice-President said those who did not attend the Forum missed a “wonderful opportunity”.

“The National Dialogue Forum was an opportunity for Zambians to put their heads together to see how they can improve the governance of this country by amending certain provisions of the Constitution that seem to hinder our progress. And those that decided to stay away from this dialogue I think missed a very wonderful opportunity. However, Mr Speaker, opposing even good issues for the sake of opposing is so retrogressive,” said Vice-President Wina.