All People’s Congress leader Nason Msoni says Transport Minister Dr Brian Mushimba is responsible for the mess at RTSA because he allowed the agency to operate without a board for a long time, making Zindaba Soko answerable to him.
And Msoni says it is difficult to fight corruption in this country when there is a “do nothing” Head of State who plays dead on matters of corruption.
In an interview, Msoni said Soko had too much power due to lack of a board.
“Again, I don’t know how this government administration systems work because a minister is a mover of police in a ministry. He cannot be the one suspending [because] that is the role of the permanent secretary. His name should not appear anywhere unless he is a board chairman which I am not aware of. We have a serious institution like RTSA running without a board. It is a serious indictment on the minister himself and the president himself that so much money goes to that institution but you can have no board,” Msoni said.
“And all these things are happening under the watch of Mr Zindaba and you can’t blame him because he had so much authority himself. He wasn’t supervised and there was no board that existed. He was answerable to himself and less extent to the minister or the permanent secretary. So this is a serious failing in terms of how to administer a public institution. And to a larger extent, the minister is vigorously responsible for what has happened at RTSA. He too should have even resigned along with Mr Zindaba or been forced out. We need morality, isles, and ethics in the way we run our institutions.”
He said it is difficult to fight corruption in this country when there is a “do nothing” Head of State who had rendered himself as titular.
“And the biggest problem we have is that we have a do nothing Head of State who has opted to play dead on serious matters of corruption. And also the vice president recently in her statement saw nothing wrong with ministers to be subjected to a lifestyle audit. So we have two people in the office who have opted to play paralysis on serious matters of national concern. There is no other way anybody can defile the oath of office than exactly what’s playing out. And then you have a president who is forever campaigning. So one wonders what time he finds to do his work or whether he has rendered himself into a titular head of state. He has abused that role of an executive president but has opted to be a tourist. All these things are happening under his watch but he can’t see or act,” Msoni said.
Msoni said President Edgar Lungu had allowed criminals to decide on their own what punishment they should be given for their crimes.
“So we think that all these shortcomings that are happening, an indictment on him as president of this republic that he leaves people who clearly have been found wanting by the law to decide what they want to do for themselves, whether to remain in the office or go home or go on leave. He will never do anything. In a normal situation, a president must set that precedent that anyone who has been messed up must go,” he said.
Meanwhile, Msoni commended Soko for his decision to step aside saying that it is what is expected from a public officer with moral standing.
“Whereas we are happy to some extent that an effort to have morality in government is clearly a little bit showing in this particular case. Whether he was forced by the minister or it was by his own volition, recognizing that there were these allegations surrounding him, we still think that, on one hand, it’s a good thing. Although we still think that a serious matter involving impropriety has been levelled against a senior officer, we think that it’s prudent to suspend such an officer pending the determination of the court or the adjudicator as the case may be. So whether the minister compelled Mr Soko to go on leave, I think there is still a deficit of public expectation in that where an offence has been committed by a public officer, because of the seriousness of the offence alleged to have been committed by Mr Soko, our expectation was that upon hearing that he was being investigated, he should have been suspended or forced to go on forced leave,” said Msoni.
“But you see, this is what we expect from a government that has so many corrupt elements, so many thieves who are indicted in the FIC report. The way they do things is to confuse the public where a minister will be driving a government vehicle with a flying flag whilst still attending court sessions. So it’s matters like this that even in the likely or unlikely event, they will still be acquitted and the public will still dispute because the threshold of the allegations are too serious for a person to continue being in office. And also this puts the adjudicators and investigative wings in a very difficult position to due diligently carry out their duties. So we think that this government is making it difficult for our men and women in the judiciary and in the investigative wings.”