Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya says public resources will have to be diverted during the COVID-19 pandemic and an explanation will be given to the Office of the Auditor-General when the time comes.
And Siliya has insisted that it is unbecoming for people to always sing about corruption in the media instead of reporting the scourge to relevant authorities.
Speaking when she featured on a Camnet TV programme dubbed “National Matters,” Monday, Siliya said under the current system of governance, it was difficult to misappropriate public resources, adding that not everyone was in government to steal.
“We are all not in government that every day we just want to steal from the people of Zambia, no. But even as we do our job, there are situations where those who have been given the power, controlling officers have to make decisions because they are the ones on that spot. They have to decide. Like now there is COVID-19, money has to be diverted and when the auditors come, all these things will be explained to say this is because of this and that,” Siliya said, during the prerecorded show.
“I am not saying that there has not been instances where money could be misappropriated or stolen. People are always arrested in government. We had the big cases last year in the Ministry of General Education. I have confidence that whenever systems are flouted and monies stolen, our systems are one of the best. I have been in government and it’s extremely difficult to be able to misappropriate resources.”
And Siliya insisted that it was unbecoming for people to always sing about corruption without reporting it to investigative wings.
“If you read papers about Zambia for the last 20 years, you will just hear about corruption. This is a country that is on the third political party and on a sixth president. We should be very proud of ourselves [because] that’s a record in Africa. And even when corruption happens, we should be very happy that we have institutions of governance including the Anti-Corruption Commission to deal with those issues. And if you see corruption happening, you have the right to go to that institution and report it. It is unbecoming to just make it a song when you want to be heard in the media because in the end you demean the whole important fight against corruption,” Siliya said.
Meanwhile, Siliya said there was need to strengthen Libel and Defamation laws in order to deter people from defaming each other through the media.
“If a media house is every day going to insult the President [then] there is something wrong because we are in a very specific cultural context where you must respect those older than you. With the proliferation of the media, even those without an informed opinion believe that they can come to Camnet or go to ZNBC and say ‘I have an opinion over something.’ And sometimes it’s not over something, it’s over somebody. We believe that we are at a point where we need to strengthen libel and defamation laws because the IBA has been concerned that so many citizens believe that sometimes instead of discussing an issue, they prefer that the media is about discussing individuals and defaming them. And many people have failed to [seek] recourse because they believe that the court processes take long,” Siliya said.
Siliya insisted that the continued invasion of radio stations by ruling party cadres was wrong.
“Our president has expressed great concern about what seems to be the new normal, our tolerance to violence as Zambians. If you recall just a few months ago, people went to a hospital in Mazabuka and took somebody out of the hospital bed and burnt him outside the hospital during the gassing period. We should all be shocked. I personally went to attend a funeral of a young lady who died in a very sad circumstance, the lady from University of Zambia (Vespers Shimuzhila), and the amount of insults is what is concerning the President. We must have a deep reflection about what we are teaching our young people in this country especially the so-called cadres across the board. In terms of government, our position is very clear that media houses must be protected unless they break the law. And when they break the law, IBA is there to address those issues. I am also happy that the secretary-general of the party (PF) did state that he is waiting for all the facts on what transpired [in Muchinga],” Siliya said.
Meanwhile, Siliya also insisted that there was no basis for her to attend to the appeal by Prime TV because its operation license had already expired.
She said it is wrong for people to think that tribe is what determined who could lead Zambia.
“I think that a few politicians are the ones pushing this agenda of tribalism. It is quite dangerous. And we have had a history that this party can only be led by somebody from this tribe. So, the basis for going to State House must never be because of my tribe but must be because of my capability and ultimately through God’s wisdom, because the people of Zambia have chosen you,” said Siliya.