FORMER Attorney General Musa Mwenye says presidential appointments must take into account tribal balancing in order to build unity in the country.
And Mwenye has advised the Patriotic front government to stop governing like it’s an opposition party, citing an incident where President Edgar Lungu attacked the Anti Corruption Commission.
Meanwhile, Mwenye has wondered what was so urgent for President Lungu to appoint a new Bank of Zambia (BoZ) Governor when Parliament is not in session to ratify his new office bearer.
Speaking when he featured on Muvi TV’s Assignment programme, Sunday, Mwenye wondered why 90 per cent of presidential appointments were from Eastern and Northern provinces when the country had many regions.
“I have no problem with competences but we have to ask certain questions as a people, did it have to be a person from Eastern Province to be appointed for example? Why is it that at the moment, 90 per cent of appointments are from Eastern and Northern Province? This country is a huge country and some of you people in the media need to start interrogating this because it is a source of disunity. Why is it that every time there is a replacement, it has to be an Easterner or a Northerner? Why is tribe becoming an issue? It’s a huge problem and it builds despondence. Zambia is for all of us. And there is a reason why Dr Kenneth Kaunda always said ‘One Zambia One Nation’. Presidential appointments have to take into account tribal balancing as well. There was a time you couldn’t make an appointment without balancing. You can’t have a situation where when someone is fired, you can even predict what the replacement will be. No. Let us balance these things up. Otherwise, we are creating a recipe for exclusion, creating a recipe for people to feel unfairly treated. You cannot continue like this. There are a lot of able people in this country from several regions,” Mwenye said.
And Mwenye said by firing Dr Denny Kalyalya, Zambia had lost a fine person to occupy the position of BoZ governor, further wondering what was so urgent about the changes.
“Dr Kalyalya is a fine professional. Those are some of the professionals that are hard to come by and hard to convince to work with you. So, my curiosity is to understand what could have prompted the termination of his contract at such short notice and abruptly because we won’t have a substantive governor of the Bank of Zambia for a couple of weeks now because parliament is not in session. And as you know, there is need for ratification. It’s a very inconveniencing time. He brings confidence to the market and markets are all about confidence. What this does is it builds negative sentiments. And there must be a lot of thought given to a replacement,” Mwenye said.
He further said inept as government may consider South African Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni’s comment about Zambia, it gave a snippet of how the country was considered by outsiders.
“We need to be very careful how we are portraying ourselves internationally and certainly when we interact with our friends from other countries in these meetings, we find it difficult to defend some of these things and our international image is getting battered,” Mwenye said
Meanwhile, Mwenye said it breaks his heart that every time leaders talk, they support the corrupt.
“The last interview I heard by Dr Kalyalya himself indicated that there is a shrinkage of the economy by 5 per cent instead of increase. So we are growing at negative 5 per cent. We left the economy at 7.1 per cent, for those of us who worked with President Micheal Sata. We are entitled to ask why?…If you look at the figures from 2011 when we took over office, the TIZ corruption perception index in this country was 32 per cent. It rose sharply to 37 per cent in 2012. By the time 2014 was coming, we had increased it to 38 per cent, the best TIZ corruption perception index. You cannot divorce economic performance from stopping the leakages,” he said.
On sentiments that the ACC had become agents of the opposition, Mwenye said it was bizarre that PF were governing as though they were in the opposition.
“How?…You see, opposition politics and the ruling party are different. You can’t govern like you are in the opposition. You can’t attack your own institutions because you are the ruling party and you have the instruments to change and make those institutions effective. If the ACC is not working, equip them,” Mwenye said.
And asked on the continued stay in office of ministers facing corruption-related charges, he said such ministers had no moral authority to lead the people.
“In a mature democracy, the minister himself should have resigned. And if he doesn’t resign, you summon the minister and say ‘I am giving you chance to resign or I will fire you.’ And they leave. President Sata did that. So, what is wrong in doing that now?” Mwenye asked.
He urged investigative agencies to do the right thing and demand for autonomy from those in power.
“To those agencies, I would appeal, they need to…do the right thing in those offices. And sometimes, the sign that they are beginning to do the right thing is when you start hearing complaints about them. The Anti-Corruption Commission is supposed to check on corruption in government agencies. They are not meant to be friends of those in power. For them, when they are hated in those offices, it means they are doing a good job,” Mwenye said.
Meanwhile, Mwenye said free press is shrinking in Zambia and that those closing media institutions now would have no platform to air their views once voted out of power.
“…you can’t close every media institution, because what will speak for you when you are not there? Night follows the day. You will not be there one day. The free press is shrinking. From 2016 until now, The Post is gone, Prime TV is no more. You also suffered a closure here (Muvi TV) at one time. And this leads to self-censorship. These people who hop from one party to another…will need to be in the opposition and will want to have space like the media to air their views,” warned Mwenya.