MOVEMENT for Democratic Change MDC secretary general Lucky Mulusa says the mood in the country is not okay to entertain President Edgar Lungu’s “President General” remarks, even if he was joking.

In an interview, Mulusa, who is former special assistant to the president for project implementation and monitoring, said President Lungu was not being properly advised by those who were around him.

He said President Lungu’s current team was not guiding him to focus on real issues like the debt crisis.

“When it comes to the Presidency, the Presidency is not being managed properly. I was there before, I know how we managed his office. If you managed to look at his first one year eight months, you can hardly point out blunders that he made, that was because of us, his special assistants, we took that office very seriously. The guys who are there running his office leave a lot to be desired. hey are not guiding him appropriately, they are allowing state capture. They are allowing wrong people to access the President. If you see all the wrong people that are accessing the President, they were there during his first one year eight months, my team we never allowed them access to the President. We protected him, we advised him, we guided him but now he has a group of men and women who are just there to enrich themselves and not take care of the people’s office,” Mulusa said.

“That is not Lungu’s office, it is the people’s office that is why even simple jokes such as ‘call me President General’ is becoming a national issue. President Lungu likes joking but because the mood is not okay, even when he coughs they will analyze how he has coughed. People should not take their eyes off the ball, their eyes off issues of debt crisis, the many issues of Kwacha depreciating. His team is not focused on real national issues, they are just busy enriching themselves.”

And Mulusa lamented government’s failure to take action on audit queries from the Auditor General.

“The government does not take seriously the implications of not respecting our governance institutions. We need to respect our governance institutions. If a recommendation or a report comes through, we need follow up actions to ensure that the existence of those institutions are given meaning. You can even see commissions of inquiry, since independence I can’t remember any recommendation from the commission of inquiry that has actually followed through. Similarly, the Auditor General’s report, the FIC report, there is no importance attached to these institutions. That is why it even affects our cost of borrowing because risk premium actually derived from governance issues. When people look at governance issues, they look at all these things,” Mulusa said.

“For instance, the 2016 Constitution requires us to put in place the officer of the public protector that we have done, but to operationalize it, that office of the public protector we need to enact an act of Parliament, we need to put in place a Parliamentary committee into which that office must be reporting its findings. The Ministry of Justice for the last four years, we are going into the fifth year, he has not taken a legislation to be enacted in Parliament to put up this committee. All these things reduce our seriousness in governance. That feeds into risk premium when people are profiling us, on the governance side. We start scoring very low when it comes to borrowing. People are unable to connect these things.”

Mulusa said it was shocking that Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya could demean and question the Auditor General’s Report.

“We cannot have a Minister questioning the findings of the Auditor General’s Report without allowing the due process to be undertaken. If a Minister finds that they have lied about his conduct and the way he has administered public resources, why can’t he seek legal redress in order to clear his name? Why play a political game where you start attacking technocrats who are not politicians and they are not in the political battle field? It is quite unfortunate that when we go campaigning we promise people on what we are going to do on good governance, on delivery of service and on all sorts of things and once we step into government for the next five years we become arrogant and we gain illegal wealth to buy our way back again. It is very unfortunate, we are destroying this beautiful peaceful nation,” said Mulusa.

“This tendency by the citizens electing political parties must come to an end. Citizens must go and vote for individuals. Individuals who are well meaning, who are going to bring competency and good character to the political landscape into the office of the President, into Parliament, into the council chambers. We should never be electing political parties. Now that we vote for political parties we end up with all type of characters in governance.”