MINISTER of Works and Supply Sylvia Chalikosa says founding president Dr Kenneth Kaunda has been moved to a private apartment awaiting the resolution of the water problem at his official residence.
But former secretary to the cabinet Dr Sketchley Sacika says the way government has treated Dr Kaunda is a symptom of the poor state of public service institutions which are failing to provide basic services to the public.
On Tuesday, News Diggers reported that Dr Kaunda had been living without water supply at his residence in recent days after a water pump developed a fault.
In response to a press query over this, Chalikosa stated that the matter was being urgently attended to and would be resolved soon.
“Preventive Maintenance from Works and Supply and Water Affairs were on-site over the weekend and the assessment has since been made. The situation is being attended to with urgency. You may wish to note that the former Head of State has since been moved to a private apartment and should have the problem resolved soon. In the meantime, we have arranged Lusaka Water and Sewerage to deliver 10,000 litres of water as repairs are ongoing,” stated Chalikosa.
But in an interview, Dr Sacika said Dr Kaunda deserved better care, and called for all officers found wanting for the dereliction of duty to be disciplined.
“First of all, I sympathise with comrade KK over the difficulties he is going through. As the founding father of our nation, he deserves better treatment from the institutions of the State. But I am not surprised at our civil servants’ response to comrade KK’s water problems. Their response is symptomatic of the state of affairs obtaining in our public service intuitions. If civil servants who are required to look after the former president can treat him that way, imagine how they treat ordinary people who should expect to benefit from there?” Dr Sacika wondered.
“The truth of the matter is that discipline and job ethics in the civil service have broken down and leave a lot to be desired. Everyday ordinary Zambians patronise government offices. Others are subjected to shabby and shoddy treatment, or in most cases, are not attended to at all because officers do not care or rather do not take their jobs seriously or are busy attending to their private stuff. Their attitude is that of indifference, that is the attitude. The particular case of comrade KK should be investigated and whoever is found wanting or guilty of dereliction of duty should be dealt with. I think that’s what it amounts to. But there is also need for the Secretary to the Cabinet (Dr Simon Miti) to institute a thorough review of the operations of the civil service with a view to improving efficiency, discipline, job ethic and accountability. Officers must be held to account for what they are doing. Like all other workers, civil servants must justify the salaries they earn, through hard work. They should keep their jobs only if they deserve them.”