FORMER Road Development Agency (RDA) board chairperson Samuel Mukupa says he is leaving the Agency as a proud person with his head high because of his achievements.
Last week, Infrastructure, Housing, and Urban Development Minister Charles Milupi dissolved the RDA board with immediate effect.
Commenting on the development in an interview, Mukupa said during his tenure, the board helped government broaden the tax base by introducing toll gates.
“I am going out of this a very proud person with my head high. I would like to think that in RDA, notable for our achievements, which would obviously be our legacy, is helping the government broaden the tax base by introducing, and that came in my time, the famous toll gates. The toll gates that are all over our country are part of our landmark and our legacy. This is what had been difficult to introduce from Kenneth Kaunda. It was done and the Zambians have seen a lot of value out of it. I cannot only say that I expect many of these young men to continue giving the best for our country and that the honourable minister’s yield on what has already been done and take it to the greater heights for the general good of our country,” Mukupa said.
“Boards are always appointed by ministers. Meaning that there is always a rapport between the minister and the board. It is for the purpose of functioning. A board is an extension of a ministry. And every minister who understands this knows too well that he can only appoint people he is comfortable with. So they are appointed by the minister, they can be dissolved by a minister, they can be changed by the minister. We always expect that there could be changes and that is why everybody has got a life span.”
He thanked former president Edgar Lungu for giving him an opportunity to chair the board.
“It only remains for me to thank the sixth president of the Republic of Zambia Edgar Chagwa Lungu and the minister honourable Vincent Mwale and thank the new administration headed by President Hakainde Hichilema and the new minister. This is a rare opportunity, 18 million people and you have to head an institution the magnitude of RDA, it is not a mini issue at all. It demonstrates a lot of confidence in one. I can only extend my appreciation and gratitude to the men and women in the ranks of RDA,” he said.
Mukupa said he created stability in the agency.
“In this period I was in charge, we created stability in the agency and I am very grateful. Because prior to that, I had gone into the agency when it was celebrating its 10th anniversary and the turnover of CEOs was phenomenal, 10 CEOs had passed through RDA. You can then simply say that on average, they had a CEO every other year. The other feature which I will forever treasure and I want to think that the Agency will be able to look internally, is that we raise a cadre of professionals who rise through the ranks and they have an opportunity to head the institution. That has happened twice in my tenure. Generally, stability has been maintained,” Mukupa said.
He said the dissolved board was well balanced.
“This is not a mini board, you might not know the composition of the board. The composition of the board for RDA starts with the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development under our time, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Transport and Communications. The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Local Government. Then the other board members are RDA CEO, the CEO from National Road Fund Agency, the CEO from RTSA and the CEO for National Council for Constructions,” said Mukupa.
“The other member of the board is the Attorney General, then we have a representative at director level from the Engineers Association of Zambia, we had the representative from the Farmer’s Union of Zambia, because most feeder roads go to service the farming areas. In all this scenario, I was the only one who was independent. So you can see the kind of professionals and the kind of eminent personnel that are sitting on the board. Sometimes when people are talking carelessly, you would think that we are a collection of people that are picked from nowhere, no. It is very well-balanced.”
Meanwhile, Mukupa said had the resource envelope been adequate, the Link Zambia 8,000 project would have been completed.