TRANSPARENCY International Zambia (TIZ) says it is concerned about Energy Minister Peter Kapala’s remarks that his directives must be obeyed without question.
In an interview, TIZ executive director Maurice Nyambe recalled that President Hakainde Hichilema categorically directed that all instructions from ministers and other senior government officials should be put in writing before they were acted on.
“TIZ is alarmed by the revelations in the 4th December edition of the News Diggers, accusing Minister of Energy Peter Kapala of allegedly sanctioning illegal and unilateral decisions made by the Energy Regulation Board Chairperson Monde Kabwela. We are particularly concerned at the minister’s dictatorial tone in allegedly giving instructions that all his directives given through the board chair, verbal or otherwise, must be obeyed without question. If these allegations are true, they will cast a very dark cloud on the new UPND administration because the idea of a minister unilaterally bulldozing his way in the manner suggested by the allegations is one that is not expected under the new regime,” Nyambe said.
“This is especially so given that President Hakainde Hichilema categorically directed that all instructions from Ministers and other senior government officials should be put in writing before they are acted on. We therefore urge Mr Kapala to adhere to the Presidential directive, which in our view is an important aspect of promoting transparency within government ministries and departments through the creation of a paper trail to which reference can be made should the need arise.”
Nyambe cautioned the UPND government against taking the general goodwill they were enjoying for granted.
He hoped that ERB and other parastatals and institutions of governance would be given the latitude to operate without any undue influence.
“In the same vein, we wish to caution the new dawn administration not to take the general goodwill they are enjoying for granted. We would like to ride on President Hichilema’s statement during last week’s press conference that what was wrong under the PF regime will still be wrong under the UPND regime. We therefore caution ministers and other senior officials in the UPND government against practices or decisions that will make Zambians doubt whether real change was achieved by the outcome of the 12th August elections,” said Nyambe.
“It is our hope that the ERB, and indeed other parastatals and institutions of governance, will be given the latitude to operate without any undue influence, and we challenge the UPND government to make this a reality.”
Kapala has been accused of sanctioning some illegal and unilateral decisions made by Energy Regulation Board (ERB) board chairperson Monde Kabwela.
Some ERB officials who spoke on conditions of anonymity said Kapala has given instructions to the board that all his directives, verbal or written, issued through Kabwela must be adhered to without question, contrary to the guidance given by President Hakainde Hichilema during the induction of ministers.
When contacted, Kapala admitted issuing the directive, but said he expected the board members to call him if they were in doubt about his instructions.
He said he was currently trying to understand what led to an acrimonious situation at ERB between Kabwela and fellow board members, stressing that there was nothing wrong with him guiding board members to adhere to all his directives, whether verbal or written.