FORMER education minister Michael Kaingu says he sometimes wonders how some individuals who served in government for only five years are able to own various properties when he failed to buy even one house after serving for 10 years.

And Kaingu says government is not targeting any person and that people should simply substantiate their wealth.

In an interview, Tuesday, Kaingu wondered how former PF ministers were able to acquire wealth in a short period of time which some former MMD ministers failed to do.

“Now we wonder that a person who is a Minister has got three, four houses, I am not sounding jealous but even me I also wonder how could I serve for 10 years and I failed to buy a house and my friend who served only for three years, for five years, they have bought five houses, six houses, how is it possible? I can’t come to Lusaka there because I don’t have a property other than where I am here, but we just wonder how others managed. Maybe they were saving, maybe they were clever than us, maybe we were chewing everything,” he said.

“We shall not blame others, there are those who are clever. Maybe you give him K10,000, he makes K1 million because when you look at the salaries of a Minister at our time, I don’t know how much they are getting now or how much they were getting in the past five years, when you look at the salary of a Minister, it is very meager and the responsibility is very high. For us we were only [living in] Minister’s houses. Most of us, just check, find out how many houses Magande has, how many houses Dr Chituwo has, just ask them you will find out that they are exactly like myself. But how did our friends all of a sudden, maybe their salaries (were high)? So that is what I can only say, I want to rest but I hope I am not antagonising, I am just making observations as a citizen.”

Kaingu said those who claim that they are being targeted should simply explain their earnings.

“Well, this government told us that there were people who were corrupt and that the last government was very corrupt. Up to now we haven’t seen [any action] really. For example, there are Ministries where there was a lot of talk about corruption. In the Ministry of Infrastructure, there was a lot of talk. In the Ministry of Tourism, we were told that there were animals which were being lifted, in the Ministry of Local Government there were the fire tenders. All of us were reading these things and we were being told by the current government when they were in opposition that they knew very well that there were some people who were corrupt. But now we are not seeing much talk about [that] or action which is connecting that campaign talk to what is happening now,” he said.

“I don’t agree that there are some people who are targeted today. I think if somebody is queried, all it is, is to substantiate what you are being accused of. For me, I strongly believe that anybody who is doing very well must substantiate your earnings. We know each other, we lived in the same compounds, we knew how this person was living before he became a Minister. Then he becomes a Minister within one year, two years, he has got three houses, he has got four houses. The question that you have is that [if] what you have doesn’t seem to match with your earnings, just explain to us how this could have come [about]. If today somebody came to Kozo Lodge and asked me [about] the development of Kozo lodge, all I need to do is to walk to that person and say ‘here I borrowed and this is what I did’, I think you should be able to justify what you are doing. I don’t know whether people are being targeted.”

Kaingu said in his time, the ministers believed that wealth belonged to the people.

“I am not in government, but for me everyone who was in government might have that tag of how did you acquire this. So if you are being asked I think it is a question of answering that. I have been in government for 10 years, I don’t have [another] house other than where I am living. I have never acquired not even a plot, I never even got a plot, not even from any council. Because what I believed in my time is that these things belonged to the people, so we were serving. You know, as a minister, I would have had plots in Sesheke, plots in Livingstone, plots in Choma, plots in Lusaka, plots in Mongu, plots in Kaoma, I have never got any single plot. In our time we believed that these things belonged to the people,” said Kaingu.