FORMER Attorney General Musa Mwenye State Counsel has described the recent release of defective Honeybee drugs by the Zambia Medicines and Medical Agency (ZAMMSA) as criminal, further commending Health Minister Sylvia Masebo for her transparency and commitment to getting to the root of the scandal.
And Transparency International Zambia (TI-Z) has also applauded Masebo for how she is handling the matter.
In a post shared on his Facebook page, Mwenye called for thorough investigations in the matter, saying it was possible that the scandal also involved some government officials.
“The recent release of defective Honeybee drugs by the Zambia Medicines and Medical Agency (ZAMMSA) is criminal to say the least. Hon Sylvia T. Masebo deserves commendation on her transparency on this issue and her commitment to get to the root of this scandal. Looking at this issue, it is very likely that this scandal does not end with ZAMMSA only but could also involve some officials within Government! Thorough investigations must be carried out and all culprits, no matter how senior must be brought to book!” stated Mwenye.
And in response to a query, TI-Z president Sampa Kalungu stated that sending the ZAMMSA management on leave provided space for un-interfered with investigations into the matter.
He further called on the rest of government to set similar highest standards of operations, management and administration instead of rushing to protect poor actions and decisions.
“Minister Silvia Masebo’s action of sending the management of ZAMMSA on forced leave is praiseworthy and laudable and can be compared to the standards that Malawian President, President Lazarus Chakwera has set where every Minister or government official who is involved in acts of corruption is made to step down rather being protected. Sending management on leave provides space for un-interfered with investigation into the matter. If the new dawn government kept similar standard at lower, middle or high level of government, we are going to see the blossoming of their promised fight against corruption,” Kalungu stated.
We also want to extend the invite to the rest of government to set similar highest standards of operations, management and administration as well as accountability. Instead of rushing to protecting poor actions and decisions, government instead must not reward in any slight way such poor actions. Quite often government rushes to protecting its officers instead of defending integrity and uprightness as well as honest. One recent example of two high ranking officials’ recording of plotting to arrogate their authority and position saw the government machinery rushing to defending such officials instead of focussing [on] the evil that was being planned by the government officials.”
Kalungu stated that since the Honeybee scandal, there had been serious questions on the credibility and standing of health providers, and therefore the minister’s action was praiseworthy.
“Since the scandal of Honeybee, there have been very serious questions on the credibility and standing of health providers and health regulators including the Ministry of Health and its leaders such as the Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and directors. And the delivery of wrong medicines was a huge stab through the integrity of the sector. Medicine management and administration is one of the most delicate and stringent and must always be rigorous because it is about life, it is about lives of real people and the impact of administrative errors like what happened in the distribution of medication to Northern and Central provinces may have adverse effects including permanent injuries or defects and even death,” stated Kalungu.
“Therefore the action of the Minister of Health in sending the management of ZAMMSA on forced leave is praiseworthy and laudable; as harsh as it may seem to be; the Ministers action communicates key messages, among them; (i) Operating at the level of health needs high standards and highest quality control void of laxity and laisse fair attitude and therefore requires competent people. (ii) Accountability for every action taken: That poor management or administration of health facilities, medications, tools and equipment will require greater transparency and accountability (iii) Deterrence; that Poor governance, judgement, operation will attract consequences.”