Among all the brains that the PF government borrowed from the former ruling party MMD, Minister of National Planning and Development Lucky Mulusa stood out as the best pick. Although the President has resolved to drop him, it is our opinion that Mulusa was the best minister of 2017 and deserves all the accolades he can get from citizens.
We say this because Mulusa didn’t seem to have difficulties saying the truth. Where bad decisions were made, this minister never hesitated to point out that ‘here, government was wrong and we need to correct the situation’. This was at variance with what we saw from President Edgar Lungu, State House officials and the rest of the ministers.
What is even more impressive was the fact that Mulusa was consistent from the time he was recruited into the PF government. We recall that when he was State House Special Assistant to the President for Project Monitoring and Implementation in May 2015, Mulusa shed tears when he toured an area called Ngabwe in Central Province, which government was bragging for having declared a district. At that time, the PF was demanding so much credit from citizens for creating more districts – as if that in itself was development. But when he visited the so-called new district, Mulusa found that government officers were operating in makeshift tents while others were working from under trees.
“It is sad to see that 50 years after we got independence, people can still be operating in tents and under the tree. But when you look at how many vehicles are given to one [senior] government official, some are not even used, but these officers here don’t even have offices. I have decided to channel money allocated to my office for a new vehicle to the construction of office blocks,” Mulusa said, attracting widespread praise for speaking like a truly concerned leader.
Just two months ago, the same minister was on record again siding with the people; the poor majority. While everybody in the PF government was justifying the decision to spend US$42 million on 42 fire trucks, Mulusa was able to see things with the eyes of an ordinary citizen.
“I see my colleagues struggling to justify [the purchase]. Now we know Liverpool has this one million dollar machine. When you see it on social media, and you look at ours, it looks like a wheelbarrow… Perhaps we should have given better explanations than the explanations which seem contradictory, which seem not to be making sense to members of the public. We should have probably done an appraisal on fires tenders,” Mulusa said.
On Monday, the [former]Minister of National Planning was speaking on the national broadcaster, and made hair-raising revelations about how Zesco messed up an opportunity to enhance it’s energy supply capacity.
Of course, as citizens, we already knew what led to the energy crisis that caused unprecedented load-shedding around the country last year. However, it was as good as a miracle to hear a Cabinet minister admit that it was all because of poor decisions made by government officials; technocrats.
“An example that I can give is wrong decision making by our technocrats. If you look at the power generation that we lost at Kariba, you can’t even blame it on low levels of rainfall, it wasn’t. If you recall, the Lozis in Western Province, they never prepared to do Kuomboka because, using traditional knowledge, they knew that they weren’t going to have enough rainfall to undertake that. But our technocrats decided to release water from the Kariba Dam. So we didn’t have water to generate electricity and that is what drove the drop in electricity generation to 580 megawatts. Everybody just went up to blaming it on low rainfall. No one went deeper and said ‘a dam is a reservoir but what happened to the role of the dam as the reservoir? Because the reason you have a dam is precisely to take care of those moments of low rainfall, to store enough water,” Mulusa said.
The minister acknowledged that there was need to punish those who were responsible for decisions that led to load-shedding, but noted that no one in government was interested in looking back to investigate how the State lost US$1.2 billion.
“Some of these shortcomings by our institutions call for commissions of inquiry because we lost a lot of children in our hospitals who died as a result of black outs. Can you imagine? We had that much electricity available and we were importing at 18 cents per KW. And no action has been taken; heads haven’t rolled because no one has gone beyond, [to investigate what happened], everyone just blamed it on low rainfall.”
Surely we must thank Mulusa for helping us see through the lies of the PF leadership. We must pray for Mulusa more often now that the Head of State has felt too embarrassed to keep such an honest minister in his deceptive government.
In fact Mulusa never said the President or the politicians were to blame, he said it was the fault of the technocrats in the civil service.
Mulusa told us that it all started with one wrong decision by one director at the Ministry of Finance. But we know that this director was answerable to a minister, the minister was answerable to Cabinet and Cabinet was answerable to the President. So it came back to poor leadership on the part of those who have remained in the PF government; but look at how shamelessly they defended this issue.
They said it was an act of God and there was nothing the government could do to prevent climate change which led to low rainfall in 2015/2016.
Liars, liars, liars!
This is the only sin that has cost Mulusa his job – he said what everybody knew was the truth, but was afraid of saying.
Today, the Energy Regulation Board has forced citizens to pay Zesco 75 per cent more than they used to pay for electricity six months ago, on grounds that the cost of power generation is too high. But soon, Mulusa will come back to tell us that all that was BS! Soon we will learn what PF activity we are funding through the exorbitant electricity tariffs.
The Energy Minister can claim that Zesco needs more money to generate more electricity because they continue to connect thousands of consumers to the national grid every year, but there is no electricity at Chingwere Cemetery or Mutumbi – where our brothers and sisters have no capacity to settle bills; so who is Zesco connecting to the national grid who is not paying for the electricity they use?
Anyway, you are our hero Honourable Mulusa. You don’t always need to be in government to serve the people.