Just like that, huge government scandals are being born, trivialized, joked about and immediately disposed of to create room for yet another more entertaining scandal. Those in power must be enjoying this period of time when Zambians don’t even have the time and interest to think about the implications of the governance wrongs that are being committed.
But we will deliberately stay behind on the most topical scandal for a little bit, to make sure that our views and opinions on the state of the nation are not equally carried away with the wind of blunders propelled by this circus government. We will come to the Presidential planes and the Kung Fu debates in the Zambian Parliament later, but for now, we would like to backtrack a little bit and talk about the telephone call scandal at the Public Service Management Division.
The telephone conversation between the Permanent Secretary at PSMD Boniface Chimbwali and Northern Province Permanent Secretary Elias Kamanga is mind-boggling. In that recorded phone call, we hear PS Kamanga being heavily reprimanded for instituting disciplinary action against his deputy provincial PS, an act which is compliant with government administration procedure.
We ask ourselves; why is Kamanga’s deputy, the so-called Boniface Mbozi, being so heavily protected by State House? And how does a PF youth in the name of Munir Zulu get involved? How could a person responsible for the entire civil service admit being threatened by a PF cadre, who is not in any part of government structures, over a disciplinary matter at provincial level? How could a State House Minister and the political advisor to the President take so much interest in a disciplinary matter at provincial level? Who is this Boniface Mbozi and why is he is so heavily protected? How many other such characters accused of wrongdoing are receiving protection from State House?
To answer this, we must first acknowledge that we are indeed a nation under siege from itself. This conversation confirms widespread fears held by many Zambians, cooperating partners and opposition political parties that institutions of governance have broken down irretrievably under this regime.
In fact, we must not beat about the bush here, but state with confidence that, it is not just ordinary government institutions that are under siege; the entire Presidency is under siege! Any arguments against this conclusion can easily be defeated by the fact that not a single statement has come out of the Presidency giving a State House position on the matter. The real Presidents of Zambia have decided that that case is closed.
Zambians need to open their eyes and see this administration for what it is; the Presidency of this country has been auctioned to the highest bidder. People are asking; who is this ‘little boy’ called Munir Zulu? Well, he may be small if you are measuring him up to the gym instructor, but he is a very big boy in the system. He calls the shots at the highest level, and he has enough money to mingle with the much bigger boys who are running the country. Don’t forget that this is the boy who bought off President Edgar Lungu’s hat for K185,000 cash!
Can anyone be surprised, therefore, that Munir Zulu can call the shots at PSMD? No! So then, the fear and intimidation that has gripped those charged with professional administration is understood. People who work in this government now follow only two rules; rule one, do anything to protect your job; rule two, memorise rule number one. In Bemba they say; sebana wikute (look like a fool, as long as you can eat).
PS Chimbwali opted to be a fool in order to protect his job. That is why he was extremely angry when he felt that PS Kamanga was playing around with his T-bone. But Kamanga had a valid point when he told off PS Chimbwali that he doesn’t take instructions from political offices when discharging his disciplinary mandate in his provincial office. In fact, Chimbwali is not Kamanga’s boss, there is no such protocol in government where a Permanent Secretary reports to another Permanent Secretary. But we know that Chimbwali’s intimidation of Kamanga was instigated by the big boys who we believe surrounded him as he made that call.
We recall that on Wednesday, January 17 this year, the Civil Service Commission Chairperson Dickson Chasaya held a press conference at which he strongly warned civil servants against discussing government business on social media and giving government information to unauthorized persons outside the civil service, saying it was against their codes of conduct.
He said government under the Smart Zambia programme would be monitoring every civil servant’s movement and those found to be unprofessionally interacting with suspicious people would be dealt with sternly. What does Mr Chasaya have to say about his brother Boniface Chimbwali over his conduct? Evidence is there in the public domain that Chimbwali was discussing government matters with Munir Zulu, even ordering other senior civil servants to exculpate themselves to a party cadre. Where is Smart Zambia’s surveillance system while all this mess is happening? Surely, Zambia has gone to the dogs and we hope the dogs won’t take offence for degrading them in this manner.