They say talent usually skips a generation. Meaning if your father was a great footballer, chances are very high that you, as a son, may not excel in that career, but your child may do even better than his grandfather. But that is not always true, as can be seen from Mulenga Kapwepwe’s achievements in public service. Just like her father, the late vice-president Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, who won the hearts of many as a legendary freedom fighter, Mulenga has demonstrated selflessness in serving her country.
However, unlike her father who served with fellow gallant statesmen, who had a heart for Zambia, madam Kapwepwe finds herself in a precarious situation where she has to be of service to the mafia who are ruling this country today. We are worried because we think she is such a wonderful woman, but this regime will mess her up. Sorry, dear readers that we have to go back to this ZNBC topic once more, but we couldn’t resist it because there is this woman who may need our help before she entangles herself in a scandal that she hardly understands.
On Monday, we published an opinion in which we insisted that although ZNBC has not changed its name, the institution has been leased to the Chinese until it finishes paying the US $273 million loan. Immediately this article was shared on social media, Madam Kapwepwe went to our Facebook page and made the following counter observations:
“1. ZNBC has not been sold. It was created by an Act of Parliament and can only be sold with approval of Parliament.
2. Star Times was not single-sourced. Multichoice, Huawei and ZTE, among others, all submitted to a tender process that was advertised publicly. Documentation of this tender process is available.
3. CCPC is an independent regulator looking after the interests of consumers and competition. The conditional licence actually approves the partnership between Star Times and ZNBC after a very thorough due diligence of all aspects, competition, consumer protection, including the loan servicing aspect. Please read the definition of ‘merger’ in the CCPC Act. You will understand that in this Act merger means a partnership, not a buy-out or a merging of two companies.
TopStar is a signal carrier not a content provider. IBA as the regulator is ensuring this.”
To start with, this only proves our point when we say madam Kapwepwe is a good leader and the public service talent did not skip a generation in the Kapwepwe family. In a normal world, this is what leaders do; they engage in public debate with the people they are governing in order to provide answers. Unfortunately, though, there is nothing this great woman can defend about the Digital Migration scandal because it is too complicated for her.
We observed that madam Kapwepwe deliberately shied away from answering the specific questions we asked in that opinion, regarding the ownership or distribution of shares in TopStar and neither could she disclose who is controlling the finances at ZNBC. But instead, she opted to talk about the CCPC Act, IBA responsibilities and denying the fact that Star Times was single-sourced. That is okay, we are comfortable to debate with the ZNBC board chairperson from her comfort zone.
Madam Kapwepwe claims that Multichoice, Huawei and ZTE submitted to the tender process. Yes, we are aware about that. In fact, Muvi TV also took interest in this tender, but did Madam Kapwepwe’s corrupt government allow these companies to actually compete in the open bid? The answer is no! She knows as much as we do that those documents are there at ZPPA, but there was no competitive bidding process on this Digital Migration tender.
But just in case Madam Kapwepwe chose to be selectively forgetful about this, we will help her because she is our mother. Madam Kapwepwe, where were you in January this year when your ‘sister’ Kampamba Mulenga, who was Minister of Information, confirmed that the Digital Migration deal was single-sourced, and even gave reasons?
KAMPAMBA Mulenga – January 25, 2018: “Let me make it clear that in our laws single-sourcing is not illegal as long as ZPPA gives out a no objection, and there were reasons why we single-sourced. Actually, there were no 12 companies, there was just Huawei, and Huawei is specifically doing telecoms, this is television. Already, the phase one was already done by Star Times and there was money owed to Star Times. We have had problems in other African countries where they have failed to migrate so we needed something like TopStar because this is a huge company and has a lot of experience in terms of Digital Migration so that is why there was the no objection for single-sourcing.”
This is what Minister Mulenga told News Diggers! and Kapwepwe’s ZNBC in separate interviews. She added to say: “So, the issue of the single-sourcing that honourable Chishimba Kambwili is talking about, there is nothing irregular about it because there is a process and the Ministry obtained a no objection from the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA). So, it is wrong for him to come and say that there was something irregular over the matter when the Ministry had no objection from ZPPA, which he was very aware of.”
In case ZNBC has lost that news clip, we keep our records very safe; so if Madam Kapwepwe is doubting us and wants an audio of this interview from the Minister, we can send it to her so that she hears for herself. Our question now is; who is saying the truth between the ZNBC board chairperson and the Minister of Information? Is Madam Kapwepwe calling Honourable Mulenga a liar?
If Madam Kapwepwe wants to enlighten herself further on the corruption details around this scandal from an eye witness, we encourage her to follow the link below and hear how a team of technocrats that was camped at Ibis Gardens preparing tender documents of phase two and three of Digital Migration was ordered to stop their work and award the contract to StarTimes: https://diggers.news//local/2018/01/20/kambwili-reveals-how-lungu-personally-single-sourced-star-times/
Doesn’t it surprise Madam Kapwepwe that government objected to the Multichoice Zambia proposal on the grounds that the Digital Migration Policy required separation between the signal distributor and content provider, but TopStar was offered the exact same deal that was rejected from Multichoice to be the signal carrier and content provider? This is what has brought the confusion that CCPC is trying to clean up.
Article 4.02 of the loan agreement between government and StarTimes (Eximbank of China) provided that ZNBC and TopStar would establish and maintain two Escrow Bank accounts, which would be used to collect and transfer the revenues generated under the project and other incomes and apply them on loan repayments. Let the ZNBC board chair tell the Zambian taxpayers how much money has passed through those two accounts. Since she wants to lend her image to the national broadcaster to launder its fraudulent activities, let Madam Kapwepwe specify which revenues and incomes are going towards the operations of ZNBC and how much is going towards loan repayments. This is what will truly anger the people of Zambia.
Our advice to Madam Kapwepwe is that she must stay very far away from this scandal because the more she tries to defend it, the faster she is turning herself into a future state witness. Madam Kapwepwe may as well be involved in some corruption somewhere, but the fact that we, as a newspaper, are not aware of any such record about her means she fairly has a good public accountability image, which she must strive to protect. This Digital Migration scandal will burn her fingers; she will be used and flushed away like her ‘sister’ Kampamba who is now grappling with foot and mouth diseases at the Ministry of Livestock.
Listen to us, Madam Kapwepwe. There are more honourable people still serving in this government who are eating with the corrupt like you are doing, but they avoid defending criminality because they know it can be costly. When we ask them why they are not condemning the wrongs, they simply say: “it is bad manners to talk with food in your mouth.”
Eat quietly, Madam Kapwepwe, and your father will still be very proud of you because you are an innocent soul. In Bemba, which you know too well because you have even written a book of proverbs; they say: ‘ilyashi ushishibe litambula imputi.’