ACC moribund, must be disbanded – Cifire

(By Malawo Malawo and Darious Kapembwa)

GREGORY Cifire says it is saddening that inflating costs of government procured projects has become a norm in President Edgar Lungu’s government. And Cifire says the Anti-Corruption Commission is moribund and has failed to investigate corruption in the country. Meanwhile, former PF councillor Charles Kabwita says Presidnt Lungu must account for his “fast-track” wealth accumulated within two years of his presidency.

Commenting on the government’s procurement of 42 fire engines at the cost of US$42 million, Cifire, a former executive director of the now deregistered Committee of Citizens, stressed that there was pressing need to investigate the dodgy procurement.

“There is urgent need to investigate the procurement of the fire tenders by the Ministry of Local Government because the process and the cost stink of corruption. It is not possible that those fire tenders could each cost a million dollars; it is too much money for a fire tender like those we have seen!” Cifire indicated.

“As a matter of transparency, the government must avail the people of Zambia the full details of the transaction so that this matter is brought to a close. It is saddening that inflating prices has become the order of the day under the Lungu administration.”

He said the corruption seen in the past one year was unprecedented and that “we can’t fold arms to allow those in power to destroy this country at will”.

“The corruption that was under late Frederick Chiluba is nothing [compared] to what we are experiencing today; in comparison to the Lungu administration, the Chiluba corruption was kindergarten!” Cifire noted.

He said it was a pity that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) was moribund.

“It must be disbanded immediately for failure to perform its statutory duties for which it was formed for. The ACC only serves to protect those in power,”

charged Cifire.

And Kabwiita has warned that Zambians would soon mobilise to demand answers from President Lungu and his inner circle over the wealth they had accumulated in the two years of his presidency. He said President Lungu must personally justify the source of his riches than allow his ministers like Bowman Lusambo and Kampamba Mulenga to embarrass him with more contradictions.

In an interview, Kabwita, the former Chimwemwe ward councillor, who recently resigned his position as Patriotic Front Kitwe district youth secretary, said there was no reason for the Head of State to keep quiet in the face of so much public outcry about his ‘fast-track’ wealth accumulation.

“We want answers to the questions of the fast-track wealth that His Excellency the President has acquired in a short space of time. And not just him but his political adviser Kaizar Zulu and Amos Chanda must account for their sudden wealth,”

Kabwita said.

“Where have they got the money? There is no way we can have every big construction going on in Lusaka having a government official’s name tagged to it. The price of the recently purchased fire tenders is another transaction the people of Zambia need explanations on. Even a grade seven pupil today has Google-searched and knows the real cost of those trucks in South Africa and so many other transactions, because all of what we are seeing today stinks corruption.”

He said it was very difficult to defend the current PF government under President Lungu because the injustices and corrupt practices were visible.

“Look, Michael Sata had worked in the public service for decades but he never accumulated the wealth that his predecessor is alleged to have today. How can you accumulate so much in a few years when a person who worked in higher public institutions for such a long time and later on became President had no such pomp? If what we get about yourself is true Your Excellency, defend yourself because we know your salary as a President,”

Kabwita said.

“So don’t insult us; we need answers ba Bowman [Lusambo] and keep quiet because you are not his spokesperson. And honourable Kampamba Mulenga, yes she is mandated to speak for government, but research before you start defending someone, that’s personal wealth we are talking about. Who told you that the President had wealth before assuming the presidency? Because we know that his law practicing licence was withdrawn after he swindled clients, so where was he practicing law to make money? At his bar is Chawama? He had no money for nomination fees when he stood as MP at first, it was Mr Alexander Chikwanda [former finance minister] that paid for him. So very soon we will mobilise and people will rise to demand answers, because when I went to Chimwemwe market where I was councillor, people were asking questions that ‘we hear the president is buying houses, trucks and so forth’…that’s why we are questioning the presidency because it is an institution,” said Kabwita.

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