NATIONAL Democratic Congress secretary general Mwenya Musenge says it is shocking that the real culprits at the centre of the Social Cash Transfer scandal have not been touched. And Musenge says the only way President Edgar Lungu can come out of this embarrassment of theft of social cash transfer money will be to resign and leave the stage.
Musenge stated in a statement yesterday that the dismissal of Emerine Kabanshi as Community Development Minister had not come as a surprise to his party.
“We are dismayed that the real culprits at the centre of this embarrassing graft scandal have not been touched by President Edgar Lungu. As a party, we feel, Ms. Kabanshi is merely a sacrificial lamb. Those who have worked with the sucked minister will agree with us that this is a person who can’t even kill a fly, late alone dip her hands into public coffers. And we know for sure that Ms Kabanshi will never say a word over her fate. After all, she is still seeking re-adoption in 2021 as lawmaker,” Musenge stated.
“President Lungu has purposely spared them. The key officials in this fiasco could include the permanent secretaries at both the Ministry of Community Development and Communications. Line directors, accountants and Zampost officials know something on this whole scandal. These officers know who pulled the shots to have donor funds externalised. As NDC, we feel the dismissal of Ms Kabanshi is selective and raises so many questions. The truth is, Ms. Kabanshi might have passed over word in the many Cabinet meetings to President Lungu on the happenings at the Ministry.”
He wondered why President Lungu fired Kabanshi leaving out the permanent secretary.
“But the Head of State has got his own suspicious reasons on why he has sacrificed this poor woman. Is it that…the controlling officer holds sensitive information on this matter? Could it be that (the PS) knows the ‘big players’ involved in the embezzlement of the US$4 million under contention? These are some of the pertinent questions Zambians are asking today. The PS chaired all select committees involving the daily affairs of this ministry, including the expending of funds as per his job description then,” Musenge stated.
“Ms Kabanshi, as minister, obviously never sat in such meetings. We call the dismissal of Ms Kabanshi selective and indeed it is because President Lungu is purely segregative in the manner he is fighting corruption. If the donors did not raise the red flag on graft, President Lungu couldn’t have fired his minister. As NDC, we feel the best that the Head of State could have done at the height of all this drama is to resign. More donors will squeeze Zambia and it will be the people to suffer.”
He stated that as long as Lungu remains President of Zambia, citizens should not expect any donor funding.
“Donors simply cannot trust this regime. Zambia has no reputation to talk about both at regional and international level. The corruption scandal involving the misused social cash transfer funds is just a tip of the iceberg of what is happening in government. Investigative agencies such as the police, Drug Enforcement Commission and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) have all become moribund. These democratic institutions are scared to act because the Head of State is not serious in fighting corruption. President Lungu is sceptical to fully fight corruption for reasons well known to himself. We have seen in the past how institutions such as the Financial Intelligence Centre have been insulted and frustrated for reporting graft,” Musenge stated.
“The opening of the Pandora’s box on corruption by donors under the PF regime will not go down well. Very soon, we might see key donors imposing a travel ban and freeze on properties and assets of Mr Lungu and his associates. We warned President Lungu over the many corruption scandals and now it has reached this far. Zambians should brace themselves for tough times ahead. Very soon, and really soon, we shall not have essential drugs in hospitals. This government will certainly stop functioning. The effects will be felt by the civil servants who will start going for months without pay. The only way President Lungu can come out of this embarrassment will be to resign and leave the stage.”
He stated that the donor community will definitely fight and see his eventual down fall.
“And no one will blame them. After all, it is there money they are protecting,” stated Musenge.