YOTAM Mtayachalo says the refusal by President Edgar Lungu to relieve Ronald Chitotela from his ministerial duties will back fire on him.
In a statement, Mtayachalo – the FDD Chama District chairman and labour chairperson – notes that President Lungu has exposed his inconsistencies in the fight against corruption.
“First and foremost, I want to take this opportunity as a patriot to add my voice on the stance President Edgar Lungu has taken not to fire or send Hon Ronald Chitotela on forced leave following his arrest by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on allegations of corruption. The refusal by the President not to relieve Hon Chitotela from his ministerial duties is not in the interest of the nation and has the potential to backfire on the President and the Patriot Front government,” Mtayachalo warned.
“The reasons advanced by the President [about] why he can’t fire the Minister in my view are not legitimate and convincing but it merely exposes the President’s inconsistencies in the manner he has embarked on the fight against corruption which does not suggest a political will. Further much as every person is innocent until proven guilty, there is no way Hon Chitotela can remain in office while he has been arrested because he may interfere with evidence and witnesses and, in fact, it is against the spirit of good governance. The approach the President has taken and can dearly cost the PF government politically if not checked.”
Mtayachalo stated that there was a precedent that was set by the firing of Emerine Kabanshi over suspected abuse of social cash transfer at her ministry.
“The President has already set a precedent by firing former community development minister Emerine Kabanshi and suspending other senior government officials over the Social Cash Transfer saga and other allegations of corruption while investigations are still on-going and therefore I’m wondering why it has become extremely very difficult for him to do the right thing because Hon Chitotela is not so special or indispensable,” he stated.
“Furthermore, there have been numerous corruption allegations against Hon Chitotela and therefore the people of Zambia deserve a right to organise peaceful demonstrations to force Hon Chitotela out of office until he sorts out his cases with law enforcement agencies so that if he is exonerated by the courts of law he can be reappointed into government but at the moment it’s unattainable for the minister to continue to hold on to his ministerial position.”
Mtayachalo said Chitotela should not wait to be fired.
“Moreover, Hon Chitotela should not wait to be fired but he must instead resign or go on leave on moral grounds so that he can concentrate on his court cases because it will also be very difficult for the people of Zambia to recover salaries and other personal emoluments the minister will be getting while in office assuming the court finds him guilty,” stated Mtayachalo.
“We are wondering how Hon Chitotela will be able to discharge his ministerial duties effectively and give orders to his subordinates in the ministry in light of this development because his credibility has seriously been compromised or undermined following his arrest by the ACC.”