Parallel Government

The coincidences are uncanny, raising serious questions as to legitimacy and number of power points this Government is subjected to.

Ordinarily the buck stops with State House, as it represents the apex of a structured policy formulation and implementation structure, but increasingly it would appear that exogenous forces far removed from traditional power and political structures do not only direct but actively control Government policy.

That is why we are appalled by the thinly veiled attack against Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda and his staff at the Zambia Revenue Authority who have been accused of impropriety or conduct that imperiled national interest.

The Minister and his officers could not defend themselves, contrary to the spirit and principle of natural justice which demands a fair hearing for any person accused of wrong doing. Neither television nor columns of publication offer instantaneous opportunity of rebuttal.

It is all the more disheartening that the source of the attack seems to be the Ministry of Justice, which conveniently disclosed the existence of litigation against the country. This information came from one source and once source alone. It is therefore not difficult to join the dotted lines to arrive at the political purpose of the exercise.

We do not always agree with the Minister of Finance especially that he almost delayed the prosecution of thieves who stole K14billion from the Development Bank of Zambia; we however do not agree that he should be made singularly accountable for a policy decision that was subjected to internal coherence review.

Mr. Chikwanda is a senior and seasoned public officer to who such lapses can be attributed.

Dividing Government at the highest level by subterfuge will not serve the best interests of the country.  It may serve the political interests of an individual but will have devastating effect on the finely balanced governance of the institution called Government.

An accusation of impropriety against otherwise serious and hardworking public officials is not only demeaning but also demoralizing and should not be made lightly for the gallery. Many people see through such inspired charades.

Where public systems are dysfunctional internal mechanisms exist to rectify the failure.

 The formulation and implementation of Government policy is complex, comprehensive and made up of several layers to ensure policy consistency and harmony. The Minister cannot sign a document unless it has been thoroughly processed through comprehensive procedures. Implementation of Government policy is not the same as extorting huge sums of money from hapless bank officials.

Indeed the Minister is at the apex of a system of Governance presided over by the President. If it fails then the blame should rightly be assigned to the appointing authority.

It is disingenuous to cherry pick and hope that political fortunes will be saved by spreading mud indiscriminately.