The new Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has been hijacked by a cartel determined to take over the aviation industry and is steeped in grand corruption and nepotism leaving aviation workers angry and de-motivated.
Civil aviation experts fear that the scheme will completely derail the noble effort of establishing an independent professional and viable civil oversight institution into a malleable tool for individuals intent on abusing the industry.
An aviation experts has told the Daily Nation that when the transformation of the country’s aviation sector into an autonomous authority started, employees were happy and looked forward to the change because it was going to come with improved conditions of service apart from less government interference.
But intrigue emerged when it became clear that seasoned and experienced aviation experts were being sidelined as the cartel had its preferred candidates outside the realm of the serving professionals earmarked for advertised positions so that they could promote the ambitions of the cartel.
They also told the Daily Nation that the government had ordered senior officials at the authority to withdraw the advertisement for the job but that there had been strong resistance from the officials who are said to be claiming that the Anti-Corruption Commission was going to institute investigations into the matter if they reopened the recruitment process.
The experts said the board had directed that the advertisement be withdrawn because the qualifications for the required personnel had allegedly been changed to discourage the serving and qualified civil aviation experts.
Civil Aviation Authority managing director Gabriel Lesa when contacted over the corruption matrix by the cartel said he was in a meeting and could only be contacted after an hour.
But Mr Mukanga did not pick up the calls placed on his mobile for several times.
“As you may know, the aviation sector in Zambia is undergoing transformation and all the countries in SADC except Zambia and Malawi have not. We now have the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) under the civil aviation act number 7 of 2012 and when we were transforming, workers were happy and looking forward working with the authority that was going to be without government interference…and soon after the board was put in place, we saw management change. We have woken up to the shock that in fact, CAA has been hijacked by a cartel. The cartel is determined to take full control of the aviation sector in Zambia and this country would be plunged into untold aviation difficulties if these people were allowed to succeed with their schemes,” the expert said.