TODAY’S LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Hiding trucks must be criminal

Dear Editor,

I read with disgust that Fred M’membe was hiding trucks that should have been handed over to the liquidator. Is this not an offence considering that the court has already passed an order of liquidation?

It is very good that Zambians are now seeing the full colours of this man who hounded former President Frederick Chiluba accusing him of all manner of corruption when he has much more money stolen from public coffers.

Let there be no doubt that tax evasion is theft, more so if it involves using money from value added tax which belongs to the Government and should have been used for development purposes.

Let this be a lesson to Zambians not to be cheated by self-appointed righteous people who claim to be holier than thou because their sins are worse than their victims whom they accuse of corruption and plunder.

The sums of money in which Fred M’membe, Mutembo Nchito and Mark Chona were accusing former President Chiluba of stealing pales into total insignificance when compared to the amounts that are now emerging in the tax evasion, DBZ and other cases.

I am equally surprised that the Government is still allowing the so called “Mast” to continue to be published when it is very clear that the same person behind the Post is also behind this new paper.

We must learn from countries that have allowed themselves the luxury of fragmentation by allowing divisive and corrosive people space to create disaffection and anarchy. We are a blessed country and must, therefore, continue to pray and seek peace at all times.

Let the authorities act quickly to put this very sad and dark episode behind us so that the country starts afresh.

Fenwick Mweetwa

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Lessons from Botswana

Dear Editor,

When I compare the words of the Botswana Chamber of Mines (BCM) executive officer Charles Siwawa (“Botswana schools Zambia on mining governance”, Daily Nation, November 21, 2016), and those of both current and former Zambian ministers of finance during their annual budget presentations in parliament, it is not difficult to see why our motherland is in such a dire need of fiscal fitness in all directions.

In his timely counsel, the BCM executive officer, shares lessons of history through a voice of rationality, offering clarity, frugality and solutions as well as good governance wisdom.

Truly, Zambia can learn valuable lessons from Botswana on how it has utilised its vast mineral resources through good governance, low levels of corruption and value addition as well as the need to diversify the economy beyond the mining sector.

Needless to say, for years, Botswana has been known economically as an African success story and politically as a beacon of democracy.

At one time, IMF got a loan from the government of Botswana for onward lending to other countries of the world.  Such was the state of the nation’s economy. Civil servants including cabinet officials are perhaps the most disciplined lot on the continent.

They are not allowed to drive government vehicles after office hours or over weekends and public holidays.  Government vehicles are expected to be parked at the government transport yard at 17:00 hours, during weekends and public holidays.

On the issue of financial management of government projects, Botswana prudently undertakes and executes donor-funded projects to the extent that any savings realised are thankfully given back to the financing donors.

In sharp contrast, government officials in Zambia are wedded to the ostentatious lifestyle to the extent of mismanaging government funds that come into their custody as part of their job responsibilities.

Year-in and year-out the annual Auditor General’s reports attests to this fact.

And expecting them to emulate President Edgar Lungu to reduce their salaries by 50% seems to be a pipedream. Admittedly, in both Botswana and Zambia foreign direct investment is in general something that is to be welcomed.

The worrying thing today is the terms and conditions upon which those investments are taking place, especially when it comes to the issue of land, where the perceived relative benefits between the investors and the host countries are not always clear.

These deals have too often been made in private between the traditional and political leadership and the foreign investors, so the parliaments don’t know the terms of the deals; the citizens don’t know either.

And what one would say is that there ought to be greater transparency and involvement of the parliaments and civil society so that they can debate and agree on how best these investments should be made, what the mutual obligations between the investors and the countries are, and how fair they are.

Probably, Zambia could learn more lessons from Botswana regarding land issues.

Mubanga Luchembe,

LUSAKA

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Keep private sector out of oil deals

Dear Editor,

Yes, the biggest business that government undertakes is policy regulation and tax collection and has very little to do with business.

Regardless of this, the Government is failing to regulate its own civil service.  I, therefore, don’t know how it will effectively regulate the independent private sector if allowed to handle key services of the industry.

In view of this, I agree with Mr Chikwanda, chairman of Energy Forum Zambia, for cautioning Government not to rush into disengaging on the procurement of fuel when our current strategic reserve capacity is far too inadequate for Government to find a recovery programme should the private sector that will be entrusted with the procurement of fuel maliciously opt to sabotage the flow of fuel.

The private sector has always held Government captive whenever they are given a chance to manage strategic services and the ransom paid by Government is giving in to demands just to avert security risks.  The cog wheels of the national industry are propelled by fuel. Service delivery through mobility is enhanced by fuel and energy is sustained by fuel.

Therefore, Government should have a serious presence in the entire chain of fuel supply to adequately regulate procurement, shipment, distribution and pricing.

Adeodatus Matafwali,

Lusaka

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Where are the women gender group  activists?

Dear Editor,

With the high spate of gender-based violence pitying men lately, I write to find out what has happened to our vocal women groups in Zambia.

While the scourge has risen against men, these groups seem to have gone to sleep for whatever reason. Not so long ago, men were accused of not reporting the vices but now that they are reporting nearly on a daily basis, the GBV activists seem to deliberately not be doing their job. Let gender-based violence not only be pronounced when it involves women. When it affects men, they keep quiet.

I, therefore, implore NGOCC, YWCA and ZWLG to come out in the open and condemn these rising vices of women killing men.

 Wisdom Muyunda

CHINGOLA 

Categorized | Letters

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