Saturday, February 10, 2007

Letters: Corruption

By Mwewa
Saturday February 10, 2007 [02:00]

The statement by President Mwanawansa in Mpulungu as published in The Post edition of 8th February, 2007 that K3 trillion has been stolen by civil servants must be a source of worry to all taxpayers.

How can such a collossal sum of money be stolen and the culprits are at large and benefiting twice by earning a salary?

By Mwewa
Saturday February 10, 2007 [02:00]

The statement by President Mwanawansa in Mpulungu as published in The Post edition of 8th February, 2007 that K3 trillion has been stolen by civil servants must be a source of worry to all taxpayers.

How can such a collossal sum of money be stolen and the culprits are at large and benefiting twice by earning a salary?

This goes to show how porous the public financial management is. What kind of auditing does the office of the Auditor General do if such financial malparctices go undetected and culprits are not flushed out? President Mwanawasa is the second government leader to make such a revelation.

The first was Jonas Shakafuswa, the deputy minister of finance and national planning. For them to make such statements, there must be some evidence somewhere. With the two (2) institutions in place, ie, the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Task Force on Corruption, surely we cannot fail to net the culprits.

With the outcry by those of us in formal employment that we are being heavily taxed, we can not sit back and watch our money being stolen in broad daylight. I call upon the authorities to take this matter seriously and bring the culprits to book and recover our money.

By John Milimo
Saturday February 10, 2007 [04:00]

It is very shocking to hear that civil servants have stolen K3 trillion. Whether it is true or not, one thing which is clear is that we should work together to fight against corruption and any misuse of public funds. There is no treasure as great as honesty.

To reach this goal, we should not only be theoretical but pragmatic and we need to be honest when dealing with public funds. Honesty simply means truthfulness. It is a quality within an individual that urges a person to be true to oneself and to others.

We all know that honesty is very difficult to cultivate where money is concerned, but we need this virtue if we are to progress economically. Let each person be a self-starter not looking for examples somewhere but because it is actualised by a person's ability to stand up for one’s conviction regardless of the cost.

Leaders’ inabilities
By Geoffrey S. Simate
Saturday February 10, 2007 [02:00]

I thank The Post for allowing the issue of ‘debating real issues’ to be debated. Let me respond to some of the issues raised by colleagues to the issue of ‘debating real issues’ that I earlier talked about (The Post of February 5th).

In his speech at the OAU Summit a couple of years ago Koffi Annan said, ‘Instead of being exploited for the benefit of the people, Africa’s mineral resources have been so mismanaged and plundered that they are now the source of our misery’.

This is a typical example of Zambia and that is the reason we always say ‘Zambia the real Africa’. These are ‘the real issues’ I was talking about.

Welcoming the President or seeing him off or dancing for him can never be a ‘real issue’. All presidents elsewhere are welcomed and most of these countries are more developed than Zambia.
So why is our country inexorably mired in steaming squalor, misery, depravation, and chaos? The trouble with Zambia is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Zambian character.

There is nothing wrong with the Zambian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Zambian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which is the hallmark of true leadership. Idiocy of our power-hungry leaders seems to triumph over pragmatism and common sense.

Dr Kanganja and Dr Miti can choose to work while in their offices or can choose not to work while sitting in their offices. What matters here is the level of commitment.

What is it that they are contributing to the nation while in their public offices? This is a ‘real issue’, I was talking about.

Billions of kwacha of public funds continue to be stashed away by some of our leaders – even when roads are crumbling, health systems have failed, school children have neither books nor desks nor teachers.
These are the ‘real issues’ we ought to tackle.

In other countries richest persons generate their wealth in the private sector, thus, having something to show for their wealth.
By contrast in our country, the richest persons are government officials, who accumulate their wealth by raking it off the backs of our suffering peasants. Our leaders are merely greedy and selfish. These are the ‘real issues’ we need to debate.

Pay the retirees!
By Munsanje Mandala Choma
Friday February 09, 2007 [02:00]

I wish to express my heartfelt sorrow arising from the picture that appeared on the front page of the paper that digs deeper depicting some retirees ‘crying for terminal benefits’ on their knees before Health Minister, Angela Cifire. On page 3, the same paper of Tuesday, January 30,2007, shows the miserable retirees pleading with the minister; Surely, is this the type of life retirees should lead after ‘serving’ the nation?

It must be remembered that the sentiments such as those expressed by those poor ladies are very genuine, and even some other retirees from other ministries are crying every day over the none payment of their dues.

The security personnel that whisked away Cifire from UTH should not have done that as the retirees were merely peacefully and respectfully pleading with the government through the honourable minister to listen to the cries of the neglected retirees countrywide. In fact, those security officers should appreciate that those retirees were actually also representing those people who are yet to retire from the public service.
May I also add my voice to those of the suffering retirees and sympathisers by requesting the government to stop torturing the retirees in such a manner that they are reduced to beggars, yet the government owes them money.

If our government does not have enough money to pay the retirees, then, in the name of justice and fair play, it should be said that it’s in fact immoral for our MPs to demand pay rise at the moment until the plight of the unpaid retirees is addressed.

Please dear listening and christian government, pay the retirees their dues the same year after retirement. Any delayed payments, let then attract interest at least 20 per cent each year because the kwacha is losing purchasing power all the time.

By Phillip Saffallaoh
Saturday February 10, 2007 [02:00]

It is very true that the President can be angered by thieves. And it is also true that stealing is not justifiable in any way.The question I have is: Could there be a cause to all this? Well, I think there is and it can be stopped.

Look at what public workers get at the month-end, probably a month or two will pass without pay. The police get very little money, no proper shoes and above all no accommodation. When a grant is given, government workers will hold big seminars in luxurious lodges outside Lusaka with huge allowances. Can’t they hold these seminars in government facilities? One cannot surely say they never saw this coming.

Someone said that the best place to get a job these days if you have done accounts is in government.The reason is simple - so that one can steal and still get away with it.

So I think the government can try to have this solved by improving the working conditions of public servants, especially the police and the teachers.


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