Saturday, February 10, 2007
By Speedwell Mupuchi and Bright Mukwasa
Saturday February 10, 2007 [02:00]
EVANGELICAL Fellowship of Zambia executive director Bishop Paul Mususu has said politics in Zambia is lucrative. And Bishop Mususu has supported proposals by members of parliament to review their conditions of service on condition that it was to enhance service delivery to Zambians.
And information minister Vernon Mwaanga who shunned discussion of the matter reiterated government would only consider conditions of members of parliament after dealing with general conditions for civil servants. Discussing proposals by members of parliament for improved conditions of service at Inter Continental Hotel on Thursday evening, Bishop Mususu said even the clergy abandon their calling for politics because that was where "bread and butter lie". "For me I would like to underscore that explanations given (over the demands) are very valid but are they problems for today? I think they were the same problems when Dr Guy Scott was there. Probably he did not raise the questions because he was on the right side of the coin," he said.
Bishop Mususu said conditions were generally bad for all citizens and needed reviewing, not only focusing on isolated items. "Leaders should lead by example. They should be the last," Bishop Mususu said. "Backbenchers and ministers' salary disparity is not fair, but I don't know that with the agenda we are putting on the table we are solving the problem."
Patriotic Front Lusaka Central member of parliament Dr Guy Scott said a voluntary parliament would only breed corruption. "We want to see more money going into the constituency," he said.
Dr Scott said Parliament has not debated conditions of service for its members but debated payment of pensions and casualisation "not of parliament" but on the mines. "There was also a very embarrassing point of order raised on the K3 trillion which has been stolen and not one word on terms and conditions for MPs," Dr Scott said. "That's just pocheza m'mazulo (evening talk) by some people. We want the tools to do the job. Even bishops have cars and have people working for them, they don't just go in the wilderness wearing patapata."
Chifunabuli PF member of parliament Ernest Mwansa said he wants to see government allocate K1 billion to each constituency for real time development. He said the current K60 million could not do anything. "Personally, I wouldn't want a car but would want government buy vehicles for constituencies, maintained by government and I only use it to visit the constituency and leave for the next MP," he said. "But now, I get a loan to buy a vehicle, use my vehicle for five years to do government work in the constituency and by the time I leave parliament it's a wreck. It's not fair for me to subsidise government work."
By David Punabantu
LOOKING at the 2007 Budget, to have an idea of the big picture, firstly requires a look at other budgets.
As seen in 1995, Zambia produced 307,558 tonnes of copper. The average price of copper on the LME then stood at US$2,623.5 per tonne, giving US$806 million in revenue. With non-traditional exports (NTEs), exports reached about US$1 billion. The exchange rate on Budget day then stood at K853 per US dollar. The Budget was about K853 billion, indicating against the exchange rate that it was worth US$1 billion.
The 1996 Budget was K1,161 trillion, and naturally, the exchange rate stood between K1,000 and K1,160 per US dollar on Budget day. The Budget thus in US dollar terms was worth US$1 billion.
The 1999 Budget was at about K2.2 trillion and was worth US$840 million on Budget day, as the exchange rate stood at K2,650 per US dollar.
Hence, the Kwacha appreciated after the Budget to about K2,200 per US dollar.
The appreciation drove the Budget to represent US$1 billion. However, by December 1999, Government passed a supplementary Budget of about K500 billion.
This pushed the 1999 Budget presented by the then Finance minister, Edith Nawakwi, from K2.2 trillion to about K2.7 trillion.
Naturally, the exchange rate moved to a similar position prior to the 1999 Budget of K2,650 per US dollar.
At this position, the 1999 Budget maintained its US$1 billion position.
The same pattern is seen for the 2000 Budget. It stood at around K2.9 trillion, to which the exchange rate moved to maintain the Budget export revenue and exchange rate configurations.
It is behind this pattern that whatever export revenue is obtained by the private sector is neutralised in real value terms by Government expenditure. The exchange rate under these conditions has been affected negatively, despite it being in a free market economy. What this implies is that if exports grew to US$3 billion a year, so too would Government revenue; hence Government expenditure would eat up all the real value produced by the mine sector.
A look at the 2005 Budget shows that the Budget was worth K9.7 trillion or roughly worth US$2 billion in US dollar terms.
The 2004 Budget was worth, roughly in US dollar terms, US$1.8 billion.
THE 2004 Budget was worth roughly US$ 1.8 billion. Past Budgets presented to Parliament on Budget day from 1990 to 2003 except for 1993 hovered around US$1-1.3 billion.
What this means is that if the Government stuck to the past traditional Budget of US$1 billion, Zambians can fund the Budget without donor support.
Hence the K5.7 trillion from domestic revenue in the 2005 Budget covers the past traditional value. Consequently does reaching the HIPC Completion Point mean just that, Zambia being able to fund its own Budget from domestic resources?
In a space of just two years the Budget has almost doubled in US dollar terms from 2003 to 2005.
What is interesting in the sudden increase of the Budget in the 2006 Budget speech by Finance Minister Ng’andu Magande when he said: “total export earnings have increased by 17.5 per cent to US$2,127 million from US$1,810 million in 2004.
It is worth noting that export earnings in 2005 doubled from US$1,061 million in 2003. The increase in the value of export earnings was mainly attributed to the growth in the copper export volumes and the rise in copper prices.”
Thus, the 2007 Budget still shadows export earnings pegged for last year at US$3.9 billion and it was planned when the exchange rate was round K3078 per US dollar.
What this basically means is that if the Government is to be freed from operating independently in the economy, its foreign exchange policy has to change so that the ownership of foreign exchange can be only through Kwacha purchases, thereby, the linkage between US dollar export revenue and the Budget would be broken.
Consequently, what can be expected from the misalignment is that Zambians will continue to suffer from a Kwacha shortage as opposed to a US dollar shortage experienced in the second republic.
These are areas that the Finance Minister should have addressed especially the misalignment from the tradition Budget, exchange rate and export revenue configuration.
The minister of finance talked of Zambia’s external debt dropping.
Preliminary information indicates that the country’s external debt stock stood at US$635 million as at end of December 2006, a reduction of 86.7 per cent from the end of 2005 stock of US$4.5 billion.
This year, foreign debt service will be US$33.9 million against the pre-HIPC and pre-MDRI figure of US$373.2 million in 2004.
Zambia is therefore no more a Heavily Indebted Poor Country.
When it comes to PAYE the figure has not really changed. Last year it stood at around K2 trillion. This year it still stands at around K2 trillion. The Finance Minister has however, given some tax relief that has been raised to K500, 000 from K320, 000. If one was to look at K320, 000 worth of goods at the start of last year, like fuel etc, it would be found that these same goods would cost about K500, 000 or more in value terms meaning that the relief in value terms has remained the same.
The Finance Minister has at least raised mineral royalty tax from 0.6 per cent to 3 percent and withholding tax on dividends, interest, royalties, management fees and payments to affiliates or subcontractors in the mining sector. This indicates that he is serious about the Zambian Government cashing in on the high copper prices.
Further more, he is trying to bring into the tax net mining companies by indicating that he is going to re-negotiate tax regimes for the mines. What this basically means is that if the Finance Minister is successful, in the next Budget PAYE may be reduced much further.
Labels: 2007 BUDGET
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?
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.
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.
Saturday February 10, 2007 [02:00]
Let’s put the Budget speech rhetoric aside and critically examine things. This year’s Budget goes under the theme “From stability to improved service delivery”. Closely examining this year’s expenditure, it becomes very clear that it is only government that is improving its consumption service delivery. It has nothing to do with people at large. The devil is in the detail. We have now all heard and read finance minister Ng’andu Magande’s Budget speech. The Post has now closely reviewed the 1,439 pages of the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, famously known as the “Yellow Book”. The next bombshell will be when Magande tables tax and customs legislation, which detail has yet to be disclosed.
Some people never learn. Some people take all the people all the time for granted. We cannot count on any member of parliament to work for the people; except for themselves - this includes the President, ministers and opposition members of parliament.
The report below will show how President Levy Mwanawasa and Magande want to develop Zambia. We will give you only a glimpse of some of the bizarre expenditures. You will see what government means by poverty reduction programmes. Essentially they are about improving the living standards of the President, ministers and members of parliament. In this analysis, we have only shown our readers less than 1 per cent of the proposed expenditures by Magande. This analysis tells why there is gross incompetence at the highest levels of government.
Billions of kwacha have been allocated in the name of poverty reduction programms, when they are simply consumption-oriented. For instance, how on earth can international obligations, outstanding bills, settling in allowances - a total of K38.69 billion as allocated under the Ministry of Education Programme 3 and 7 - constitute poverty reduction programmes? Since we need to have economic growth, the Ministry of Works and Supply has allocated K650 billion to procure state functions, motor vehicles and a staggering K5.322 billion for VIP motor vehicles and K1.612 billion for motor vehicle consumables. Under the Buildings Department another K1 billion has been allocated for more motor vehicles. Under National Assembly, Magande has allocated a staggering K19, 488 billion for vehicles for members of parliament. In 2006 members of parliament took K33.2 billion in gratuities!
This madness does not end here - Levy is not even in the first year of his second term of office and Magande is already planning for his boss’ retirement benefits. Levy, the third Republican President, like all our former Republican presidents is entitled to several perks, one of them being housing upon retirement. Magande has allocated K1 billion for Mwanawasa’s retirement house! While the still incomplete house of the first Republican president (Dr Kenneth Kaunda) since the early 1990s has been allocated a K4 billion, and the second Republican president (Frederick Chiluba) also still incomplete house has been allocated K2 billion.
In addition, the Ministry of Works and Supply, under their budget head “Poverty Reduction Program”, State House renovations has been allocated K15.786 billion. Is this a poverty reduction programme? However, under the actual State House budget, the 2006 budget of K13.232 billion has been increased to K18.998 billion for 2007, the rest as you will have noted has been “hidden” under the Ministry of Works and Supply. Compare this with K10 billion allocated under the Ministry of Local Government for capital grants to District Local Authorities and recurrent grants of K50 billion and K25 billion for retrenchments under Local Authorities! We have to ask: Did Levy sleep through the Cabinet budget meetings? Or does he even understand the consequences? The buck stops on the President’s table and he must be made answerable.
Under the Vice-President, it’s all humpty-dumpty. In 2006 for Vice-President’s Office operation, Parliament approved K2.04 billion, but instead spent an additional K10.563 billion, making a total of K12.612 billion. We assume this was to facilitate the campaign tours former Vice-President Lupando Mwape undertook. This year, Vice-President Rupiah Banda’s office administration gets a healthy K6 billion. The country is currently under serious flooding disasters. Of the total K20.78 billion allocation to the entire Vice-President’s Office, the Disaster Management and Mitigation Department of the Vice-President’s Office has been allocated a total of K6.93 billion of which K1.616 billion has been allocated for office administration and K238.7 million for stockpiling non-food supplies and about K25 million for stockpiling food supplies and zero for procurement of relief supplies!
Since all presidential and vice-presidential travel expenses are “hidden” it is interesting to note that under Cabinet Office, State Functions (local) a total of K 4.62 billion has been allocated. What is astonishing is that allocations of K905 million and K600 million have been made for the Ndola International Trade Fair and Lusaka Agricultural and Commercial Show respectively, while the Ministry of Commerce has allocated K32 million and an additional K102.9 million for the International Trade Fair and the Ministry of Agriculture has allocated K42.2 million for agricultural and commercial shows under their Department of Agriculture.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has allocated K21 million for its participation at the International Trade fair. This is why we said last year that it was a mad budget and so it is this year.
Further K45 billion has been allocated for public affairs and Summit meetings, whilst NIPA gets a paltry K100 million. Contrast this with a total allocation of K2.5 billion under Zambia Police under the Ministry of Home Affairs for rehabilitation of police camps, grading of police camp roads, prison cell and police stations rehabilitation. But not to be outdone, government spent K2.5 billion in 2006 to rehabilitate one helicopter. Government also spent K11.34 billion in 2006 to buy vehicles for the police and have allocated about K2 billion for more in 2007.
Under the Zambia Police poverty reduction programme about K182 million has been allocated for rehabilitation of water and sewer systems and K30 billion for construction of new housing units. But for Lt. Gen. Ronnie Shikapwasha at his Ministry headquarters, he has got himself K1.8 billion for office administration and almost K862 million for international travel during 2007. Government spent K4.373 billion for the yet to be seen digitalised national travel documents and has now allocated a further K4.28 billion for the same this year. Since we expect huge foreign investments, not to be outdone the Immigration Department has allocated itself almost K1.8 billion to buy more motor vehicles. At Local Government under their poverty reduction programme
called smallholder enterprise marketing programme, they spent an incredible K45 billion in 2006 for rehabilitation of footbridges and other than donor-funded projects in 2007, they intend to spend K2.4 billion for “mobilisation” in 2007 under their urban market development programmes. At the Ministry of Finance K30 billion has been allocated for the farm mechanisation and irrigation fund and K30 billion for credit enhancement for SME’s, and an additional K55 billion for “other
financial restructuring” - whatever all that means.
Whilst TAZAMA Pipeline gets almost K10 billion and the Zambia National Building Society gets almost K16 billion and Indeni Refinery gets K42 billion, in addition to an allocation under the Ministry of Energy of K234 million and RAMCOZ gets an allocation of K13 billion, when the
Administrator General’s Office at the Ministry of Justice spent K700 million on liquidation of RAMCOZ in 2006. Nitrogen Chemicals gets K3 billion, against K9 billion allocated for Constituency Development Fund, under the poverty reduction programme at Ministry of Local Government.
Last year government spent K29 billion on the youth empowerment fund, but there is little to show for it. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in 2006 spent K1.35 billion on presidential trips abroad, ostensibly to provide press coverage to Levy, and for 2007 they have allocated K1.46 billion to provide overseas press coverage for Levy. Support to the entire public media has been allocated K1.5 billion, against K7.19 billion that was allocated and spent by the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation in 2006. The Ministry however has allocated itself K481 million for foreign tours in 2007. K2 billion has also been allocated for the appointment of the Independent Broadcasting Authority and almost K230 million for the review of media laws and a further K1.1 billion to rent satellite space, whilst the Zambia News and Information Services gets K1.5 billion to procure motor vehicles.
Meanwhile, Cabinet Office at Public Service Management Division has allocated itself K8.5 billion for “voluntary medical scheme”, for the select few it seems, and K533 million for negotiations and collective agreements, less this year from 2006 when they spent K846 million. But let’s not forget our chiefs, they have a bonanza this year; they get K6.6 billion allocated for motor vehicles. Like local government and housing minister Sylvia Masebo said recently, decentralisation is not a priority of her colleagues, hence they had the luck of the Irish who have granted her almost K1.5 billion for decentralisation sector development, while government has allocated a total of K700 million for office administration and staff welfare in the decentralisation department.
Constitutional reforms at the Ministry of Justice get K202 billion and another K1.7 billion for the procurement of motor vehicles. Are you still with us? It gets even more absurd; the ill-fated Triangle of Hope initiative launched with much aplomb by Levy last year, but generally “rejected” by the Ministry of Finance gets K248 million - to do what? And since Citizens Economic Empowerment Fund is now no longer relevant, government has allocated a mere K49 million. But attending international conferences by the staff of the human resources and administration department of the Ministry of Finance is very important, so they allocated themselves K909 million and an additional K400 million for them to revise the Ministerial Strategic Plan. As if this is not enough for them, they also allocated additional K380 million for “culture remodelling-radio and TV production and K280 million for advertising and a whopping K700 million for Ministerial publications in foreign press. In order to educate us, they will spend K360 million for post-budget and MTEF outreach! Yet another K1 billion for motor vehicles and K600 million for their fuel reserves.
The University Teaching Hospital does not have a proper functioning incinerator, but who cares about human health? The Ministry of Finance is going to spend K450 million installing their own electrical incinerator and K700 million painting the Ministry of Finance HQ. That is not all, since the Ministry of Finance HQ is the ‘tallest’ building in Zambia, they will also spend K450 million fitting 2 elevators. Since the Zambia Revenue Authority seems to be incompetent, the Budget Office is spending K627 million for non-tax inspections and K129 million for development of new customs duty/VAT funding system and K978 million for tax policy reforms. But the Department of Planning and Economic Management cannot be sidelined, so they have come up with K2.28 billion to disseminate the National Development Plan (NDP) 2006-2010 and a further K1.18 billion to co-ordinate the implementation of the NDP. This is after they spent K5.26 billion in 2006 on dissemination of the NDP. It gets even more ridiculous. Under their poverty reduction programme, they spent K277 million for FNDP progress report writing in 2006 and want another K300 million this year and K706 million for preparation of the development budget. In order to hoodwink the private sector, one needs to have meetings, so they have allocated K80 million for public-private partnership meetings as well.
They spent about K32 million on review of population policy in 2006, so in order to disseminate their review findings they have allocated themselves K200 million this year. But consultations with the IMF/World Bank are crucial to this short-sighted government, so they have allocated K253million for that purpose in 2007.
With all this critical work, one needs economic performance monitoring and reporting, so they have allocated K400 million for the production of the annual economic report, K205 million for preparation of mid-year economic report and K100 million for budget analysis.
It will not cease to amaze you; under their poverty reduction programme, they have allocated K204 million for management information system, K161 million for field inspection and report writing. Not to be outdone, the Ministry of Finance Economic and Technical Cooperation department has allocated itself K346 million for implementation of aid policy strategy, and K300 million for new office furniture, since they are currently all sitting on the floor. You may have thought these people know what they are doing - not so! They have allocated K703 million for short and long-term training as well.
Miraculously, the Department of Financial Management and Accounting in the Ministry of Finance spent K3.8 billion on office administration in 2006, but in 2007 they only need K1.1 billion. This again is laughable; under their poverty reduction programme they spent K22 billion for payment of arrears and this year another K22.966 billion will be spent. K82 billion was spent for payment of arrears to contractors and this year K68.898 billion and K36 billion for payment of utility arrears.
Surely can all this be classified as poverty reduction programmes? If you thought it cannot get any more hilarious, they have allocated K921 million for enhancement of commitment control system/financial and K456 million for production of financial reports - yes yet again! Not to be outstaged, the donors have found it fit to grant the said Department K141 billion for Public Expenditure Management and Financial Accountability Reforms (PEMFAR).
At the Ministry of Labour HQ - control of foreign labour gets K71 million, review of labour laws gets K30 million and in 2007 SADC Conference gets K600 million, their own staff welfare gets K400 million and in their Planning and Research Department they have allocated K1 billion for their own employment promotion activity, in addition to K200 million for staff welfare, K800 million for National Employment and Labour Market Policy and K700 million for capacity building for labour market information.
The Ministry of Community Development and Social Services HQ exists for noble work for the poor in our society, so they will spend a little more than K1 billion on transport management, K663 million to develop and manage human resources and K520 million for management information systems, while spending K10 billion for agricultural support and K5 billion for retirement benefits for the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities. Their Community Development Department will spend K1.16 billion for “women development” - whatever that may mean - and their Cultural Department will spend K1 billion for “creative and cultural industries”. The Ministry of Health under their poverty reduction programme will spend K3.14 billion for international specialised treatment and K1.1 billion for local specialised treatment. While the very efficient Ministry of Communications and Transport has allocated itself K3.7 billion for office administration and K532 million for extension of their offices. K2.15 billion for Government Communications Flight, which is almost non-existent and we all know Levy uses the Challenger, whose costs they have again hidden this year. K80 million for supervision of establishment of a national airline and K400 million for co-ordination and establishment of a national airline, and to top it off, K231 million for” gender”. What does that mean? Rural telephone gets K400 million under their poverty reduction programme. We thought the Communications Authority was supposed to do that from the fee they charge to all telephone operators and or ZAMTEL! And K350 million for the implementation of the Triangle of Hope.
Since all the major mining investments have been made near the Kasama area, the Civil Aviation Department has allocated K2.08 billion for rehabilitation of the Kasama airport and K217 million for Solwezi airport, which area has little investment in the new mines! As is this was not adequate, can you imagine a further K513 million has been allocated for “feasibility study on reforming the department”. Rehabilitation of the country’s canals, waterways, harbours get a paltry K1.36 billion. Ministry of Works and Supply under their poverty reduction programme has allocated just over K2 billion for long service bonus and separation packages, K1 billion for roads department repatriation package and a further K1 billion roads department notice of termination, K1 billion for construction of the Solwezi lodge, there is no decent place for VIPs to stay, K500 million for construction of the Livingstone lodge and K528 million for the establishment of conference room and bar at the Kabwe lodge, K200 million for Luangwa lodge and K150 million for renovation of the Kasama lodge. K306 million for maintenance of government and VIP gardens. After spending K300 million on Public Private Partnership in 2006, they have allocated a further K525 million in 2007- to do what? For their Planning Department to attend parliamentary sessions they have allocated K115 million and International Women’s Day gets K241 million.
At the ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Evelyn Hone College gets K800 million; Northern Technical College gets K600 million. But the medical scheme - for the chosen few- at the ministry gets K190 million. And to inspect all the institutions they have allocated K140 million. To hold a national conference on Technical Education and Vocational Training (TEVET) K211 million has been set aside. K255 million has also been set aside to undertake performance review of TEVET. Government allocation for bursary gets zero, however, the ever-nice donors have allocated K5.5 billion.
A Youth Inventors Fund is being established and K5 billion has been allocated. Most of the development programmes are funded by the donors, as is the case at ministries of health, education, works and supply, among others.
Tourism is the government’s second tier strategy for economic growth, after agriculture, so this year they allocated K140 million for provincial tours to monitor human resource management, K334 million for maintenance of Kwacha House, where their offices are located, pay K400 million for their outstanding bills, K683 million for transport management, and a total of K34.353 billion - of which K20 billion is for ZAWA funded by the donors - to support the staff and activities of the Environmental Council of Zambia, Zambia National Tourist Board, National Museum Board, National Heritage, Hotel and Tourism Training Institute.
Services to the ministers have been allocated K710 million, while services to the permanent secretary have been allocated K149 million and the director of human resources and administration gets K114 million. HIV/AIDS awareness in the Ministry gets K103 million. The Forestry Department has allocated K3 billion in 2007, after having spent K7.35 billion in 2006 for Forestry Development Credit Facility.
While Zambia Forestry College gets a total lump sum of K2.35 billion. Planning is very important so their Planning Department gets K200 million for staff welfare, K12 million for services to director’s office and K254 million for office administration. Getting money out of the donors is the key, so K183.5 million has been allocated for international meetings. All this requires monitoring and evaluation, so a total of K427 million has been budgeted for. A further K297 million has been allocated for data management. To ensure that we are part of the global community, K1.49 billion has been allocated as contribution to international organisations. Just in case citizens get angry, an allocation of K4 billion has been made for the Tourism Development Credit Facility in 2007, after having spent K3.759 billion in 2006.
All this is no good unless we host international conferences, so this year K300 million has been allocated to host the World Tourism Organisation meeting. Since the Ministry of Tourism thinks that the Ministry of Justice is incompetent, they have allocated K500 million for operationalisation of the Tourism and Hospitality Bill-this is not even law yet! The development of the Northern Tourism Circuit (Northern and Luapula provinces) gets K1 billion and the private sector development and Triangle of Hope get a total of K100 million. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources got K60 million for staff welfare in 2006 - too little - so this year they have allocated K360 million. Gender mainstreaming and domestication of multi-lateral agreements gets K240 million - though it was the work of Ministry of Justice! All this is irrelevant because the World Bank is bankrolling about K63 billion under their Sector for Economic Expansion and Diversification Project (SEED), as are few other donors.
President Hu has come and gone. We will finally get a new stadium in Ndola. With so much work ahead of them, the Ministry of Sports, Youth and Child Development HQ has allocated itself K2.08 billion for office administration in 2007 from K873 million in 2006. All this requires a motivated staff, so K550 million for staff welfare has been budgeted from zero last year, and K906 million has been allocated for their 2006 outstanding bills. K105 million has been allocated for the National Survey on Sport, Youth and Child Development and K298 million for programme inspections.
The Sports Department under the ministry will be busy this year, so they have allocated K550 million for office administration, and under their poverty reduction programme they have allocated K285 million for mobilisation of communities into sports sectors and K300 million for rehabilitation of three provincial stadia and K30 million for strategic planning for youth sport- a further K200 million for focus on sports all this and more in the name of poverty reduction programmes! Not to be outdone, the Department of Youth Affairs has allocated itself K851 million for office administration and a further K334 million will be spent on review of the National Action Plan, and between 31 Youth Institutions/Centres will get K3 billion. A further K30 billion has been allocated to Youth Empowerment Fund.
This will require supervision and monitoring, so a total of K869 million has been allocated for this purpose. The Department of Child Affairs has allocated itself K489 million for office administration, while they will spend K528 million between 31 child-related institutions like child-care and adoption societies, orphanages, street children, YMCA and YWCA, among others. Under their poverty reduction programme for rehabilitation and reintegration of street children they have allocated a total of K3.20 billion.
The Ministry of Defence HQ has allocated K2.67 billion for office administration just a little more than the very important Ministry of Sports, Youth and Child Affairs. The total defence budget is K809 billion, as compared to K741 billion in 2006. The Zambia Security and Intelligence Service gets K31.68 billion for office administration, up from K20 billion in 2006.
They spent K13 billion in 2006 on procurement of “moveable assets”, but this year they are being kind to the Treasury and will only spend K1.8 billion, but also spend K5.7 billion on “construction of fixed assets”. Last year they spent K27 billion on “operations” and this year K30.5 billion. Their total budget in 2006 was about K165 billion, and this year its K184 billion.
At the Ministry of Education, under poverty reduction programmes, K38 billion has been allocated for the University of Zambia’s (UNZA) outstanding bills from 2006 and about K8 billion for new staff at the country’s third university, when we cannot even properly manage the existing two universities. Students loan and bursary award for UNZA from K40.5 billion in 2006 reduces to K24 billion and from K20.2 billion in 2006 to K10.5 billion for Copperbelt University (CBU). Enhancement of UNZA student’s welfare and learning gets K25 billion, while CBU gets K10 billion.
Research and University education at UNZA gets another K74.9 billion and CBU gets K27.9 billion. An allocation of K737 million has also been set aside for negotiations with the unions, from zero in 2006. K12 billion has been allocated for construction of student’s hostels at public universities, of which donors have funded K2 billion.
At the Ministry of Lands, K1.6 billion has been set aside for office administration and the office of the minister gets K462 million, while the permanent secretary gets K257 million. Renovations to their offices have been budgeted for K215 million.
Under the Human Resource and Administration Department K200 million has been allocated for land policy formulation and review of regulatory framework. The ministry has allocated K2 billion for civil works under Land Development Fund, K100 million for “systems” development and K170 million for monitoring and evaluation of Land Development Fund projects. Staff development gobbles up another K256.5 million. Under the Lands and Deeds Registry office registration of properties gets K10 million, while production of Certificate of Title Deeds gets K120 million. The Lands Department gets K1.17 billion for office administration.
Under their poverty reduction programme the Lands Department boundaries has allocated K123 million for land advocacy. The Survey department, under their poverty reduction programme has K1 billion allocated for demarcation of the Zambia-Malawi/Congo DR and a further K1.67 billion for survey of “special” projects.
The Anti-Corruption Commission gets K1.758 billion to procure motor vehicles, while much of their other activities are funded by the donors. The Ministry of Agriculture HQ gets K311 million for office administration, far less than the ministries of sports and of lands, but probably hidden elsewhere. However, the Policy and Planning Department gets K713 million for its office administration and K729 million for them to prepare MTEF estimates in 2007.The rest of policy and planning work is being funded by our donor friends.
Under the Agricultural Department’s poverty reduction programme K113 million has been allocated for “review” meetings under their extension monitoring and evaluation programme and a further K137 million for “backstopping and monitoring”, while K100 million goes to support community micro projects, peri-urban irrigation development gets K1.49 billion and support to irrigation equipment manufacturing gets K525 million.
The Agribusiness and Marketing Department gets K144.5 billion for procurement and distribution of inputs, but fully funded by the Japanese government, while the government resources of K2.12 billion will be used for “identification of farmers and hire of transport” and K1.4 billion will be used for programme coordination and another K1.5 billion for logistics and operations. K205.5 billion has been allocated to purchase National Food Reserves, up from K140 billion in 2006. Under the Co-operatives Department, K802 million will be used for Co-operative database management and another K1.31 billion for “backstopping on co-operative inspections”.
The review and development of co-operative manuals will gobble up K1.9 billion and training of co-operators has been allocated K2.14 billion. While “backstopping on distribution of developed promotion materials” will get K1.42 billion. Under the National Agricultural Information Service poverty reduction programme K1.2 billion has been allocated for agricultural show facilitation and participation and distribution- whatever that means!
Now for icing on the cake! How much do you think it costs to run ministers, deputy ministers and permanent secretaries offices? Here is a sampling. On top of the league is the minister of communications at K3.7 billion, followed by the sports minister at K2.08 billion for their office expenditure. The home affairs minister has allocated himself K K1.8 billion for office expenditure and K862 million for international travel in 2007. The health minister and her permanent secretary have allocated themselves K1.183 billion for office expenditure and K723 million for foreign travel.
The labour minister and his permanent secretary have allocated K550 million, the community development minister, her permanent secretary and directors have awarded themselves K414 million for office expenditure, while the tourism minister gets K710 million, his permanent secretary K149 million and director of human resources K114 million to run their offices.
The energy minister’s office expenditure has been budgeted for at K200 million, while the foreign minister at K331 million. The local government minister and her permanent secretary have allocated themselves K879 million, up from K175 million they got in 2006. Most, but not all of the other ministers have “hidden” either their office and or travel expenses under ambiguous headings, like the Minister of Finance. And yet Magande in his Budget speech asserts that there may not be enough money to provide a lower tax regime for individuals and business - no wonder, because government is on a serious consumption expenditure binge and mostly they have disguised it under their so-called poverty reduction programmes.
Under Constitutional and Statutory Expenditure K129 billion has been allocated to pay external debt and K656.5 billion to pay internal debt. While Constitutional posts gets K25.78 billion and medium term pay reform for the civil service is budgeted for K258.445 billion, from K298.48 billion in 2006. The grand total of the estimates of revenue and expenditure is budgeted for K12.042 trillion.
By Speedwell Mupuchi
Saturday February 10, 2007 [02:00]
CONTINUED revelations of stolen money are a clear sign that government may be losing the battle against corruption, Transparency International Zambia acting president Reuben Lifuka has said.
And Lifuka said government was taking a pedestrian approach to fighting corruption. Commenting on President Mwanawasa's revelation that civil servants had stolen K3 trillion, Lifuka said the revelation vindicated TIZ's position that the fight against corruption continued to be narrowly focused and poorly managed. Lifuka said Zambians had become too familiar with revelations by the Mwanawasa administration of incidents of corruption and misappropriation of funds but were yet to see meaningful actions to redress the situation.
He said finance deputy minister Jonas Shakafuswa recently revealed that over K100 billion has been lost. "As Transparency International Zambia, we strongly believe that the amount of money this country continues to lose is even higher than K3 trillion. The President mentions only Public Service workers but surely politicians who are Cabinet ministers have been cited in some of the Auditor General's reports for misappropriation of funds," Lifuka noted. "The question is how many ministers have obtained imprest and are yet to retire the same? How many ministers continue to obtain funds beyond their entitlements? Transparency International Zambia demands that the President gives this country a holistic picture of how much this government is losing in terms of public funds and we need a clear statement on the actions that this government is going to take."
Lifuka said it was pointless to threaten arrest when one knew that they had no capacity to deal with culprits. "This issue is serious and should not be trivialised and treated as a sound bite for public rallies," Lifuka said. He also urged government to deal with the continued national wastage of resources. He said previously, President Mwanawasa revealed that some of his Cabinet ministers were corrupt and it ended as just another media story.
"Again President Mwanawasa revealed that the Ministry of Lands is the most corrupt and yet to date corruption is rife in that ministry. We are equally told that the President has 'suspended' the slogan 'zero tolerance for corruption'. The continued revelations are a clear sign that government may be losing the battle against corruption and it calls for immediate and urgent action," he said. He called on President Mwanawasa to provide appropriate leadership and ensure all loopholes were sealed, culprits brought to book and that his government lived above board. "This issue of the loss of K3 trillion is a disaster and we demand appropriate and urgent action and answers as soon as possible," he demanded.
He also called on members of parliament to play their roles as elected representatives by debating the national budget with consideration on ways and means of sealing all loopholes. "The last challenge also lies with permanent secretaries who are controlling officers to ensure that they are in control of public funds and not merely learn about such financial disasters," Lifuka said. "It is unimaginable that such colossal sums of money have continued to be stolen, mismanaged and misappropriated to the detriment of the ordinary Zambian who desires to receive basic social services."
Lifuka said it was criminal that in a country with over 68 per cent of the people living in extreme poverty, Zambia could allow the loss of K3 trillion which was almost one third of the total national budget for 2006. "It is not enough for the President to merely feel sick about this theft - he should be moved to immediate action," he said.
Friday, February 09, 2007
'Thou shall not steal - Post EditorialCOMMENT - " Something has really gone wrong in our country as far as accountability is concerned. "
The answer is simple - track public expenditures and incomes. This is not hard to do. Banks can keep track of millions of accounts, and the government can do the same, IF THERE IS THE WILL TO DO IT. Therefore, no one is to blame except the government in charge, even more than the individuals who took or misdirected the money.
Odd that the World Bank and IMF keep so quiet about the misappropriation of funds by friendly governments. It s almost as if they are... complicit in corruption.
'Thou shall not steal
Friday February 09, 2007 [07:17]
Corruption seems to be out of control in our public service.
There appears to be a complete breakdown in the running of our public service.
Three trillion kwacha is not a small amount of money to disappear without trace. Last year our national budget was K10.5 trillion. The three trillion kwacha that has been stolen by public service workers is almost 30 per cent of our national budget. This is too high a figure to ignore.
Two days ago, President Levy Mwanawasa disclosed to the nation that three trillion kwacha had been stolen by public service workers. But to date, we don’t know of any such public worker who has been arrested for this gigantic theft.
In a system that is functioning, even with weak controls here and there, three trillion kwacha cannot be stolen without anyone being arrested. Moreover, this money was not stolen by one person and on a single day. There are many people involved and the money was stolen over a period of time. Even the weakest of controls could have detected this and some people would by now be doing time in jail.
Something has really gone wrong in our country as far as accountability is concerned. For things to get to this level, it can only mean one thing: corruption has destroyed our social structures. And it will not be easy to correct things; drastic measures will be required. Nothing short of revolutionary measures will help correct the situation. Corruption in Zambia has become an accepted way of life. Yes, thefts make people like Levy sick. But that’s all.
Like any other sickness they recover and get on with their lives again as if nothing had happened to them. Our public service is rotten to the core; it is reeking with corruption in every pore. And this is the institution that is supposed to be managing the affairs of our nation and ensure that everything is done in an efficient, effective and orderly manner. It is the public service that is supposed to oversee all the activities going on in the nation. But what can this rotten institution, stinking with filth, guide the nation on?
But this is what happens in a nation when the President of the Republic is allowed to use public funds and other resources without accountability and as if everything personally belonged to him.
This is what happens to a country when people are allowed, as a norm, to live on unearned income without being questioned by anyone. We know that in the previous regime, the president used to boast of having introduced a system where one could move with his dollars at the airport without being questioned by anyone where he got them; one could own anything without being asked by anyone how he or she acquired it.
And this was seen to be a way of promoting entrepreneurship, free enterprise and private ownership; it was seen to be a way of promoting individual liberty. But they forgot that even in the most capitalistic countries, citizens are compelled to account for what they own; they have an obligation to show the authorities where they got the money to acquire this and that.
There is nothing wrong with such a practice because it promotes honest living in a nation. This is what the UNIP government of Dr Kenneth Kaunda tried to achieve with the establishment of SITET. This institution was used to find out where some citizens got the money to acquire this and that. It was actually through SITET’s enquiries that the nation learnt that some of our fellow citizens were involved in drug trafficking. They were found with a lot of money and other things of very high value and when asked how they got them, they disclosed that it was through dealings in mandrax. Of course at that time it was not a criminal offence in this country to deal in such drugs.
What would be wrong with asking a civil servant who earns three, four or five million kwacha per month to account for where they got the money to build a house or acquire assets that are worth billions of kwacha? Today in this country, we have public workers who own far more property than their accumulated earned income. Nobody raises any questions about it. It is a normal thing in Zambia. And in the first place, who in the public service would be courageous enough to raise such questions without risking themselves to be asked the same questions?
This is the worst result of the reckless measures of the Chiluba regime. They totally destroyed the public service and allowed corruption to become the norm in public service under the guise of promoting liberties. To change the system now will be extremely difficult; will call for a lot of courage to institute measures that will turn almost the entire public service against the politicians in power. But the reality is that this corruption, this theft of public funds will not be stopped without a very big fight, a protracted struggle to cleanse the public service of corruption.
And when we talk about the public service, we also include the private sector in this matrix of corruption. This is because funds stolen from government are channelled into private businesses, private properties or private sector in general. So any measures that are targeted at cleansing the public service should also be targeted towards the private sector. We do appreciate Levy’s frustration on this score.
It is clear to us that Levy means well on most of these issues but he is at sea with the realities. He appears to seriously lack understanding of what is going on and in some respects he doesn’t seem to believe the extent of the rottenness of the system; he doesn’t seem to believe that citizens of this country can do such horrible things to their own people. But he’s waking up to the reality - and it is making him sick.
Corruption in this country will not be eradicated without a serious war. A government that commits itself to fighting corruption is risking its popularity. But a choice has to be made to change the wrong and bad practices or to continue with the rot.
We invite all our people, the Zambians of goodwill to avoid corruption at all costs and condemn it whenever and wherever they see it. All Zambians have a duty to promote transparency, accountability and honesty in the nation, especially where public resources are concerned. It is not much an issue how an individual spends or squanders his legitimately earned resources.
And moreover, in a nation like ours that has declared itself a Christian one, corruption should be considered to be a sin with drastic evil effects. Exodus 20:15 says, “You shall not steal.”
Corruption is robbing our nation of scarce resources.
By George Chellah
Friday February 09, 2007 [02:00]
MMD spokesperson Benny Tetamashimba yesterday revealed that he had discussions with UPND president Hakainde Hichilema and his secretary general Tiens Kahenya. But Hichilema, who could neither deny nor confirm Tetamashimba's revelations, said it was immaterial whether or not anybody had spoken to Tetamashimba 20 times or more. He insisted that as far as UPND was concerned, there was no pact between them and MMD Reacting to UPND vice-president Richard Kapita's challenge to him to disclose names of the top UPND leaders that approached him over their intentions to enter into a pact with MMD, Tetamashimba advised Kapita just to keep quiet.
"First of all the challenge from Kapita is unfortunate in that there has always been confrontation between politicians from my province and myself. I challenge Kapita to ask his own president Hakainde Hichilema whether he has not rang me on more than two occasions... I mean him ringing me and not me ringing him. I have a lot of respect for HH and I feel he is a good and genuine young man. So what we discussed is not for public consumption. Let Kapita ask his president that, let him find out from his president what we discussed," Tetamashimba said. "I also challenge Kapita to ask his own secretary general whether he had not discussed with me on how there must be unity of purpose in this country. What we discussed with HH I will never reveal because I have respect for him. Let Kapita ask his members of parliament who were quoted in The Post (Emmanuel Hachipuka and Raphael Muyanda) whether they never had a discussion with me. Kapita should keep quiet. His stance makes him to be a person who should be in a party like Patriotic Front (PF) and not a party like UPND that is led by a decent young man like HH."
Tetamashimba last week revealed that he had discussions with top UPND leaders concerning possibilities of working together but they had asked UPND to put their proposals in writing before anything could be agreed upon. He was commenting on The Post's revelation that at least 10 UPND members of parliament were pushing for a pact with MMD. He said he had discussed this matter with more senior UPND members than the two members of parliament that were quoted in The Post. It was this statement that compelled Kapita to challenge Tetamashimba to disclose the names of those top UPND leaders he met.
And Tetamashimba yesterday described the unfolding events in UPND as unfortunate. "What is happening in UPND is very unfortunate especially that we have leaders in the party who want to portray lies to people when they were doing something different. A similar thing happened when the late Anderson Mazoka, Saki, myself, Muyanda and the late Wamulume discussed and agreed that the late Mazoka should serve President Mwanawasa and wanted an appointment from President Mwanawasa," Tetamashimba said. "It is these same people including Kapita who misled the late Mazoka and at the end Mazoka didn't have that agreement with MMD.
The late Wamulume even went to an extent of asking General Shikapwasha and Michael Mabenga to deny the statement. HH is a good gentleman with a clean vision in respect of unity of purpose and to develop his own country. And he is a person who could be one of the leaders in future because he is still a young man." Tetamashimba said as things stood, UPND alone had no capacity to form government.
"HH's leadership just like Mr Sata whose parties are embroiled in tribal sentiments will never make him (Hichilema) a leader of this country. People like Kapita have blind loyalty and will never give good advice to a person," Tetamashimba said. "Kapita himself is a reject. He lost an election. Therefore, HH has nobody in North-Western Province who can make people support him to win an election," he said.
But Hichilema yesterday said he did not want to waste time discussing the matter. "No George, I will not discuss this matter with you. You heard our position on this matter so I don't want to waste time with you...this is wasting time. I have already stated my position. I don't even know what mileage you George wants to get from this. Why do you want fights, acrimony and squabbles?" he said. Hichilema said he met his members of parliament twice and that matter was discussed and resolved. "We discussed this matter with Muyanda and Hachipuka so may be, let me ask you why you want to keep this issue?" he asked.
But when reminded about the need for him to clear his name over Tetamashimba's disclosure, Hichilema angrily responded: "I don't have to clear myself to anybody whether it's you George or The Post. Ultimately what matters is the party's position or the policy. We have reached consensus. I told people to talk to anybody because we are not fighting anybody here. If anybody has spoken to Tetamashimba 20 times it doesn't matter. They know the party's position. I will not gag my National Management Committee (NMC) members, they speak to anybody. "I will speak to anybody whether Mr Sata or anybody. I will also speak to you that's why I don't refuse to speak to you. I will talk to anybody whether MMD, PF or anybody. You may wish to know that I am talking to many people. Some of my members are married to people from different parties so can't they talk?"
Hichilema said nobody would have a pact without the members' position. "Yes, Sata thinks he controls everybody in this country. But to me, Sata is not a factor," Hichilema said. "We will tolerate Zambians and all the tribes because no tribe is superior to the other...even with this language thing. I know what's happening, someone wants to make Sata feel that he is the only one in opposition because we have entered into a pact with MMD. But that will not work. I will respect Zambians regardless of their tribe. I have said that before."
And when contacted, Kapita who initially challenged Tetamashimba to disclose the names of top UPND leaders who approached him, responded: "He has told you from his own mouth. I am not aware of that myself so perhaps what you can do is ask president Hichilema because he told us that he has not had any contacts with Tetamashimba. In fact, we were in a meeting yesterday (Wednesday) and it was hot. The president and Mr Kahenya have not told us so it's only fair that you call the president and ask him."
He warned that Tetamashimba's days in politics were numbered. "We will see what will happen in 2011, things change. Tetamashimba used to call himself Teta Mazoka, he was claiming to be too close to Mr. Mazoka but the moment he realised we were not going to form government what happened?" Kapita asked. "He is now a minister since he wanted to be one so let him just leave UPND alone.
Tetamashimba is the last person to speak about UPND. He knows that his days are numbered."
And Kahenya said it would be unfair for him to give a statement over the matter. "I will be very honest with you. I would not want to make further comments because I was not here when the MPs were giving a press conference. I was out of the country. So I have not been privy to some of the information that has been flying around. It would be very unfair for me to give a concrete comment on that," he said.
Meanwhile, Siavonga UPND member of parliament Douglas Syakalima who spoke on behalf the members of parliament during a press briefing at which they denied the issue of the pact with MMD, said he had worked with Tetamashimba before and knew how mischievous he could be sometimes. "This mischief is only to Tetamashimba's benefit. Teta is our colleague, we can talk but not to the extent of making a deal. I have always advised Teta to tame his tongue and I am advising him again to do that because he may think he is harming UPND when he is actually harming MMD dangerously," Syakalima said.
"Even if we wanted to make a deal, nobody can use Teta. We know that many of our people generally don't want to understand how we want to run our politics. In politics there should be civility. I can tell you that one of my elder brothers is married to Sata's niece. So can some say that he is talking to them?" Syakalima said Tetamashimba wants UPND to be seen as a non-entity. "Early this year Teta himself sent an sms to the resident (HH) greeting him saying Happy New Year and the president sent back also that Happy New Year. So if this Teta's way of entering a pact then that's mischief," said Syakalima.