Monday, February 18, 2008

LETTERS - Leadership, Roads, Public Funds

Morality and leaders
By Mwewa Lombe
Monday February 18, 2008 [03:00]

It is hard to be inspired by our government and political leaders when one looks at how myopically they discuss and attend to national issues. The bureaucracy in the civil service takes advantage of this myopic approach from our leaders by misusing, misappropriating and even stealing government funds. If one visited any government office, one would actually see the lack of activity that exists in almost all government offices. Our leaders are more pre-occupied with swimming in luxury.

Actually, it now is evident that the political system we have in Zambia does not serve the common man, but the immoral leaders who want to continue exploiting the majority of us. Visit any ministry headquaters and you will be shocked to see the number of vehicles parked.

As a country, we do not even worry about the high consumption of energy or fuel or that we do not have a single oil field, yet the whole world is considering rationalisation of the consumption of fuel/energy.

Even our so-called elite few in government have lamentably failed to give direction to the country as they are blinded by the luxury the government offers them.

Are they not ashamed of the massive failures when they make public statements? Anyway, morality is lacking in our leaders.

State of roads in Barotseland
By Lishebo Mubiana
Monday February 18, 2008 [03:00]

Memories of the failed Mongu-Kalabo road are still fresh. There is, however, a new hope that the road will be done and completed under an improved design. This, at least, has been pronounced by the Republican President himself and his technocrats.

If what is currently obtaining in Barotseland had been initiated 20 years ago, we wouldn’t be referring to this province today as the poorest.

The Roads Development Agency should be commended for the vigour and vibrancy it has exhibited through its current robust Western province regional manager.

For the first time, the people in the province feel part of the decision-making process vis-à-vis road construction, as evidenced last week from 4 to 7 February in Mongu at the stakeholders' consultative Strategic Environmental Assessment workshop on the Senanga-Sesheke road project which drew participants from various walks of life.

We are now feeling the presence of the department of roads in the province as the RDA’s regional manager is available to ably explain government programmes and projects at forums like the Provincial Development Coordinating Committee meetings.

The Kaoma-Kasempa road has been opened up while the Lukulu road has been rehabilitated. Also, the Chinese are working on the Kaoma-Mongu and the Mongu-Senanga roads and the Limulunga-Ushaa road are under rehabilitation.

Mongu is in addition looking beautiful with the recently rehabilitated township roads. The province will soon be connected to Namibia through an upgraded Mongu-Sesheke road.

The Luampa-Mulobezi road is about to be worked on while the Matebele-Shangombo road will be rehabilitated this year with support from DANIDA. But the Simungoma-Mulobezi road has serious quality problems and the RDA has to check the Namibian contractor working on this road.

With the opening up of many good roads in the province, it will be proved that Western Province is actually the richest in the country. Mwanawasa, please give us the Mongu-Kalabo road.

Glaring financial irregularities
By Dr Makasa M Emmanuel
Monday February 18, 2008 [03:00]

It has now become common in Zambia for the Auditor General's report to reveal glaring financial irregularities in ministries, yet no action at all is taken. And this is a country that preaches zero tolerance against corruption? Surprisingly, the obvious culprits are still in place.

We appreciate George Kunda's talk that the government has delegated the responsibility of managing public funds to controlling officers so that there is no political interference. But these controlling officers are the ones who are not being held accountable.

We all know that the position of permanent secretary though in the civil service, is a political appointment.

We want to see an end to this daylight robbery of public funds.

We now want corrective measures to be taken because we cannot afford to continue borrowing money from donors and paying tax so that some unscrupulous individuals can waste it while we watch.

Abuse of public funds
By Godfrey Mambwe Kaoma
Sunday February 17, 2008 [03:00]

While I don't entirely agree with Mike Mulongoti's statement that the government should not be blamed for the evident abuse of public funds by civil servants (The Post, February 15, 2008);

I would appreciate if the minister could inform the nation on how much fruit have been borne out of those alarming revelations that were made through the Auditor General's report. Just a few weeks ago, what happened at the local government and housing ministry? Colossal amounts of tax payers' money remained unaccounted for; oh shame, mother Zambia!

While giving directives to audit suspected or wanting missions abroad or otherwise is one good gesture(as the minister bragged), taking appropriate measures is also another.

Issuance of mere directives and then remaining mute when it comes to prosecuting erring officials is as good as punching a dead lion.

What is lacking on the part of the government is focus, resulting into misplaced priorities when it comes to fighting this scourge. This is why to this day, we see corrupt officials "dinning" together with their masters; and the politicians are the worst kind.

When if not now, will our new deal government take a leaf from what President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania did? He dissolved his cabinet! Or are we asking too much from our Zambian leaders?

Zesco's lack of planning
By Davies C. Chileshe
Monday February 18, 2008 [03:00]

I wish to express my disappointment over the current Zesco power outages. Zesco, like many other companies in Zambia, is so much interested in collecting money from people rather than improving the services it offers.

Since 2005 or so when Zesco introduced load shedding, nothing good so far has been achieved apart from the constant increase in the number of power cuts. I doubt so much the competence of its administration.

It appears that the administration lacks proper planning. They only plan for today and forget about tomorrow.

We know that the world is constantly changing and that the way it is today is very much different from the way it was yesterday. That’s why it will be illogical to rely on the hydropower system that was installed by the colonial administration to continue supplying power efficiently.

Today's population is probably five times larger than it was then and we can’t deny that the number of industries that need power has also increased. I’m bitter at the pace at which they have responded to this power crisis.

Most probably, the administration is quite incompetent because the pace at which it works is slower than that of the problem. Initially, we were experiencing load shedding for one hour or so in days, but now we are experiencing it several hours within a day.

The money they get from people is actually more than enough to improve the system. However, they consider the investment in their selfish pockets preferencial. God forbid! I become even more bitter to hear that some political parties are being funded by this company.

If the government is involved in mysterious dealings, who then will intervene in this situation?

Zambians are not blind, whatever transpires between Zesco and the government is well known. The government's silence over the Zesco administration actually speaks volumes.

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