Friday, January 23, 2009

Teta nominates MMD officials as water utilities board members

Teta nominates MMD officials as water utilities board members
Written by Chibaula Silwamba and Kelvin Tembo
Friday, January 23, 2009 7:04:38 AM

LOCAL government minister Benny Tetamashimba has nominated MMD provincial chairpersons for Western and Central provinces Simasiku Namakando and Boyd Mutonka as board chairperson and board member of Western Water and Sewerage Company and Lukanga Water and Sewerage Company respectively.

But Zambia Water and Sanitation Engineers Allied Workers Union (ZWSEAWU) general secretary Charles Phiri has said Tetamashimba should not extend the confusion he has created in the councils to water utility companies.

According to a final list of final names of board members of the eight new boards for water utility companies, which indicate the appointing institution and academic qualifications of the appointees, Tetamashimba nominated Namakando as chairperson of Western Water and Sewerage Company.

The list also indicated that Tetamashimba, who is also MMD information and publicity chairperson, nominated Mutonka to the board of Lukanga Water and Sewerage Company. Tetamashimba also nominated opposition United Liberal Party (ULP) national chairperson Clementina Chipeta as a board member for Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company. The ULP, under the leadership of Sakwiba Sikota, campaigned for President Rupiah Banda in the October 30 presidential election.

And former Lukashya MMD member of parliament Bernard Mpundu is vice chairperson for Chambeshi Water and Sewerage Company while former United Church of Zambia (UCZ) Copperbelt presbytery overseer Bishop Committee Njase is new chairperson for Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company.

Tetamashimba also nominated a Mr. T. B. Vundamina of Mufulira as board chairperson for Mulonga Water and Sewerage Company and Morgan Ntantula as a board member of Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company.

Tetamashimba nominated Marthar Judy Evans as vice-chairperson of Eastern Water and Sewerage Company.

Other board chairpersons, whose appointing authority is not indicated, include Mpundu Mwila Shapi (Chambeshi Water and Sewerage Company), Ruth Mvula (Lukanga Water and Sewerage Company), William Nyirenda (Nkana Water and Sewerage Company) Victor Zulu (Eastern Water and Sewerage Company) and Ann Mwanza (Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company).

“The Ministry of Local Government and Housing has confidence in the men and women that have been appointed and in their ability to effectively discharge their responsibilities of providing policy guidance and overall supervision of their water utility companies. This is because they have been appointed on merit after wide consultation and screening to ensure that they met the requisite qualifications,” Tetamashimba stated. “The boards have a challenge of measuring up to the challenge of reducing by half the proportion of the population without access to safe and reliable water supply and proper sanitation by the year 2015.”

And commenting on Tetamashimba’s appointing of new boards for eight water utility companies, Charles Phiri said the dissolutions were welcome but it was not up to Tetamashimba to appoint new board chairpersons.

“It is not up to the minister to appoint the board chairperson and his vice. It is the board members that are supposed to do that. We do not want confusion in water companies,” Phiri said.

He said the tenure of office for the eight boards had expired and Tetamashimba was in order to dissolve them, but political interference should be avoided in the appointment of those boards.

Phiri said the government was a shareholder in the utility companies and did not have the power to appoint board chairpersons.

He said the boards should be allowed to operate autonomously because they were commercial entities.

“Obviously we will see party cadres being appointed as board members who will affect the independence of the water utility companies,” Phiri said.

He said the union would not allow Tetamashimba to extend the confusion he had created in the councils to the water companies. He said the union was not happy with the way Tetamashimba was running the ministry.

“We are going to give the new boards 90 days to see how they are going to operate and we will take the issue to State House because we do not need anymore confusion,” said Phiri.

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