Friday, July 30, 2010

RB will be pursued over 'abuse of office' - Sata

RB will be pursued over 'abuse of office' - Sata
By Patson Chilemba
Fri 30 July 2010, 04:01 CAT

PATRIOTIC Front (PF) president Michael Sata yesterday warned President Rupiah Banda and his friends not to think they are clever by removing the abuse of office offence because they will still be pursued for their wrongdoing.

And Chilanga MMD member of parliament Ng’andu Magande asked President Banda to respect Zambians because he would not be in power without them.

Reacting to the government’s manoeuvres to remove the offence of abuse of authority from the revised Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Act, Sata asked President Banda to learn from former president Frederick Chiluba who was shrouded in corruption prosecution until he was given temporary relief.

“They might think they are clever today. They will only be clever in 13 months. But we remember President Banda when he was in Gwanda Zimbabwe, he said he would like to come and spend more time there. Probably he has already prepared where he is going to spend more time. But others we don’t know where they are going,” Sata said.

“Frederick Chiluba’s government was erratic. For example, you know the US$20 million dollars which he gave to his cousin and he thought nothing will come nearer him, but his appointment of late president Levy Mwanawasa sorted him out.”

Sata said people like President Banda, Vice-President George Kunda and works and supply minister Mike Mulongoti were constantly living in fear.

He said they were trying hard not to be lumped together with Chiluba on corruption prosecution, but were on the other hand engaging in wrongdoing.

Sata said they could remove abuse of office from the Act but still be prosecuted.

“They can remove abuse of office and buy mobile hospitals, close Indeni, buy petrol. They can do anything but we shall catch them. We shall catch them and deal with them properly, catch them and deal with them thoroughly,” Sata said.

“Every day they are getting very worried. That is why this George Kunda is using psychological warfare of saying ‘you shouldn’t worry, we are going to rule up to 2030’.”

And Magande said although the leadership code under Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s government was criticized, it at least tried to limit the appetite of people who might have wanted to abuse their positions.

He said public officers who were not ready to make decisions on account of the clause were weak souls who should not hold public office.

“He Mulongoti has to come up with evidence to the public that there are 100 civil servants who have failed to make decisions because they are scared of this particular provision,” Magande said.

He said at first he thought it was a joke when Katuba MMD member of parliament Jonas Shakafuswa revealed that the government wanted to remove the offence of abuse of office.

Magande said Mulongoti had revealed the government’s motive for removing the clause from the Act.

“He wants civil servants to make decisions even on behalf of their own companies. Is that why we have a public service? People shouldn’t go into public service to go and make decisions on their own behalf,” he said.

Magande asked President Banda to listen to people’s concerns because it would not do for him to start telling off those who were questioning government programmes and actions.

He recalled that recently when going to Mongu, President Banda said nobody should question him because he was the government.

“But I thought democracy is the government of the people and by the people. So if he says ‘he is government’ then we all keep quiet? And yet he is accumulating 53 million dollars, who is going to pay that money? Isn’t it our grandchildren? The government is only there because there are people to be governed. So the governed must have a word in how you are governing them,” said Magande. “If nobody goes to vote is he going to be in government? He should respect the people that gave him the vote to be where he is.”

Commenting on the government’s manoeuvres to remove the offence of abuse of office from the revised ACC Act, Mulongoti on Monday said the clause had proved harmful, and should therefore be removed from the Act.

Mulongoti said public officers were now afraid to make decisions for fear of being criminalized on account of the said clause.

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