Thursday, December 06, 2012

Chirwa needs enough space to revamp ZRL - Kavindele

Chirwa needs enough space to revamp ZRL - Kavindele
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Thu 06 Dec. 2012, 11:20 CAT

COMMERCE minister Robert Sichinga and other politicians should give Prof-essor Clive Chirwa enough leverage to execute his duties of revamping Zambia Railways (ZRL) without political interference, says Enoch Kavindele.

Kavindele, who is former Republican vice-president, warned that Prof Chirwa was bound to fail as managing director of the run-down ZRL if political interference was not tamed.

Kavindele was commenting on a meeting last week in which Korea Railroad Corporation, talking to Sichinga, had offered to help revive Zambia's rail network through human resource training and provision of locomotives "at no cost".

"Government should just leave him Prof Chirwa to come up with the plan to resuscitate Zambia Railways without political interference," Kavindele said. "Prof Clive Chirwa is bound to fail if political interference takes root. Government, having employed Chirwa, should give him free hand to resuscitate Zambia Railways."

He also said Sichinga was interfering with the work of the Ministry of Transport and Communication which was responsible for running of ZRL.

"The idea of Korea Railway talking to the Minister of Commerce and not the Minister of Transport and Communication means the Minister of Commerce Sichinga is tying Chirwa and minister of transport to an issue that hasn't been discussed fully or not aware of," he said.

"I have not been in government for a while now and I don't know how these ministries have been aligned or realigned but the issue of rail, let it be left to line ministries who have over the years done a lot on the issue of Zambia Railways and I know the Ministry of Transport has done a lot of study on this issue."

Kavindele said there were tangible records currently to show that services given to the country "at no cost" ended in costing Zambia billions of kwacha and also landing ministers involved at odds with the law.

"Bob should take cognizance of free services which have been offered to Zambia," said Kavindele. "There is no free lunch and Bob should know that. This is just a sweetener for Korean Railway to get into Zambia Railways without a competitive tender process. So, that is my friendly advice to my close friend, Bob. [If somebody tells you I am helping you at no cost, he Sichinga has to be very careful. There is nothing like that."

The Korean Railway which attended the Zambia Investment Forum (ZIIF) said it had a lot of locomotive engines which they could spare Zambia.
Last September, the government cancelled a 2003 concession agreement to a South Africa's New Limpopo Bridge Projects Limited (NLP) to run a state-owned railway under the local company - Railway Systems of Zambia.

And last November, President Michael Sata appointed Prof Chirwa as Zambia Railways Limited chief executive officer, replacing Knox Karima, who has been retired in national interest.

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