Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Effron loses govt job over leaks
By Moses Kuwema
Wed 14 Aug. 2013, 14:00 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata has fired foreign affairs minister Dr Effron Lungu and replaced him with Wilbur Simuusa for allegedly leaking information to the MMD.

But Dr Lungu yesterday denied ever leaking any information and warned that the people responsible for his downfall would pay back in less than six months.

Sources disclosed yesterday that Dr Lungu had allegedly been leaking Cabinet information to opposition political parties, especially the MMD.

"The old man was a mole in meetings, that's why he has been fired. He has been very loose in terms of information. He has been leaking information to the opposition political parties. Every small detail, he has to run to MMD. Sometimes he would be baited with information and soon you will find it is already in the hands of the opposition," the sources said.

According to the sources Dr Lungu had allegedly been working against the PF in Chipata central constituency which led to Lameck Mangani's loss. The sources said Dr Lungu's loyalty was questionable and the PF did not want to risk having such a man."He has been working with the opposition. He gave information to Nevers Mumba of the MMD and so he needed to go," said the source.

But when contacted over the allegations, Dr Lungu said he was an anointed man of God and that very soon the nation would hear of serious wounds on those who planned his downfall.

"I don't think I have ever leaked any information to the opposition from cabinet to MMD. I have been wrongly implicated by enemies that had planned my downfall. If they think they have succeeded now, they will pay back in not less six months from now. How can I do that when I am a very strong PF supporter? If you remember, Eastern Province then, out of the 19 constituencies, I was the only one who actually won on the PF. So what type of information can I leak and to who? If anything, I have always been out of the country. What time do I leak information? It is not true. If there are people who make mileage by implicating others for things which they have not done, then at a later stage, they will also pay back," he said.

Dr Lungu said the enemies, whom he could not name, had been fighting an innocent person.

"God will vindicate me. My enemies will pay for that because God is a fair one. I stand very strong in the party manifesto's rules and there is nowhere, even if you look at my movements in Parliament, there is no where that I associate with opposition. As far as I am concerned, I am not shaken. But if those people have cooked up those stories, fair enough but I stand by my words that I have never done that. To me I am only going through God's currency," he said.

Dr Lungu said if it was the wish of his enemies for him to be out of government so that they could create room for others, which he said he had no problem with, adding that God was in control of his situation. He said not all was lost for him as someone who comes from the field of academia and that he would remain a very loyal member of the PF as its Chama South member of parliament until 2016.

Earlier in the day before being asked on the information leakage allegations, Dr Lungu said he was not bitter with his dismissal but thanked President Sata for having appointed him to serve as foreign affairs minister.

"I want to thank him for the time I served as foreign affairs minister. Appointments are made by the President and he also takes people from place to place. As far as I am concerned, I am not bitter. I just want to thank the President for having accorded me the chance to serve under him, I think that's what is important," Dr Lungu said.

Asked if his dismissal had anything to do with President Sata's disappointment with him a few weeks ago for having copied confidential letters meant for him to other people, Lungu said: "I have no comment on that."

President Sata's special assistant for press and public relations George Chellah disclosed Dr Lungu's dismissal to journalists yesterday after a swearing in ceremony of Bernard Chiwala as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport. Chellah said President Sata has not yet appointed someone to take over from Simuusa at the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection but that the nation would be informed at a later stage.

"All I can say is that there is a new foreign affairs minister, Honourable Wilbur Simuusa is now the new foreign affairs minister. Honourable Dr Effron Lungu has been relieved of his duties," he said. Asked on why Dr Lungu had been dismissed, Chellah responded: "the President has not advanced any reasons, the same way people are appointed, they can be disappointed."

Meanwhile, President Sata has expressed confidence that the Link Zambia 8000 project would work with Chiwala as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Works and Supply.

"Mr Chiwala, I think now the Link Zambia 8000 project is going to work because instead of supervising the small sector, you will be supervising the entire sector. So you have to work," said President Sata. He said the government would continue to centre its efforts on growing the economy faster and creating jobs. He said the government would also focus on implementing more labour-absorbing projects such as the Lusaka 400 kilometres L400 which involves rehabilitation and construction or upgrading of selected Lusaka urban roads.

President Sata added: "The L400 project includes improvement of various roads in various residential, light industrial and industrial areas of Lusaka City such as Kabanana, Chalala, Kamwala South, Chilenje South,Avondale, Kabwata Site and Service, Chazanga, Kamanga, Chinika Area, Bauleni, Northmead, Matero, Chawama, Lilanda, Chilulu, Ng'ombe, Kaunda Square, Kalingalinga and Mtendere among others."

Transport minister Yamfwa Mukanga is this Friday scheduled to launch the L400 project. President Sata said the project would cost US$348.8 million and was expected to create at least 1,000 jobs during the construction period.

"To date over 316,089 jobs have been created directly and indirectly through the effective implementation of policy, programmes and project activities under the PF government between October, 2011 and July 2013," he said.

President Sata expressed his government's commitment will to foster job creation and maximise the creation of jobs in line with the PF manifesto.

And Chiwala said he was grateful to President Sata for having accorded him an opportunity to serve as permanent secretary in what he termed as a very important ministry that was mandated with infrastructure development. He said he, together with other senior management officials at the ministry, were hoping to shape and guide the policy and strategic direction of the country.

"We are looking at the entire sector of transport, works supply and communication, which is pivotal in transforming Zambia into a hub for the region. My commitment is to work with the team that is already there and really reshape our policy direction as a nation through what I will contribute," Chiwala said.

Asked about the successful developments that he could point at during the time he served as Road Development Agency chief executive officer, Chiwala said the Link Zambia 8,000 project was well known now in the country.

"We have procured in excess of 1,000 kilometres, Kazungula bridge project is coming, the Chingola-Kitwe dual carriageway is under construction. The design for the Lusaka-Kapiri Mposhi dual carriageway is underway. Those are some of the things we were able to contribute for the short time I was there," Chiwala said.

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