Saturday, November 02, 2013

'Outsiders fuelling trouble in PF'
By Francis Lungu and Stuart Lisulo
Mon 07 Oct. 2013, 14:01 CAT

INFORMATION and broadcasting services minister Mwansa Kapeya says the confusion and infighting in the PF is being fuelled by enemies of the party. And Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) president Lee Habasonda says there is need for discipline in PF.

Kapeya said on Saturday that the PF was under siege from the enemies of the party but that the political misunderstandings would soon end.

He said the continued confusion in the ruling party was not sensible and that it had the capacity to derail the government's development agenda because it was very difficult to progress in the absence of peace.

"Our competitors and enemies are the ones fuelling this confusion. Outside forces are at play. Mind you, without peace, there is total destruction. Peace and unity are key to meaningful development. It is important for sensible people to live in harmony. What is happening in the PF is so unfortunate, but we will soon come out of this," said Kapeya, who did not categorically name the enemies of the party and the outside forces.

Kapeya said the tribal sentiments being attributed to some top political leaders in both opposition and the ruling party should be condemned because tribalism was the enemy of peace and unity.

"I condemn the agitation for tribalism. No political leader can rule this country on tribal lines. One must command support from all the 10 provinces. Without our togetherness as a country, we cannot do much," he said.

However, Kapeya said there was no single political grouping in Zambia that had no problems, citing opposition MMD and UPND as parties that had their own share of leadership problems.

He said the most important thing was knowing how to resolve conflicts.

"Mind you, even in a home, there are misunderstandings but people should learn to come to terms and move on," said Kapeya.

And Habasonda He said it was strange to see junior officers attacking senior people.

"It is quite strange that you find a senior minister being answered by a junior officer, and I think Mr Sata owes it to the Zambian people to ensure there is the necessary discipline within the party, whereby seniority matters,'' said.

"We don't want PF as our ruling party to be remembered for infighting. We think that if you have to follow principles of democratic governance, transparency and accountability, they could handle the internal conflict within their structures, rather than what we see whereby junior officials in the party are able to argue and respond to senior officials in the party."

Habasonda appealed to President Michael Sata to ensure he creates order in the PF and ensure that the internal wrangles were contained and did not spill to the larger population.

After two years, Zambians did not expect the high mark of the PF to be internal wrangles. Clearly, we think that the President must bring to a stop the internal wrangles that are going on in the country because they make the work of everybody very difficult in the sense that with the suspicions going on in the PF among themselves, you don't expect any transparency, you don't expect proper channels of accountability and, therefore, you don't expect a party that is riddled with conflicts within itself to serve the public that are so expectant, he said.

Recently, some junior party officials have been calling for the removal of secretary general Wynter Kabimba.
And Kabimba said information and broadcasting services permanent secretary Emmanuel Mwamba was prepared to destroy the public media in order to please his paymasters and their cronies.

But Mwamba said Kabimba should have written to his superiors and that he had officially complained of harassment.

In his letter to Mwamba obtained by The Post dated October 3, Kabimba, who is PF secretary general and justice minister, said he would not sit back and allow the destruction of the public media to continue unabated to the detriment of national development.

"I have a duty to protect the majority interest in this country against turncoats whose objective is to serve narrow personal interests of their paymasters. Your insidious activities since you assumed your new position come against the background when members of the public were beginning to show some confidence in the renewed professionalism of the public media under the PF government. This trend is now gradually going in reverse again," read Kabimba's letter to Mwamba.

Kabimba explained that about two weeks ago, he phoned Mwamba to express his concern about one of his pronouncements as was reported in the print media, regarding what Mwamba referred to as the practice by some ministers being accompanied by preferred reporters while on government duty outside Lusaka.

He explained that he advised Mwamba to remain professional in his execution of responsibilities as information permanent secretary.

But Mwamba said Kabimba had been threatening media heads including himself with unspecified action.

And commenting on government's fight against corruption after two years in office, Habasonda said it had been a 'chequered' fight.

"There have been some high and low points in the fight against corruption. Some high points in that we have seen some convictions have been done, but also some cases have been lost. But more saddening is that the President's decree that ministers of government under investigations from ACC must first be cleared with him did go a long way to undermine PF's commitment towards corruption,'' Habasonda said.

He, however, said that TIZ was 'happy' with the renewed energy to pump more money in the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

"If one had to look at the record of the PF, it is a mixed record and we believe PF can still do better in the fight against corruption because one of the things that I think has been seen over the last two years is that many people feel that the fight against corruption has been targeted a little more on political opponents rather than those who actually are within the PF,'' Habasonda said.

And Habasonda called for 'holistic' judicial reforms.

"We believe that the piecemeal reforms, the tribunals that are being done, are just components that lead towards a reformed judiciary. TIZ would love to see a holistic overhaul and approach to the reforms in the Judiciary not only involving judges, magistrates and everybody else so that we have a strategy on which there is a reference point to handle these matters rather than where we only have specific instances. In the spirit of transparency, reforms must be based on broad principles rather than based on individuals," Habasonda said.

He said TIZ was worried with developments concerning the legality of acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda's position as Chief Justice.

"Government must not get into a fight with other stakeholders; they need to redress this matter, do the right thing and put the question of the Chief Justice to rest because she is the custodian of our justice in the country. It is high time the Ministry of Justice, in fact, the President needs to sit down and dialogue with all involved stakeholders and ensure that there is a movement forward regarding the Chief Justice," Habasonda said.

Habasonda further said there was need to reach consensus on whether the Chief Justice stays or leaves office in order to protect the integrity of the Judiciary and give confidence to people to believe in the rule of law.

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