Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mwamba got himself retired - Mulongoti
By Moses Kuwema
Thu 31 Oct. 2013, 14:01 CAT

PEOPLE'S Party president Mike Mulongoti says Emmanuel Mwamba got himself retired through his attempts to supplant the Minister of Information.

And The Zambian Watchdog has offered to give Mwamba back his former job as the online publication's correspondent now that he has been with immediate effect retired from the civil service in national interest as permanent secretary at Cabinet Office.

But when contacted for a comment, Mwamba who first sounded surprised, remarked: "Oh! Let me get back to you."

Mwamba, however, never got back and several attempts to reach him proved futile as his mobile phone went unanswered.

According to a statement by the President's special assistant for press and public relations George Chellah, President Michael Sata wished Mwamba success in his future endeavours.

"This is to confirm that with immediate effect, you have been retired in national interest. I wish to thank you most sincerely for the services you rendered to the government during your tenure of office," read President Sata's letter to Mwamba in part.

On Monday, President Sata told Mwamba in his capacity then as former information and broadcasting services permanent secretary not to use the ministry to fight his own political battles.

On the same day, President Sata transferred Mwamba to Cabinet Office as permanent secretary.

Speaking at State House before a Cabinet meeting, President Sata told Mwamba to cease being a civil servant if he wanted to engage in political battles.

"Don't use my ministry to fight your own political battles. Go outside, stand on a platform and we can meet you on the ground. Don't use my government. You are supposed to protect the people," he said.

President Sata further castigated Mwamba for issuing nationwide radio licences to privately-owned Radio Phoenix and Qfm.

Early this month, justice minister Wynter Kabimba wrote to Mwamba telling him that he was prepared to destroy the public media in order to please his paymasters and their cronies.

In a letter to Mwamba dated October 3, Kabimba, who is also PF secretary general, said he would not sit back and allow the destruction of the public media to continue unabated to the detriment of national development.

Vice-President Dr Guy Scott also wondered what Mwamba was doing at the Ministry of Information if he was failing to ensure journalistic standards in the public media.

During the same period, veteran politician Simon Zukas who was serving as a board member on the Zambia Daily Mail board, resigned alleging bad corporate governance practices by Mwamba.

After Mwamba's retirement, the Watchdog immediately posted on its website accessible through Facebook, that they had consistently told Mwamba to take it easy as he could crash.

"We are however, willing to give Mwamba his former job as our correspondent if he is willing," read the posting which was however edited after some time.

And commenting on President Sata's statement to Mwamba that he should not use his government to fight political battles, Mulongoti, a former information minister in the MMD government, said Mwamba was supposed to have been an advisor to his minister and should have never tried to supplant him.

"If a minister is attacked, the civil servant must advise the minister on how to react and provide answers. Now if a civil servant is the one that is on top, what happens is that if he is under attack, the minister cannot defend him because the expert is supposed to be a civil servant," he said.

Mulongoti said in as much as civil servants were expected to be robust in their approach to governance, there was need for them to take a back seat so as to provide information to their ministers at a political level.

He said failure to do so on the part of technocrats usually resulted in what had happened to Mwamba.

"We have nothing against the man. He has got this unlimited impatience on wanting to get things done. But in every circumstance, there are certain precautions you must take because in the process you step on other people's toes and sometimes you can injure yourself because of over-exposure. As a politician we are used to these things; they attack you today, you are in the ditch, tomorrow you rise again but you don't expect a technocrat to go through that. A technocrat must be in the background and only speak when they think maybe they want to correct something, with the permission of the minister. You must not supplant the minister and be the person on top," said Mulongoti.

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