CORNELIUS Mweetwa has charged that governance in Zambia has crumbled under the Patriotic Front ‘kangaroo administration’ with ruling by emotions and caprices. And Mweetwa, who is Choma Central UPND member of parliament has challenged President Edgar Lungu to tell the public which law he is relying on in taking someone to go and be deputy director general at the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), without that person taking an oath of office.
Meanwhile, Mweetwa says the PF government has a scheme to use Tonga and Lozi-speaking government officials to “handle” UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and the opposition party’s Lusaka Province chairman Obvious Mwaliteta. In an interview, Mweetwa, a UPND deputy spokesperson, said he was still consulting over whether to report infrastructure minister Ronald Chitotela to police for threatening him with death.
He said personally he did not think it was necessary to report Chitotela because it would be an act in futility. Last week, Mweetwa stood on a point of order in Parliament, complaining that Chitotela had consistently threatened him with death on account of his parliamentary debates.
First deputy Speaker Catherine Namugala reserved her ruling.
“I will just be wasting my time to go to report to a police service which many citizens view as a PF police. It is a waste of time, it is an act in futility to take such an undertaking because this police has lost credibility in the eyes of the citizens,” Mweetwa said.
“And not just losing credibility; their actions of late point to the fact that they are highly compromised. We no longer have an institution which we can look up to as a vehicle to deliver justice. They are not anywhere near! When there are matters to do with politics, you will see that they are quick to take action on opposition. They are quick to take action against Kalaba in Ndola, they are quick to take action against Kambwili, they are quick but when these colleagues were in government, they would say anything, they would do anything and nothing of any sort would happen. When it is HH, anything small, they are quick to take action. So, that kind of institution of government which has lost credibility is not one where when you are in a situation like this, then you begin to run to the same.”
Mweetwa wondered how people could expect him to report Chitotela under such an arrangement.
“Now we are under a kangaroo administration; this is kangaroo administration. We have people in government ruling by whims and caprices, ruling by emotions, ruling by feelings and not the law, using the law to the detriment of the citizens,” Mweetwa said.
“Instead of defending human rights, we now have ministers threatening to violate the human rights of the citizens they claim to represent [and] instead of defending the life of citizens, you now have ministers threatening to take away the life of citizens. What type of government is this?”
Mweetwa stressed that there was nothing he could get even if he were to report Chitotela to police. He complained that he was being followed ever since he raised a point of order on Chitotela’s threats.
“I am aware that even my phones are no longer safe to communicate [because] there are people who are trying to record me so that they find a fault in me. I am aware that some of my fellow members of parliament have been recorded in conversations relating to me,” Mweetwa said.
“I have been reliably advised to take care because this is the time when schemes can be planted around my life in order to find myself in a situation where I am disgraced publicly just for standing for the truth.”
Mweetwa, however, said he was not worried about what was happening. He noted that governance systems under PF had crumbled because “they have been crashed by a government that is looking for self-preservation when the majority of citizens are suffering.”
“We have now in this country a situation where if you graduate from an institution of learning, the day you are given that certificate is a reminder that from now on you are entering a state of a funeral where you will have no job for years and every little money you have is used to buy a newspaper to look for an advert [but] nothing; no jobs, unless you are connected to PF. No one can employ you,” Mweetwa lamented.
“A lot of our people are suffering, including the majority in PF; we are suffering together [and] only a small clique is enjoying. You can see the luxurious lives they are living; even how they walk sometimes as if they have wings, they are about to take off!”
And Mweetwa, who is African Parliamentary Network Against Corruption (APNAC) chairman, has reminded Zambians on the need to “keep an eye” on the happenings at the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
“We are aware that somebody has been taken there without following the law to go and be an acting deputy director at the Anti-Corruption when such appointments, in terms of Article 92 of the Republican Constitution, have to follow the law. That written law is Act No. three of 2012; the anti-corruption Act which requires that for someone to get that kind of a position, the Commission, through its commissioners, must make such an appointment,” Mweetwa said.
“In the absence of the director general of the Anti-Corruption Commission, who is my personal friend because we were at law school…. I’m aware that he is in South Africa and social media is saying he was poisoned because he is being objective in his approach to tackling corruption issues. I can now say that we would like President Lungu to tell us the law he is relying on in taking someone to go and be deputy director at ACC and give that person [a] three years contract. The law requires that that person should be sworn-in but this person has been working at Anti-Corruption Commission for three weeks now. They are fearing to bring that person in public for swearing-in because they know that they have violated the law. A deputy director of ACC is supposed to take oath but they can’t bring this person to take oath because they know that what they are doing is wrong.”
The lawmaker added that the ACC advertised for the position of ACC deputy director general twice and that four names were shortlisted.
“Two of the shortlisted of the names are people working from within the establishment who have institutional memory. [But] they (the government) are not comfortable with those two names because those people are so professional, so independent,” he explained.
As APNAC president I know that [the] Anti-Corruption Commission, most of it as an institution, their allegiance is to the Constitution of Zambia and not to an individual who is in transit and going out in 2021. We are aware [and] can they tell what us what is happening.”
Meanwhile, Mweetwa has disclosed that the PF government wants to use Tonga and Lozi-speaking people “in senior government machinery to handle HH and Mwaliteta so that you punish those officers and you make it [look like] a normal thing.”
“All those schemes are bare. I’m a messenger of truth and I’m saying we cannot allow a country to slide into slavery. We cannot allow our own brothers and sisters to begin to treat us worse off than colonialists did. Time has come for truth and the earlier our colleagues in PF realise that service to the country does not mean you become bosses…. You should become servants! The moment they realise that a vote means you are a servant…” said Mweetwa.