By Fanny Kalonda
EVEN if you are blind you are able to see that the call for the Director of Public Prosecutions to resign is a well calculated scheme by UPND to hound out Lillian Siyunyi for reasons that they cannot disclose, Economic Front Party leader Wynter Kabimba has charged.
He says President Hakainde Hichilema, just like former president Edgar Lungu, should be ashamed to be presiding over a government and a political party that is “trying to hound a constitutional office bearer in the manner that they are doing”.
“There is a better way of dealing with this, which was used by Michael Sata who was a great statesman and not this kangaroo method that we are seeing today. He promoted then DPP [Chalwe Mchenga] to the bench and appointed a new DPP, everyone was happy,” Kabimba said.
Featuring on KBN Television’s State of the nation programme on Friday evening, Kabimba said it was normal for any new government to identify people that it could work with.
“You have two officers now. You have the DPP who comes from the previous administration, and for example in this case you have the ACC director general who has been appointed by the current administration. You can see just from that angle that something will not play out properly between the two offices,” he said. “If for example you had the current office bearers appointed by the current government, you would not be in this situation, that I can assure you. Even if you are blind, you are able to see that this is a well calculated scheme to hound out the DPP for reasons that they cannot disclose and pretend that the DPP has done this, and she has done this. I want to tell you something. I don’t know the DPP by person. I have never met her but as a citizen, injustice against another citizen whether I like them or I don’t like them, is injustice. And this is injustice.”
Kabimba added that the fight against corruption should not be dependent on who is appointed by who.
He said it was not true that the country had a non-partisan civil service.
“We need to move away from this myth that we have a non-partisan civil service. That the public service is non-partisan. That the men and women in the public service are not politically and actively inclined to one political party against another. This thing is a myth,” Kabimba said. “The truth of the matter is that almost everyone who is appointed to a senior position in the public service is a member or an active supporter of the political party in power. And so, if we become realistic that this is the situation, the better for the country and the administration in the public service. To continue with the myth that the DEC (Drug Enforcement Commission), I’m giving this as an example, that the DEC director general is not or may not be a supporter of the ruling party, that the Anti-Corruption Commission director general may not be the supporter of the ruling party; that you know, the Inspector General of Police as an example is non-partisan, that you know, the Financial Intelligence Centre woman or man is non-partisan is burying our heads in the sand.”
He said it was normal for any new government to identify people to work with.
“It is normal for any new government to identify people that it can work with. It is normal all over the world. And the people that have done this best are the people in the United States. The ethics don’t change as people are alive to the fact that they are serving the government of the day,” he explained. “So, this myth that has continued to run that the public service in Zambia would be impartial, non-partisan, is just not true. And the result is what we see. Why didn’t the director of the ACC (sic) simply walk over to the office of the DPP and say this is what happened? Why go to the press and say this is our mandate? But she was raising a concern. It would have been more civil for the director of the DEC to write back than go the press to say this is our mandate and start declaring autonomy.”
Kabimba argued that if both officers were appointed by the same authority they would not be arguing publicly.
“If they were appointed by the same appointing authority, this problem would not be there. There is an aspect of partisanship at play. If they (Mary Chirwa and Siyunyi) were both appointed by HH [Hakainde Hichilema] after he came into office, this problem would not be there. All this is politics,” Kabimba said. “And anyone who is going to pretend that this is not politics driven by the UPND senior leadership that this is just an isolated incident may not be truthful.”
He said there was a better way of dealing with the issue than the recent calls by members of the ruling party for the DPP to resign.
He said there was some groundswell where the UPND wanted the DPP to go.
“… HH should be ashamed as President to be presiding over a government and a political party that is trying to hound a constitutional office bearer in the manner that they are doing. There is a better way of dealing with this, which was used by Michael Sata who was a great statesman and not this kangaroo method that we are seeing today. He promoted then DPP to the bench and appointed a new DPP, everyone was happy,” he explained. “That was the most civil way of dealing with the issue. There is this groundswell where the UPND want the DPP to go. Two days ago, there was a statement from the provincial chairman of the UPND for Lusaka [Obvious Mwaliteta] that ‘we shall hound the DPP if she doesn’t vacate office’. I have never heard the President come out even as he preaches the promotion of the rule of law to say that this language is unacceptable, because it does not promote the rule of law. The man is quiet. I have never heard the secretary general of the UPND [Batuke Imenda] condemn that acerbic language, that toxic language from the provincial chairman. Everyone is quiet.”
And Kabimba said former president Edgar Lungu should have also been ashamed for removing then DPP Mutembo Nchito unceremoniously.
Kabimba said he also expected diplomats to criticise current calls for Siyunyi’s removal.
“Just like I said, [Edgar Chagwa Lungu] ECL, should have been ashamed in the manner they hounded Mutembo Nchito out of office. So, this must come to an end. Let us be a civilised society. I have never heard donors that preach human rights, the rule of law, support programmes in the Ministry of Justice, police…I have never heard any ambassador raise a flag that this is not the way of doing things,” said Kabimba. “What is interesting is … from HH, that he is very different from Edgar Lungu; that I find very difficult to stomach because he is not showing any change at all. And when you put forward this argument, what do you get from UPND? You hear things like you never said anything when the PF did this. But HH came and won this election after telling the Zambian people that ‘I am going to stop any iniquities, all the bad things that PF were doing as a political party and as a government’. And because people trusted him that he could stop this culture of vindictiveness, injustice, impunity in breaching the rules of justice, they believed him, the man gets into State House and does exactly the same thing! And carries himself on like he is now the messiah – ‘I am uniting the country’. What country are you uniting? You are doing things the same way that PF was doing them.”