Zambia’s Fiscal Dilemma, State Compensation Ethics and Treasury Stability

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By Misheck Kakonde

The recent judgments overseen by the Attorney General in compensating individuals like Hon. Mwaliteta, Hon. Frank Tayali, Mr. William Banda, and the late Mapenzi a case that should be treated separately raise pertinent concerns. These compensations, while important to acknowledge, have led to substantial payouts from the state treasury, prompting a critical evaluation of their judiciousness.
It is essential to recognize that these compensations do not originate from personal accounts, be it President Hakainde Hichilema’s savings or those of the Attorney General and associated lawyers. They derive from public funds, necessitating prudent management to safeguard the state’s financial health. President Hichilema’s prior observation regarding the nation’s empty coffers adds weight to the significance of responsible fiscal governance.

The present scenario demands intervention from the President to prevent an unchecked depletion of the state treasury. While acknowledging the importance of compensations, there’s a call for the Attorney General to negotiate more reasonable amounts in these consent judgments. The substantial sums being awarded arguably exceeding what’s reasonable ought to be revised downwards, ideally to around K200,000 or lower. Unless in the loss of less of mapenzi, Vespers and many more, their life has no amount to be attached and it is hard even for me to attach a price, may their souls continue resting in peace and those involved are investigated and prosecuted. Such a move would prevent the disproportionate drain of state funds due to payments to a select few individuals.

The Attorney General holds the crucial responsibility of representing Zambian interests and should not succumb to undue pressure from a minority seeking exorbitant compensations. Their role necessitates negotiations for fair consent agreements that safeguard the nation’s fiscal stability.
However, within the confines of consent judgments, wherein both parties cannot appeal, the flexibility for direct alteration is limited. Yet, there exists a possibility for future generations to revisit these decisions through legal means, reassessing their impact on the Zambian treasury. Therefore, the Attorney general and President Hichilema should appreciate this truth.

This situation emphasizes the need for checks and balances to ensure the judicious use of state funds. The Attorney General’s role should extend beyond mere legal representation, incorporating a broader responsibility of safeguarding the nation’s financial interests. President Hichilema’s intervention can steer a course correction, addressing the trend of excessively high compensations that strain the state treasury.
Ultimately, this scenario underscores the delicate balance between honoring just compensations and ensuring responsible fiscal management a balance that requires prudent negotiation and oversight to protect the interests of all Zambians.

The author is a legal scholar, comparative politics specialist, History and Cultural Studies, expertise in international relations, negotiation, and protocol (ZIDIS). Author of the book “peering into Zambian Cultures, Ceremonies” and contributor in the book “Young Zambia between poverty and abundant resources”. Email: misheckkakonde@gmail.com

2 COMMENTS

  1. You are a presidential material. This has been the position of Zambians who are really patriotic. You don’t need to be in school for this narrative. I guess, it was meant to humiliate PF as the causer BUT it has backfired. Yes, PF under ECL was a govt from hell that is why most Zambian including me voted for UPND candidates at all levels. I am beginning to question the calibre of your leadership. You have slightly over second half of days to make a difference or resign to your dreaded fate.

  2. Many people keep commenting on issues they don’t understand. Compensations for breaching citizens rights are punitive costs on the government for it’s failure to operate within the law. It does not look at the fiscal position or impact on the government. It’s no different from where a person is found guilty by a court of law and charged to pay some huge amount of money. The court will ask someone to pay a certain amount of money based on penalty fees for the particular case. It’s not base on whether you can afford or not. You either pay or go to jail as stipulated. The government is supposed to follow the law when dispensing justice. If the government breaks the law citizens have every right to sue and seek compensation. The state attorney’s office has lawyers or judicial officers that can negotiate and settle these disputes on a win-win basis without unnecessary delays and prolonging the cases thereby escalating the costs. An example, look at the case of Vendetta and Zambia? The case had not gone anywhere and there was no winner between the litigants except for the Lawyers. Stop lying to people there’s nothing being conducted underhanded. It’s all above board and also serving the government money. This is part of the rule of law. The government and Police cannot allowed to act illegally.

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