PRESIDENT Sata yesterday proved for the umpteenth time that his detest for corruption is real and that no public official shall be spared as he tries to curb the scourge to advance his development agenda.
The President demonstrated this by sacking two deputy ministers who are being probed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) regarding allegations of misapplication of constituency development funds (CDF) aimed at uplifting the living standards of the people.
Mr Sata said in Lusaka yesterday that deputy minister of Labour and Social Security Ronald Chitotela and his counterpart at Agriculture and Livestock, Rodgers Mwewa, should clear themselves of graft charges.
Mr Chitotela is MP for Pambashe while Mr Mwewa is MP for Mwansabombwe in Luapula Province.
“Anybody who is involved in corruption, we cannot move in the same direction. They should clear themselves with issues surrounding them having engaged in corrupt practices,” Mr Sata said
He said this at State House prior to a scheduled Cabinet meeting and another with the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) members of Parliament (MPs).
Asked on President Sata’s decision, Mr Mwewa said: “No comment”.
Mr Chitotela was unreachable by press time
The ACC recently instituted investigations into Mr Mwewa and Mr Chitotela for alleged misapplication of CDF.
ACC corporate affairs manager Timothy Moono said the commission investigated the two deputy ministers over the purchase of second-hand vehicles using CDF.
This followed Auditor-General Anna Chifungula’s revelation that the two MPs had allegedly misappropriated the funds.
The two responded by reportedly threatening to sue Ms Chifungula.
Meanwhile, several stakeholders have commended President Sata for dismissing the MPs.
Transparency International Zambia president Lee Habasonda said the decision is progressive.
“This is a progressive move by the President and it should work as a wake-up call for ministers who feel that they are above the law,” Mr Habasonda said.
He said President Sata’s action will deter other government officials from corruption.
Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) spokesperson Antonio Mwanza has commended President Sata’s political will and action to curb corruption.
He said such is action that Zambia needs to effectively fight the vice.
African Parliamentarian Network Against Corruption (APNAC) chairperson Cornelius Mweetwa said by firing his own ministers, President Sata has shown that he is committed to the fight against graft.
He also said that the decision will also pave way for fair investigations.
“As APNAC, we welcome the firing of these two parliamentarians, who are actually our members, and this is a wake-up call for every parliamentarian,” he said.
Mr Mweetwa, who is UPND Choma Central MP, said it is “unparliamentarian” to verbally attack the Auditor-General for executing her duties.
And President Sata urged MPs to visit their constituencies and talk to the electorate.
“You go out there and speak to people in your constituencies and use the media to help you do this,” he said.
Mr Sata dismissed assertions that the PF is divided, saying that the party is actually intact.
He said that the PF is enjoying unity, unlike what some sections of society think.
President Sata assured Lupososhi MP Chungu Bwalya that there is no need to worry when there are demonstrations because these are eye-openers.
Mr Sata urged Kabwe Central MP James Kapyanga to help revive the town and make it more attractive than it is now.
He said that Kabwe is a ghost town that needs a lot of developmental projects.
SOURCE: Zambia Daily Mail