Full Statement by UPP President Saviour Chishimba.
UPP circulated the evidence on the corruption surrounding the exportation of maize from Zambia to Malawi, but we are appalled by the silence of the government on this matter. We presented our evidence to the governments of Malawi and Zambia.
In the interest of natural justice, we decided to give the PF-MMD Government up to the end of 2016 before seeking a tribunal to probe Hon. Margaret Mwanakatwe, Minister of Commerce and her agriculture counterpart Hon. Dora Siliya. This also includes the submission of the report to the COMESA Competition Commission for action.
We are happy that the Malawian media, Church and Civil Society Organisations including foreign missions accredited to Malawi have since our exposition of the scandal and circulation of evidence never rested to fight for action from government. Their efforts have yielded positive results as reported in the media that President Peter Mutharika of Malawi has appointed a commission of inquiry.
The magnitude of the corruption in this transaction begs for action from President Edgar Lungu himself. He must emulate his Malawian counterpart before UPP takes actions that will be embarrassing to government. It would appear to us that President Edgar Lungu has endorsed corruption as a way of running public affairs.
UPP has warned against the transformation of state house into a centre of corruption and the awarding of public contracts. It’s very difficult for the President to act when his top level friends in government are involved and this is the reason why we continue to appeal for transparency and accountability in the running of government.
The President cannot afford to be the presiding officer of corruption because the country will end up in the mode of “each one for himself/herself and God for us all”. The “it’s our time to eat” (TULILEPO) and “here we are for ourselves” (SANGWAPO) mentalities have become the modus oparandi for running government.
The PF-MMD regime have become too comfortable to see. Taking the people for granted will soon have very serious consequences because there is a limit beyond which people can no longer tolerate mediocrity – we are getting closer to the boiling point.
The DRC maize scandal (smuggling involving senior officials), Microsoft scandal at Cabinet Office, corruption on the digital migration project, the corruption of the Ministry of Youth and Sport, the scandal surrounding the youth empowerment Higar buses project, and the repartition of stolen public resources to foreign offshore accounts are just a tip of an iceberg of the rot in the PF-MMD Government.
The corruption on maize exports is happening at the time that hunger is looming in Zambia due to the outbreak of army worms, delayed supply of inputs to farmers and delayed payments to some farmers for the last farming season.
The exploitation of farmers which has gone on unabated must stop forthwith in Zambia. The huge profits from the exportation of maize show that it’s the corrupt government officials who are benefiting on the sweat and blood of peasant farmers.
UPP shall continue to provide checks and balances because our desire is to make sure that our nation remains on the right track.
The UPP Government will implement agricultural reforms which will make agriculture the base and industry the leader under the policy of “Walking on Two Legs” which shall basically involve accelerating the mechanization of production while growing the industrial sector for job creation and pro-poor economic growth.
God bless Zambia!