Embattled MISA chairperson Kabwe responds

RESPONSE TO INSTRUCTION TO STEP DOWN AS MISA ZAMBIA CHAIRPERSON

When the fraud allegations against me and others concerning K70million meant for a Save the Children Sweden project were put in the public’s domain, I resolved to remain diplomatic in order to iron out the issues within the confines and the best interests of the organisations that were mentioned.
However, it has become apparently clear that some people will stop at nothing until they see my downfall. The latest illegal, unconstitutional demand by the trustees that I step down is one such example. My silence is being taken as a sign of weakness.
It is interesting to note that before 08 00 hours of October [July] 27, 2010 (yesterday), people had known that I had not yet responded to the letter written by the trustees to have me step down.
This means the letter was intentionally leaked to the people and later to the press to finish what they started in February this year.
I must mention that my being at the helm of MISA Zambia has become a challenge because we journalists seem to cherish illegalities and immature conduct by leaking information meant to help us do our work better. And, we can easily be bought.
Briefly, the Save the Children Sweden project was initially supposed to be done by the Media Network on Child Rights and Development (MNCRD).
If you journalists took the challenge of investigating this matter, you should have noted that the letter requesting for K65million, the concept note and the budget were written by the MNCRD (me).
Since the MNCRD and Save the Children have a long standing relationship and there was a project running, funds were used to host a meeting at the Lusaka Hotel, which was supposed to take place before the 20th Anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), November 20, 2009.
Some funds for things like transport refunds were taken from my bank account to ensure that the programme which was planned for took place. About five journalists attended that Child Focus Group Discussion.
However, when Save the Children was auditing the MNCRD, it saw it necessary not to deposit money in the MNCRD’s bank account and opted to use MISA Zambia. The contract between Save the Children Sweden and MISA Zambia was signed in December, 2009.
Since one activity had taken place before the contract was signed in November 2009 and funds were subsequently disbursed, the MNCRD later requested MISA Zambia to refund it for the funds used for the programme held at the Lusaka Hotel.
This is what people have been calling fraud and other sorts of names.
The auditors have noted that the MNCRD’s work on the project signed by MISA Zambia and Save the Children Sweden may show that I influenced MISA Zambia to give the contract to MNCRD.
The simple facts I have highlighted have been ignored every time this issue is discussed.
Note that:
MISA Zambia never wrote a proposal or concept note to Save the Children Sweden; no donor can give money to an entity that has not requested for it.
The letter requesting for K65million sitting at Save the Children Sweden has the MNCRD letterhead.
MISA Zambia was given an additional K5million to do the administration work for the requested for project to make it K70million.
I could not have done anything intentional to take advantage of the funds because I originally wrote the concept note for a budget of K65million to Save the Children Sweden.
The National Governing Council (NGC) dealt with this matter in February this year.
It is tempting for any evil minded person to use this situation to tarnish the image of a person.
There are laid down procedures in the MISA Zambia Constitution which members must follow to remove the chairperson of the organisation. The chairperson is not removed through a press statement.
Way forward:
I have instructed my lawyer to take necessary action.
I will not be part of the meeting called by trustees this Friday since the letter was served with instructions that a statement be done to announce my removal and that is what happened. My image has already been gravely tarnished.
I have decided not to attend this meeting because the procedure under which this meeting has been called is meant to rectify the mistake made by the trustees to convince the NGC to remove me.
Despite misbehavior by some media institutions, I will always believe in self-regulation of the media in Zambia.
Last, I would like to thank people that have been praying, encouraging and assuring me.
I appeal to all MISA Zambia members to remain calm and ensure that the organisation remains vibrant.

Henry Kabwe
CHAIRPERSON?
MISA Zambia

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