By Patson Chilemba
Edgar Lungu is complicit in the corruption, break down of law and maladministration currently going on in Zambia, says former commerce minister Bob Sichinga
And Sichinga said Lusaka Province minister Bowman Lusambo is a reflection of President Lungu himself as he is the one who appointed him and had condoned his conduct.
Speaking with Daily Revelation, Sichinga said President Lungu must take responsibility for Lusambo’s conduct, including some of his over-the-top conduct and threats against people’s democratic freedoms. He said the President was complicit in his ministers wrongdoing, including failing to do anything about corruption, even when he had publicly made it clear that there was corruption in his government.
“Yes the office of the President is a respected office. However, the way people regard it will also depend on the conduct or behavior of the incumbent. So if you have a minister or a district commissioner or a provincial minister in whatever capacity they are behaving, including civil servants for that matter,” Sichinga said. “If they are behaving outside the constitution it simply reflects on the appointer, the President himself and that’s why I made a statement that since this particular occupant of office is a lawyer he will counsel his ministers accordingly. Ministers don’t operate outside the Constitution not even the President.”
Sichinga said there was nowhere in the Constitution where it said that people could not speak on national matters in the same manner the artists Lusambo was threatening were raising issues to do with the proper running of the mining in the country.
“It is a respected office but it does not say people cannot talk to issues if the incumbent himself as I have already said to you is not respecting that particular responsibility. How can anybody else respect it? That’s why I said the conduct of the incumbent, occupant of that particular office matters because people look at him as the embodiment of that government,” Sichinga said.
Sichinga said it was President Lungu’s responsibility to run his office in a respectable manner, and all those operating under him in his government.
“If he does not do that then he is being complicit. In other words according to my information and what I have heard is that he is now advising those people he was appointing and saying that I am aware that there is corruption in government. If he says he is aware it means that there is corruption in his government, (and) it means that he knows, because otherwise how do you make such a statement?” Sichinga said. “Then if he does nothing about it, then he is complicit okay whether he himself is involved in maladministration or dislocation, even if he is not involved the fact that he is condoning it makes him complicit in what is going on. Because it is that office which is supposed to honour and respect the laws of the country. So for me as far as am concerned he has said all these people are stealing…so if he knows that why is he not acting?”
Sichinga said the President was not superior to the other Zambians as portrayed by Lusambo, as all the citizens, including the President, were equal before the Constitution.
“And if we are expecting that everybody will observe the law, the President should observe the law too because he takes an oath of office,” said Sichinga, adding that failure to uphold the oath the President took to uphold constitution meant that he was complicit in wrongdoing. “He is complicit in theft, he’s complicit in illegality, he is complicit in the failure of this particular government. He has condoned it. He has not done what he is supposed to do in terms of complying with the Constitution according to the oath of office which he has taken.”