Thank you very much for publishing a story on Donors on Social Cash Transfer (SCT) trying to pull out following the diversion of Social Cash Transfer funds meant for the poor by ZAMPOST.
Following your publication, serious meetings are being held to compel ZAMPOST to find money and pay. Donors and treasury are still demanding that ZAMPOST reimburse the funds for them to resume funding to the programme. ZAMPOST has since requested the payment lists from Ministry. Some investigative media houses like MUVI TV also showed the Permanent Secretary Dr. Liya confirming that beneficiaries have gone six (6) months without receiving the transfers and attributed the situation to non-receipt of funds from the treasury. The truth is that the donors and the treasury refused to release the funds because of the diversion of funds by ZAMPOST. The Permanent Secretary (Dr. Liya) should explain why ZAMPOST has failed to pay already released funds for September/October, 2017 by Donors and the treasury early this year? Failure to which, we will send you a letter from ZAMPOST that explains how they diverted the funds.
It should be mentioned that both government and the cooperating partners (Donors) fund this programme; but government wants to pretend as though the programme is fully funded by government alone and that they do not want to bring out current differences between them and the donors concerning the diversion of transfer funds by ZAMPOST to buy vehicles, pay salaries and fund some PF related activities. The donors have since demanded that the funds diverted be paid back and contract with ZAMPOST be cancelled if they are to restore funding to the programme.
In the first place all stakeholders and technocrats advised the MCDSS not to engage ZAMPOST in the payment of transfers. This was after they failed the capacity assessment test. Some of the fears expressed by stakeholders included the following;
1. ZAMPOST is one of the parastatal institutions that are performing poorly. e.g. workers have gone 3 months without receiving the salaries, Post buses have broken down, Swift cash is a failed project. e.t.c. (You cannot expect a cadre to do a miracle in a big institution like ZAMPOST)
2. ZAMPOST is not present in all districts and communities. This has subject beneficiaries who are mostly the aged, disabled to walk long distances.
3. Poor Staffing levels at post offices
4. Security in the rural post offices was poor
5. Being a state institution government can be diverting funds to other areas.
6. The Post Master General who is inclined to PF (Elder brother to Sunday Chanda and was not adopted under the PF ticked but he was reward as MD for ZAMPOST).
True to the fears of stakeholders, these were the things that have started happening during the ZAMPOST payment period.
We are worried that if this mistrust between Donors and ZAMPOST continue, and they (Donors) decide to pull out of the programme the people who will suffer most are the poor. Hence my call to Civil Society, Political parties, media and other interested groups to come in and protect the interest of the poor.
The main problem here is the Hon. Kabanshi, is the most incompetent Minister the Ministry has ever had. She has politicized the Ministry and programmes; she has no regard to the controlling officers and directors. All staff always live in fear with threats of being weeded out and whatever she says should not be objected. She has taken all programmes to her constituency (Lunga), the distribution of procured materials (Boats/Bicycles/vehicles) to districts has a bias towards Lunga district. She thinks she will win popularity from people by riding on Ministerial programmes. For instance, during our meetings, we agreed that districts that have Village Banking, should not have GEWEL programme; but go to Lunga district all these programmes are there. She has stopped officers from writing HH as a abbreviation for Households, she has stopped officers from wearing red clothes, stopped officers from buying private newspapers like The Mast and Diggers. Our rights as workers are gone and we are working in fear and to please her. We thank God for platforms like Zambian Watchdog and other private media were we can air our view.
The Hon. Minister has buried her head in politics and has completely forgotten her key result areas of formulating policies. For instance, the Ministry has been running without a Social welfare Policy, Literacy Policy, strategic plan, NGO Act and has not actualised the Disability and Aging policies. Yet, these does not worry Hon. Kabanshi; she is preoccupied with politics. Amidst hostility measures, Kabanshi has stopped going to districts by road, in most cases she hires a chopper, even simple activities that can be done by the District Commissioners such as handing over of bicycles, she does that. She is preoccupied in making allowances to the extent of days overlapping. e.g. She sometimes gets 40 days’ worth of allowances in one month. I have interacted with people from accounts; that’s the snario.
We appeal to H.E. Edgar C Lungu to drop this Minister and bring in someone who will restore sanity at the Ministry and bring back the lost confidence with the Donors.
We will be having meetings next week I will keep you posted on the deliberations regarding these matters. I shall not allow this incompetent Minister to destroy the programmes. The Permanent secretary, Directors and officers will only work well if this incompetent Minister is removed. I should further remind Hon.Kabanshi that days are numbered; the law will surely follow you one day..e.g. some the former Ministers are in Prison now and others are before court?
Bye for now.