The move taken by YALI on the constitution making process is not strange. This was expect right from beginning when YALI joined the grand coalition on the constitution making process because of the character of the people at the helm of the organisation. YALI as an organisation was formed on the premise of; promoting, inculcating and advocating for good governance ethics among the youth, so that the youth could perform their present or future leadership roles with integrity. This principle with which the organisation was formed for, has been lost because of the individuals running the operations of the organisation.
Andrew Ntewewe was not and will never be the right person to manage YALI. Everybody who knows him well, will agree with us that his personality abhors integrity and is in deficient of good morals. We will briefly talk about his NGO career in anti-corruption organisations and the type of leadership he has displayed while serving in various portfolios.
Andrew Ntewewe, a Kamwala Secondary School graduate with a certificate in accounts from Evelyn Hone College came on the scene in 2003 when he was the president of NAYAC (Network of African Youth Against Corruption). The NAYAC initiative or affiliation for Zambia was conceived by his friend Isaac Mwanza (Dog II) who now serves as his Governance Advisor for YALI when he (Isaac) had his organisation called Foundation for Corruption Awareness (FCA) closed after misappropriating of donor funds. Isaac, because of his dented image with the donors and the public, could not take up the position of Executive Director at NAYAC but instead recommended his childhood friend Andrew to take up the presidency while he could control him as board chairman. But Isaac was definitely wrong and this stifled their friendship. NAYAC had activities on anti-corruption awareness in institutions of learning such as high schools and colleges with very good funding from World Bank and other international organisations. The organisation was prematurely closed because of misappropriation of donor funds and failure to achieve program deliverables.
NAYAC did not have a physical office apart from Andrew’s bedroom in Lilanda Site Five (AKA Terrazo) and had no staff employed apart from Andrew’s and Isaac’s wife and siblings. One would want to feel pity and say, ‘this was so because they didn’t have funding.’ The truth is that the organisation had a lot of money from World Bank and other international donors. The money that was misappropriated by Andrew without sharing with Isaac was used for drinking beer in local bars like Pa Chanda, Mama Miti (MM), Aunty Mary’s, Chimutengo, Pa Kawama and Club Zone (on Fridays and Saturdays). Whenever there were activities or travels, these were a preserve of the family members of Andrew and Isaac. Their uneducated wives and siblings traveled to different countries and various places within Zambia for workshops and conferences when they could not comprehend what was being discussed. Whenever Andrew got overwhelmed with work because of his perpetual hangovers, he could engage some inexperienced grade 12 school leavers to help him organize activities whom he could not pay after rendering services such as organizing debates or workshops. As if not paying the school leavers for the services rendered was not enough, NAYAC never had a landline, but used to ask to make calls even international calls from the house of their close family friend in Lilanda Site Five which NAYAC never even contributed to the phone bills and the organisation was later on banned from using the phone. The phone bill is still outstanding from 2006. The involvement of unqualified family members by allocating them positions such as program officer, finance manager is anathema in any CSO especially a “watchdog” civil society organisation. By “watchdog”, in Civil Society classification, we mean an organisation that provides checks and balances to the government and other institutions and are able to “blow the whistle” as it were, to the public, in order for the public to become aware. The activities and corrupt reputation that NAYAC had which led to the subsequent withdrawal of World Bank funding, did not befit a watchdog organisation, worse “a watchdog organisation fighting corruption.” By the way, we referred to Isaac Mwanza in the outset as “Dog II”, because he used to call himself as such and used to customize his number plates on vehicles as “Dog II” because he was a leader in FCA which was a watchdog organisation.
Andrew as a manager of these organisation had and has failed lamentably. He does not have the dignity and integrity to manage an organisation that is aimed at building a society of youths that will stand for what is right because he is not right person himself. When Andrew came on the scene as the head of YALI, it was very baffling to us because we knew his past, but we thought he had repented and could bring about positive changes in people’s lives. I think we were wrong and Guy Scott was right when he said “you cannot teach an old dog new tricks”. This saying has relevant application to Andrew Ntewewe though youthful who has exhibited that he is incapable of changing.
YALI started as a vibrant CSO that was promoting rights, liberties and democracy. It was a voice of the youths and the disadvantaged. The youths associated themselves with this organisation and thought it was one that would bring about “positive dialogue” and a constructive “social intercourse” with our “listening government”, especially on issues of the constitution. The trust that the Zambian youths had in their fellow youth Andrew has been betrayed.
You must also know that the YALI initiative or chapter was not conceived by Andrew. This was also Isaac’s idea just like NAYAC, who worked so hard that the organisation could be formed. He opted not to lead the organisation again because his hands were not clean. The corruption tag from FCA still remained and actually had a bigger impact than the NAYAC corruption. Isaac has been the brainbox in the development of YALI and NAYAC while Andrew has been there to destroy.
YALI as an organisation should not be blamed. The organisation means well and stands on firms principles, but the person at the helm of it is wrong person. He cannot do a “donchi kubeba” on the grand coalition in such a manner. The board of YALI if there is any, needs to look at the relevance of his stay in the organisation as the director seeing that the reputation of their organisation has been tarnished. We feel he is incapable of performing and is inimical to the wellbeing of YALI.
We have briefly talked about Andrew’s character and have given you a dyonko of his personality which should not surprise you when he gong’as the grand collision. He doesn’t qualify for anybody’s trust. Be assured that there is a lot to write about him which we will not do as he is not a nonentity. We will not get into other details on his callous and crooked behavior outside his work and marital life which we are well aware of, but we will leave it here unless he does not show remorse on what he has done. If you want to verify some of this information further, especially in relation to NAYAC and FCA, ask individuals that have been in watchdog CSOs for some time now such as; Goodwell Lungu, Guess Nyirenda, Lee Habasonda etc….