TIZ’s Reuben Lifuka roasts Sata on ‘basic errors’ and procedural improprieties

TIZ PRESS STATEMENT ON IRREGULAR APPOINTMENT OF MR. MUSEBA AS ACC DEPUTY DIRECTOR GENERAL BY PRESIDENT SATA

Transparency International Zambia finds it unfortunate that the PF Government continues to find itself mired in numerous procedural improprieties- the latest one being the appointment and swearing in of Mr. Alexander Museba as Deputy Director-General of the Anti-Corruption Commission. While we recognise that the President has the prerogative to appoint the Deputy Director-General, this should be in accordance with the law and particularly the Anti Corruption Act No. 38 of 2010. Section 12 (3) is categorical on the qualifications of the Deputy Director of the ACC and it states that “A person shall not qualify for appointment as Deputy Director-General unless the person is qualified to be appointed Judge of the High Court.” The import of this provision is simple, for Mr. Museba to qualify to be appointed as Deputy Director-General; he must satisfy the constitutional requirement as provided for in Article 97 of the Republican Constitution which outlines the “Qualifications for Appointment as Supreme Court Judge, Puisne Judge, Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Industrial Relations Court.” In short, Mr. Museba, must first and foremost be a Lawyer, secondly, have served as Advocate of the High Court for at least 10 years and thirdly, qualifies to be considered for appointment as a Judge.

We recognize that Mr. Museba during the Frederick Chiluba Government, served as Commissioner of Police at State House and as far we know, he is not a Lawyer and therefore does not qualify to the position that he was appointed to and sworn in by President Sata.

This error is so basic as it is embarrassing and quite frankly it demonstrates serious problems in the manner that not only President Sata but also Secretary to the Cabinet- Mr. Evans Chibiliti are failing in conducting the necessary due diligence on matters of presidential appointments. We find it hard to believe that the Secretary to the Cabinet failed to notice such a glaring error in the choice made by the President for the position of Deputy Director-General of ACC. We find it even more shocking that the swearing in ceremony did go ahead and no one raised this matter with the President. We also find President Sata culpable because, as Head of State, he has at his disposal- different government agencies including the Intelligence Service which should clear some of his proposed appointees before he proceeds to announce their names publicly.

If in doubt, President Sata could have sought legal guidance from the Attorney General who is the Chief Legal Advisor to Government. Such acts of omission justify the urgent need for the President Sata to appoint a competent Special Assistant for Legal. These procedural improprieties reflect badly on the PF Government, and do erode public confidence in this government. We want to advise President Sata to adhere to the provisions of the law at all times and where in doubt, to seek advice. The President should make himself accessible so that he can be advised, it is becoming apparent that the President has not created the right environment where he can be advised by Public officials. We have seen how the President has ridiculed public servants at different events- this surely is not acceptable and simply breeds a culture of fear. However, for Cabinet Office staff and in particular the Secretary to the Cabinet, we want to advise that as professionals, it is their duty to tell the President the truth, whether this hurts him or not. It is not right for any public servant to keep quiet in the face of such elementary errors and we do not accept that professionals in public service should seek to save their jobs instead of serving the people, and thus allow wrong things to be done in the name of political expediency.

In the light of the above, we strongly recommend that this appointment is reversed immediately and we wish to point out that fighting corruption will not be won through such appointments of political appeasement. The President should only consider capable and suitably qualified persons for such positions. We strongly condemn the continuation of the ‘jobs-for-the boys’ syndrome. It is a pity that the PF Government which campaigned on a platform of professionalizing the public service and the diplomatic service, continues to appoint party functionaries to position of authority.

RUEBEN L. LIFUKA
Chapter President

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