THE Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) has welcomed the arrest of Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) president Dr Evelyn Nguleka and director Ndambo Ndambo by the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC).
CSPR Communications Programmes Coordinator Maxson Nkhoma said in a statement in Chipata yesterday that time has come for ZNFU to be held accountable not only to the donors but also to the people of Zambia and the farming community in specific in whose behalf ZNFU was being funded.
Mr Nkhoma said the farming community suffered untold misery at the hands of the current ZNFU Board and its management as a result of misappropriation of funds which were meant to boost the agriculture sector Zambia.
He said CSPR calls for the resignation of the entire board at ZNFU in the interest of good cooperate governance, accountability and for justice to take its root without any perceived interference from the ZNFU Board or management. “It is regrettable and unfortunate that money meant to support the growth of small of small scale farmers in Zambia went into the pockets of few individuals,” he said.
Mr Nkhoma said it was such kind of behavior which has affected the implementation poverty reduction programmes in Zambia and if left unchecked rural poverty would remain stubbornly very high in Zambia.
He said CSPR welcomes the resignation of Dr Nguleka stating that it was imperative that entire board of the ZNFU resigns in the interest of justice and smooth conclusion of investigations by law enforcement agencies without any perceived intimidation which may cause hindrance of justice as a result of tempering with critical documents and evidence.
“From the conduct of the ZNFU Board since these allegation started, it is very clear in the minds of stakeholders that entire ZNFU board was well aware of the alleged misappropriation of donor funds and could have been involved in the alleged misappropriation of funds this is evidenced by failure to take any action against management even when the evidence of wrong doing was overwhelming,”he said.
He said CSPR was however saddened that ZNFU has found itself in such a situation at a critical time when stakeholders were looking up to them to help provide solutions on how the country can successfully diversify its economy from being a copper dependent to an agricultural based exporting country .
“CSPR wishes to thank and commend the Drug Enforcement Commission for acting our report we logged against the Zambia National Farmers Union early this year,”he said.
Mr Nkhoma appealed to donor agencies to modify their funding mechanisms by putting in place modalities which ensures direct funding to implementing structures such the District Farmers Associations as opposed to giving a lap sum amount of money to institutions which are not directly implementing activities.