In the case of the orphan 48 houses, we have, sitting before us, a reminder to Zambians as to why the majority of Constitutional Ammendments that Minister Lubinda has proposed are dangerous. They go totally against the changes we would be expected to be making, given our reality.
So, yesterday, members of the public were left scraping their collective jaws from the floor. This was because the Anti-Corruption Commission was reported as announcing that it has, in its possession, 48 houses that must have (corruptly) built themselves because no owner can be found.
This leads us back to the FIC report.
Remember that the FIC has told us that between 2015 and 2018 the Treasury lost almost K12 billion to corruption, money laundering, fraud and straight out theft.
That amount is equal to the eurobond we issued in 2015.
In other words, a whole eurobond has gone into private pockets. Citizens, for their part, have been left strangled with punishing debt repayment resulting in crises such as the closure of CBU, removal of student meal allowances, shortage of medicines in hospitals and delayed/non payment of salaries.
Back to the Constitutional Ammendment Bill 10 of 2019.
Bill 10 proposes to remove Parliamentary oversight over debt contraction. Debt, if the Lubinda Bill passes, will be decided on entirley (and secretely) by Cabinet only.
Remember, this is the very Cabinet that has got us into the current crisis as it ignored the current constitutional requirement to get Parliament support for debt contraction.
Further, Bill 10 proposes that the Bank of Zambia will no longer oversee monetary policy. This function will sit, I guess, with the Ministry of Finance. A simple explanation of that is that the Bank of Zambia will have no say on whether we print money or not. Cabinet will decide that alone.
If Bill 10 passes, the President will no longer need to consult the Civil Service Commission in appointing the Secretary to the Treasury. The ST holds the keys to the Treasury. No money comes out of there without his/her signature.
Finally and very worryingly, Lubinda would like the FIC lose its independence and be a department under the DEC muzzled by intelligence laws. In other words, we won’t have the figures included in this post.
The questions that Zambians should ask themselves about all this are:
1. In a situation in which we have not only over-borrowed but whole loans have disappeared, why would we want to ammend our constitution so that debt contraction is easier for the very Cabinet that has got us into this mess
2. Isn’t it because we have such weak controls on debt contraction and use, as well as accountability generally that individuals can steal such mind boggling amounts as to build 48 houses?? Why are we then weakening controls?
I ask again, what informed the Constitutional Ammendments Minister Lubinda is making? Why would you propose to take down the grill doors on a house that has been broken into multiple times? Shouldn’t you be suggesting that perimeter wall should be heightened and razor wire placed on top of it.
Eh kaya ba
By Laura Miti