The fire tender probe: Water under the bridge again?

The debate about the fire tender purchase has again revealed the inepitude and and toothlessness of the investigative wings under the current Zambian laws. These wings have no capacity to commence an investigation that is begging to be undertaken On a matter as straightforward as the dubious purchase of the fire engines at such a rediculously exorbitant price.

In an ideal situation, the legislature or parliament is supposed to keep other organs of the state in check on such matters. Unfortunately, Zambia’s parliament is only a rubber stamp of executive decisions. As though this was not enough even the opposition MPs are foolishly quiet over this matter of public interest.

What is ironic is that there are more Opposition MPs now from the largest opposition party yet their impact is negligible.

While there in an inherent weakness in the parts  of government that are supposed to be providing the necessary checks and balances, this pedestrian attitude towards such matters can also be attributed to  inetia by those who wield the instruments of power.  The opposition MPs in this case have no excuse.

Today, many Zambians await to see what will happen to the fire tender probe. It is the responsibility of parliament to continue to consider the careless and unimaginable looting taking place on the purchase of fire engines at such a price. On the other hand, Dictator Edgar Lungu is playing cheap Public Relations by ordering the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to investigate the fire tender deal even when he knows fully well that this investigative wing has no capacity to probe public institutions on a matter in which government is party to. The fact that the Anti-Corruption Commission Act and the Constitution of Zambia amendment no.2 of 2016 has not provided for ratification of commissioners by the National Assembly, upon appointment by the president, as submitted to the Mun’gomba CRC  means that it is another toothless non independent body that is  irrelevant in the current fight against corruption.

Lungu has proudly ordered the ACC to probe the fire tender deal even when he intends to kill the matter himself. It is a known fact that he and his cronies in the cabinet are not oblivious to knowledge of a tender of such magnitude. In fact, it is rumoured they may have been party to it.

Mr. Lungu should know that the gesture to order the ACC to probe the fire tender deal is a pathetic attempt to hoodwink the Zambian people as the body’s autonomy is seriously compromised and questionable.

Additionally, given the fact that we have a useless Zambian Parliament, the fire tender deal probe may as well be a dead matter.

Such matters in Zambia can only be probed when they involve those that have left government or indeed those that have differed with government on specific ideologies.

Zambia needs to strengthen her institutions if the fight against corruption is to yield positive results.

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