Zambian president purges public service

2011-10-06 17:21

Lusaka - In just two weeks in office, Zambia's president has replaced the country's police chief, top anti-corruption official, central bank governor, state utility CEO and scores of lower-ranking public servants.

President Michael Sata portrays many of the changes as part of a campaign against graft in the southern African nation. But some Zambians worry the man they call Mr King Cobra is striking at his political enemies.

"There is so much corruption that this country stinks," Sata, speaking with the bluntness that earned him his nickname, said this week as he swore in Martin Malama as his national police chief.

When Sata replaced Godfrey Kayukwa, director-general of the Anti-Corruption Commission, with Rosewin Wandi, a woman, he said women were less corrupt than men.

In the run-up to elections last month, Kayukwa refused to investigate corruption charges involving the awarding of the ballot paper printing contract to a South African company.

Sata has also brought in anti-corruption fighter Max Nkole as the top civil servant at the Ministry of Home Affairs, which oversees police, prisons and immigration.

Nkole, a respected former policeman who once served as chief of investigations for the UN war crimes tribunal on Rwanda, led the Zambian Task Force on Corruption created by the late President Levy Mwanawasa.

Mwanawasa's successor, Rupiah Banda, dismantled the task force amid speculation he was trying to block high-profile corruption investigations.

Purge

Sata lost three presidential polls before his victory over Banda in September ended two decades of rule by Banda's Movement for Multiparty Democracy party.

Sata's personnel changes since coming to power included the dismissal of 72 district commissioners who were vocal supporters of Banda's party.

Zambians have seen such purges before. When the Movement for Multiparty Democracy ousted Zambia's first President Kenneth Kaunda and his United National Independent Party in 1991, all the chief executives of state-owned companies were forced to retire along with their deputies.

Top army officers also were replaced, as were senior editors at state-owned newspapers.

Father Charles Chilinda, a respected Catholic priest, has called on Sata to exercise restraint and show forgiveness. He said that though the new government has every right to probe corruption allegations, proper procedure should be observed.

"If certain issues to do with corruption have to be followed let them be investigated, but let us not dwell on witch hunts and finger-pointing," Chilinda said.

The Law Association of Zambia also has called on Sata to respect the rule of law, saying in a statement that the rule of law was at the centre of good governance and should be a cornerstone of any credible democratic government.

Along with his staffing decisions, Sata has raised concern by returning Finance Bank Zambia Limited to its owners. The bank was recently sold to First Rand Bank of South Africa after former President Banda questioned its practices and ordered it seized from its shareholders.

Kwacha slips

The tangled case has political implications. Finance Bank chair Rajan Mahtani had sided with those prosecuting the late President Frederick Chiluba for corruption and abuse of office.

Sata fell out with Chiluba in 2001 in a succession struggle within Chiluba's Movement for Multiparty Democracy. Sata left Chiluba's party to form his own Patriotic Front.

Under Banda, Mahtani was briefly jailed on drug charges.

Opposition leader Charles Milupi said Sata should have allowed an investigation to be completed before stepping in.

"We all know that he constituted a commission of inquiry into the sale of Finance Bank to First Rand Bank of South Africa. So why did he have to hand it over to the Mahtani family in a matter of days even before the inquiry was started?" Milupi said.

The central Bank of Zambia said the national currency, the kwacha, slipped as much as 3.8% following Sata's Finance Bank announcement.

Labour leaders and ordinary Zambians, though, had been concerned about the bank's sale to South Africans, saying Finance Bank was an indigenous institution that served rural communities and employed many Zambians.

"Finally the truth has prevailed," Mahtani declared after the reversal of the sale was announced. "I am happy the 1 000 Zambian jobs that would have been lost in this transaction are now saved."

Sata had campaigned as a champion of working-class Zambians.

- SAPA

Read more on:    michael sata  |  rupiah banda  |  zambia  |  southern africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
10 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Fire white civil servants in W Cape - Cosatu

If the ANC wins the Western Cape in the 7 May general election, Cosatu will ask it to fire more than half the white senior civil servants.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Bellville - 12:09 PM
    Road name: Old Paarl Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working correctly at Harrod Drive
  • Thursday Epping - 11:42 AM
    Road name: N7 Vanguard Drive
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bofors Circle
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia Lumia 800

The stunningly social Nokia Lumia 800 features head-turning design, ...

From R2395.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.