Why suspend the whistleblowers and not Mwila?

Why suspend the whistleblowers and not Mwila?

THE Patriotic Front has suspended its Kabwe district chairman Mulenga Chela and his secretary Bostin Mpende in connection with the leakage of a recording of Davies Mwila instructing councillors to share plots.

Mwila, during a meeting with party cadres in Kabwe last week, told councillors to share plots among PF members before they could advertise to the public. He also told the PF cadres to take over the running of bus stations and markets like was the case in Lusaka.

Although Mwila attempted to deny his statement following wide public condemnation, including from the Law Association of Zambia, Church organisations and opposition political parties, there was a recording of his address that could not be denied.

And failing to stop this wide public condemnation, State House on Wednesday stated that the running of bus stations and markets was a responsibility of local authorities. If this is the correct position, why punish anyone for revealing Mwila’s iniquitous, wrong utterances? The person who deserves to be suspended for disgracing the Patriotic Front is Mwila and not those two Kabwe party officials they are accusing of having leaked or circulated the video of his meeting.

If the Patriotic Front truly believes that Mwila’s utterances were inappropriate, why suspend those two officials?

There is no doubt that Mwila was advocating corruption, abuse of power and anarchy in the allocation of plots and the running of markets and bus stations. If the Patriotic Front truly believes that the running of markets and bus stations and the allocation of plots belongs to the local government, why suspend those who exposed Mwila’s deviation from this position that State House claims to believe in? The two Kabwe Patriotic Front officials have been suspended for allegedly exposing Mwila’s wrong approach to very serious governance issues. Sharing plots among Patriotic Front leaders is corruption for which those involved deserve to be prosecuted. Allowing Patriotic Front cadres to run markets and bus stops does not only deprive councils of the much-needed revenue but is also another way of corruptly allowing Patriotic Front cadres to share resources that belong to the public. It is clear that in the Patriotic Front, fighting corruption and wrongdoing can be a very costly undertaking and one that is done at one’s own risk.

The day an audit of land allocations by councils controlled by the Patriotic Front will be carried out, many will be found wanting. If there is a change of government, many Patriotic Front leaders and cadres will lose the plots they have acquired corruptly and may end up in jail.

But it is not only the Kabwe officials the Patriotic Front leadership is treating in this way. All whistleblowers, regardless of their political affiliation or lack of it, are treated the same way. They are seen as enemies who must be punished. The news media outlets that expose wrongdoing and corruption in the Patriotic Front are dealt a deadly blow – they are seen as enemies who must be completely annihilated.

It is an entrenched belief in the Patriotic Front that they are in power to eat, to enjoy and enrich themselves. And this is seen in how quickly all the key leaders of the Patriotic Front have become rich in a very short time. In less than a year, Edgar’s own wealth more than doubled. How? What is the source of this wealth? It cannot be from earned income. It is from unearned income. And it is a known fact that unearned income is a prima facie case of abuse of office, corruption. This is why Mwila was telling Patriotic Front cadres to take over the running of bus stops, markets and share plots because they are in power – power in the Patriotic Front is seen as a tool for personal aggrandizement.

As we have stated before, Mwila is not a low-level cadre of the Patriotic Front; he is its chief executive officer. And as such, he is better placed to know and disseminate the party’s policies and political line. Mwila did not just come out from the blues and start talking carelessly like that. He was merely stating his party’s policy and practice when it comes to such issue.

But what Mwila forgot is that this policy and practice, although generally accepted within the party, is not for public consumption. Mwila thought he was talking to his party members who are beneficiaries of such policies and practices and would not disseminate it to the public at large. But as it turned out, some blower blew the whistle. And today, what was supposed to be kept secret is out in the public domain. And it is this whistle blowing that has annoyed the party and not what Mwila said.

This is why it is the whistleblowers who have been suspended and not Mwila who said the wrong things.