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Zambian govt snubs transparency calls, says no law compels President Hichilema to declare assets annually

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The Chief spokesman for the Zambian government, Cornelius Mweetwa, has countered calls for President Hakainde Hichilema to declare his assets every year, saying there is no law in the country that compels the president to do so.

The calls had come from the US Ambassador to Zambia, Michael Gonzales, who urged Hichilema and Vice President Mutale Nalumango to consider declaring their assets annually until their term in office expired so ass to set an example for all other public servants to emulate.

However, Mweetwa, at a press conference in Lusaka on Tuesday, said Zambia had no law compelling a sitting Head of State to declare his or her assets annually.

Mweetwa said the only law which required a declaration of assets was the Electoral Commission of Zambia during the filing of nominations, though there was no requirement for publication of same.

While addressing the gathering, the government spokesman alleged that the previous government of the Patriotic Front (PF) had removed the clause from the Constitution following a debate on the accumulation of wealth by former President Edgar Lungu university within a year of his presidency.

“You will all recall that the previous government eliminated Article 30 which provided previously that such declaration should be made public,” Mweetwa stated.

Mweetwa also alleged that the PF left the country with a “Constitution full of either lacunas or provisions that are plugging and negating good governance.”

“Talks to amend the Constitution were orchestrated by our colleagues in the opposition and they wanted to u-turn over the same,” he said, but however, expressing shock over the alleged u-turn by the opposition.

Metro

Zambian opposition party LM demands sack of Agric Minister

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One of Zambia’s opposition parties, Leadership Movement (LM), has called for the immediate dismissal of the country’s Minister of Agriculture, Mtolo Phiri, over alleged incompetence and for misleading President Hakainde Hichilema.

LM Secretary-General, Jairos Ngoma, who addressed a press conference in Lusaka,
said Phiri had been lying to Hichilema over the status of the agriculture sector in the face of climate change.

Ngoma alleged that the minister lied to the president, claiming that farming inputs had been distributed on time countrywide when no such items had been distributed.

Ngoma stated that farmers had been sharing fertilizer distributed to them in various parts of the country and that the commodity was not distributed on time as promised.

“Mr. President, you are a farmer and people in Eastern Province who have been sharing fertilizer voted for you in numbers knowing that you understand them as you a farmer yourself,” Ngoma stated.

He went on to accuse the United Capital Fertiliser claiming that the company was exporting the commodity to Botswana instead of distributing it to farmers in line with an agreement it had with government.

He said as a result, farmers have resorted to sharing the fertilizer in “medas” across the country because what was meant for them was being sold.

“This company is a subsidiary of China; it’s taking fertiliser to Botswana, 15,000 metric tonnes and later it is taking it to Dar es Salaam,” he alleged.

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Fuel subsidy removal, a blessing to Nigeria, govt insists

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Despite the excruciating hardship and hunger resulting from the unplanned removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu as well as other policies, the Nigerian government says the decision is a blessing to the country as it has started yielding dividends.

Government mouthpiece, the Minister of information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, who made the assertion while interacting with journalists in Lagos, said that fuel subsidy removal had started delivering dividends as over $30 billion Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), had been attracted into the country so far.

Idris says though the people are feeling the pangs, the ultimate goal is that the country is reaping the benefits of the “bold reforms” carried out by President Tinubu.

“Because of subsidy removal, Nigeria has attracted over $30billion foreign direct investment in various sectors especially in manufacturing, telecommunications, healthcare, oil and gas among others,” the Minister said.

“These investments are already being realized. From the data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, the Nigerian economy had grown by 3.46 per cent in the third quarter of 2023 against 2.4 in the preceding quarter. It was a better performance that was actually anticipated.

“There is something happening in the economy, it is gradual and it takes time before tangible results are seen by all.

“Only those who know how the financial system works will be able to see some of these things already happening. In January this year, the Nigeria stock exchange all share index recorded 100.000 point mark,” he said.

The Minister however, berated the Nigerian media over what he calls unbalanced reports, and challenging journalists to always balance their reportage with the positive things that the government had done in order not to scare potential investors, noting the various interventions by the federal government to cushion the effects of subsidy removal.

“To begin with, the monies that were given to the sub-nationals increased significantly. Governors that were earning less, finding it difficult to pay salaries now have more money at their disposal as a result of fuel subsidy removal.

“We are aware of the N35,000 that Labour has been clamouring for, the emphasis would be that by October 1, the President said he is going to give N25,000 wage award to every worker pending the new wage being negotiated with labour,” he added.

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