THE INFLUENCE AND CORRUPTION among STATE House advisers has grown so
much that President Edgar Lungu
felt obliged to persuade civil servants
not to be intimidated. At a senior civil
service appointments ceremony on
3 February, he said that people had been
persuading civil servants to break the
law while claiming to act on his behalf.
He named no names but everyone
knows who he is talking about.
State House advisers have
been dishing out political jobs and
government procurement contracts to
favoured individuals but Lungu clearly
felt that some had gone too far. ‘Don’t
let the name of the President make you
tremble and do wrong things, because
I don’t instruct anyone to do wrong
because I know the law,’ he said.
Political insiders are taking this
with a pinch of salt. Senior intelligence
officers and other security officials are
concerned about the growing power of
State House officials, chiefly Political
Adviser Kaizar Zulu, State House
Spokesperson Amos Chanda and State
House Permanent Secretary Christa
Ursula Kalulu (AC Vol 57 No 15).
Kalulu is currently appearing
before the Lusaka Magistrates Court on
corruption charges allegedly committed
when ex-President Rupiah Banda’s
Movement for Multiparty Democracy
was last in office. The Anti-Corruption
Commission (ACC) has refused to drop
the prosecution despite intense pressure
from State House.
Kalulu has overseen the removal
of over 30 senior police officers and
67 civil servants from State House for
alleged links to the United Party for
National Development or for hailing
from opposition strongholds, such
as the Southern, North-Western and
Western provinces. The police have a
special bodyguard unit at State House.
Insiders fear that these moves
are consistent with a plan by Lungu
supporters to cleanse government of
people with links to the opposition. The
ACC is also investigating how Chanda
and Zulu acquired certain properties
in Lusaka. ACC Director Irene Chongo
Lamba has been resisting political
pressure from State House. She has
upset Chanda with an ACC investigation
into Wayaya, a bar and restaurant
owned by him and his wife in Lusaka’s
up-market Kabulonga Area, where
key presidential appointments and
government contracts are discussed.
Lamba has been summoned
before the Lusaka Magistrate Court
for allegedly abusing her authority by
retaining her shareholding in a law
firm she was part of, Chongo, Manda
and Associates. Lamba denies any
wrongdoing and most believe that the
prosecution is simply aimed at removing
her from the ACC.
The complainant against Lamba
is Robert Chibinga, Manager of Asset
Recovery and Operations at The Post
Newspaper Limited in liquidation.
He is also an ally of Lewis Chisanga
Mosho, whom Lusaka High Court Judge
Sunday Nkonde appointed provisional
liquidator of the paper (AC Vol 57 No
23). The Post was forcibly liquidated as
the last act in Lungu’s long campaign
against it. A hotly disputed claim that it
owed 53 million kwacha (US$5.4 mn.)
in back taxes was taking a long time to
resolve in court and Mosho, we hear,
volunteered to find another legal way to
close it down (AC Vol 57 No 13).
Mosho is also close to both Chanda
and Richard Sakala, proprietor of
the privately owned, pro-Lungu Daily
Nation newspaper. His appointment
as liquidator was heavily criticised
because one required legal step in
the liquidation had not taken place.
Mosho currently leads the operation
to stifle The Mast newspaper, which is
the resurrected Post. Mosho has been
trying to have Mast journalists arrested
for using equipment belonging to The
Post, and thus under the control of the
liquidator, such as laptop computers and
cameras. The Mast is owned by Mutinta
M’membe, wife of Fred M’membe,
Publisher/Editor of The Post.
Mosho has, lawyers say, exceeded his
powers by involving police in a civil
matter. On 15 February, an arrest warrant
was issued against Fred M’membe for
not declaring The Post’s assets to Mosho.
Armed state police raided his home in
Lusaka and, on learning that he had
travelled abroad, arrested his wife
instead, for obstruction.
This continued suppression of the
independent media is being seen as
a concerted effort by the governing
Patriotic Front to neuter any criticism of
Lungu’s campaign for a third presidential
term. Reaction from civil society and
donors to the clampdown on The Mast
has been largely muted, indicating
that the government may succeed in
its manoeuvres to shut down the daily.
Were The Mast to close, that would be
a major boost to Lungu’s campaign for
a third term, for without a critical free
press, it would be nearly impossible to
galvanise public opposition to his bid.