Road contractors have demanded that the Road Development Agency (RDA) should immediately relocate from State House to a more neutral and non-political location so that contractors can freely access it.
National Empowerment Forum (NEF) executive director Edgar Siakachoma has claimed that the locating of RDA offices at State House was meant to benefit those who were believed to be PF politically correct at the expense of the many Zambians with the right to participate in the development of the country.
He said said under the current arrangement; it was difficult for aggrieved citizens or contractors to lodge a complaint against the presidency because the political system placed the president beyond any form of reproach.
Mr Siakachoma said although there had been reports of rampant corruption in RDA, it was not easy for those looking for contracts to criticize and report what was happening at RDA to investigative agencies who enjoyed the protection of the presidency.
Mr Siakachoma told the Daily Nation that his organisation had always been against the moving of RDA offices to State House because of the possibility that contracts would be awarded on the basis of political affiliation.
He said contractors who would be denied contracts on the suspicion that they were politically disinclined would have nowhere to complain and consequently lose out on contracts.
‘We have always advocated that President Sata should consider reversing his decision of moving RDA offices to State House. As you know, State House is not easily accessible and most people when they hear of State House, it is the President that comes to mind and they have no courage to get there.
“We believe that the reason RDA was taken to State House was so that only those deemed to be politically correct should benefit but not every Zambian can be aligned to a ruling political party. In fact even with numerous allegations of corruption, it is difficult to deal with it because RDA is under the president and cannot be taken anywhere in case of a complaint,” Mr Siakachoma said.
He said it was difficult to deny that RDA had been politicised because the President was directly involved in its operations.
Mr Siakachoma said most of the RDA staff was not comfortable that the agency was under direct supervision of President Sata because the Head of State could not be challenged for anything that was going wrong.
But National Association of Medium and Small Scale Contractors (NAMSC) secretary general Danny Simumba said he was comfortable with the relocation of the RDA from the Ministry of Works and Supply to State House.
Mr Simumba said the controversy surrounding the 20 percent sub contracts to Zambian indigenous contractors was currently being resolved by RDA management.
He said although the talks between his association and RDA had been exhausted, he was optimistic that the issue would be resolved so that local contractors benefited from the many contracts that were being awarded to foreigners.
He said RDA had advised them to form a consortium of contractors if they were to be considered for contracts because it was difficult to access State House as fragmented associations.
He said his association through President Sata’s special assistant for economic affairs Paul Siame has been able to enter State House for contracts adding any other Zambian irrespective of political affiliation was free to go to State House and see the President for contracts.