Government inertia in dealing with critical issues of gross malfeasances, irregularities and graft is worrying because it eventually leads to ugly situations with the potential of spiraling into major crisis.

A good example is the recent fuel crisis in Lusaka.

At the heart of this complaint has been the perceived Government preference of awarding contracts for fuel transportation to foreign companies rather than local Zambian entrepreneurs.

This has been an issue over which the Government has been engaged and promises have been made to change the situation by giving indigenous business men the opportunity to transport fuel from the ports to Zambia.

This of course has not happened giving rise to the crisis that has not only affected motorists but has the potential of impacting the economy at large if allowed to proliferate.

On the other hand we have our running textbook controversy to which Government seems to have paid no heed at all as if the corruption exposed does not deserve attention and remedial measures.

We are even surprised, but perhaps can understand why none of the local publishers has gone to court to challenge this corrupt and fraudulent award of 10 million dollars to a Ugandan company for books that can be published locally.

Again it is the silence and apparent insularity of the governance system that should arrest and stop these violations that is most worrying.

Yesterday we exposed a story of the abuse of K34 billion (old currency) of donor funds by management of Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU).

Our expectation was that Government would have shown a modicum of interest by undertaking to examine tax fraud, theft of funds and blatant abuse of authority and yet the best that we could get from the parent ministry- Agriculture was that ZNFU was an independent organization capable of dealing with its own problems.

This conduct we found most unhelpful because the funds accruing to ZNFU come from governments in Sweden and Finland who expect accountability at all levels and in this case the expectation would be for a little more enthusiasim from Government to investigate and root out the rot.

We even approached other related ministries but again their reaction was one of maintaining distance.

This approach, this insularity and indeed this lackadaisical approach to graft and corruption is very dangerous because it displays wrongly or rightly an accommodating attitude to wrongdoing.

It is our hope that under the new nomenclature of public protector, the office of the Investigator General would become more proactive to defend public interest in matters that deal with public issues and concerns.

At the moment our governance institutions are plagued with institutional inertia and will not move unless the issues are political and yet there is more to governance than politics.

Categorized | Editorial

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