THE Government must intervene in the leadership intrigues plaguing the corruption prone Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) to serve the best interests of Zambian farmers who have lost the support of the donor community.
Zambia Republican Party (ZRP) President Wright Musoma said the country as a whole had everything to lose if the wrong leadership was allowed to preside over the affairs of the organisation which held tremendous potential to improve the lot of small scale farmers.
He said the Minister of Agriculture Ms. Dora Siliya should take a personal interest to investigate and get to the bottom of the serious leadership quagmire with the aim of stamping out the rot perpetuated by some individuals who were seeking to redeem the former leasdership responsible for the K34 million scandal which led to donors suspending aid to the institution.
According to inside sources the Acting Chief Executive Mrs Ella Chenmbe was ion the verge of being removed to pay way for a proxy leadership, “ The truth is that she is still in her office because the Board insisted that she must remain otherweise she was unilateraly replaced by Mr. Manusimbi who refused to vacate her office when she returned from leave.”
Mr. Musoma said the developments at ZNFU had tarnished the image of the country, adding that the only way the country could win back the faith of donors who had recommended the removal of some members of the board who were accomplices to the fraud was by ensuring that all of them did not find their way back unto the board.
He said the inertia by the Ministry of Agriculture to take punitive measures to restore the image of the ZNFU was not only a drawback to the agriculture sector but hindered the poor farmers who were at the helm of the sector.
He said the failure by the ministry to act had left most donor countries wondering whether Zambia’s stance on zero tolerance to corruption was real or was just rhetoric and abstract, adding that the coming back of Dave Gordon as corporate chairperson and the impending re-election of Ashok Oza as chairperson for the agri-business chamber this Thursday have left a lot of questions unanswered.
He noted that if the situation remained unaddressed, Richard Lisimba will be elected as president of the union at the elective congress slated for 27th October 2016 and that Coillard Hamusimbi would then replace his cousin, Mr. Ndambo, according to the plan but warned that the coming of the trio will announce the collapse of the organisation as some officers had warned.
“The Ministry of Agriculture should have a heart for the poor farmers who were supposed to be beneficiaries of the millions of Kwacha which were allegedly plundered at ZNFU. Honestly, how will the ministry convince donors to fund ZNFU when the same people who were linked to the fraud have ganged up and are coming back against the directive by donors to remove them from the board? Where has our fight against corruption gone to?
“Wrong things are happening in our midst yet we seem to be content. Where have you seen a situation where one has been found wanting in his discharge of duty and while he is still facing court cases, his cousin takes over his position?