Former minister of Foreign Affairs minister Harry Kalaba has spent the last three days ‘crying’ and insulting judges of the Constitutional Court for ordering him to refund the money he has obtained illegally while he masqueraded as minister.
On Monday, the Constitutional Court ordered Cabinet, deputy and provincial ministers to vacate office forthwith because their continued stay in office was against the spirit of the amended Constitution after the National Assembly was dissolved.
The Court also ordered the ministers to pay back all the salaries, allowances and other emoluments they have drawn from the treasury since May 12, 2016 when Parliament was dissolved.
Of all the close to 70 ministers affected, Kalaba has been hit hardest as he has the biggest amount to refund.
During the period he was illegally holding himself out as minister of Foreign Affairs, Kalaba took numerous trips to different countries using tax payers’ money when he was not entitled to. Among the countries he travelled to on business class is Morocco and Rwanda where he illegally represented Zambia at the African Union Summit. In Morocco he illegally withdrew Zambia’s recognition of Western Sahara. While in these countries, Kalaba stayed in five star hotels, ate expensive meals and took choice wines using the money he was not entitled to. He was also paid per diem and other special allowances.
So when the superior court on matters of the constitution ordered that these monies must be paid back, Kalaba almost fainted. According to one of his family members, Kalaba skipped supper on Monday as he was in no mood for food. Kalaba has even failing to campaign but was heard insulting judges.
Yet, when this matter started, the Watchdog as usual advised these thick headed people to be careful. In fact, we told them that when the time to account comes, president Edgar Lungu will not protect them. True to our predictions, when Lungu heard the ruling, he said he will obey the court order. The truth is that there is nothing for Lungu to obey. The order was directed at the ministers who were obtaining money by false pretence. Lungu’s case is different and may come after he loses elections, which is that, as custodian of the public purse, he allowed and encouraged his friends to loot it. Lungu does not care about anyone except himself and will pretend, even here, that he didn’t know.
As fort he former ministers such as Kalaba, they must pay the money immediately or risk being arrested. The court already ordered and the former ministers do not need to wait for anything else. If they don’t pay, Linda Kasonde will simply go back to court and start contempt of court proceedings.
THE ZAMBIAN OBSERVER, 10 august 2016