Not too late for Muhanga to correct his illegality – Socialist Party
By NATION REPORTER
IT is not surprising that the High Court has found the Ministry of Tourism wanting for re-advertising a Safari hunting tender after it had cancelled a dully awarded hunting concession to the successful bidders, the Socialist Party (SP) has observed.
And the Socialist Party says it has become difficult for President Hakainde Hichilema to take action against Tourism Minister Rodine Sikumba and his Permanent Secretary because the two were given illegal instructions to cancel the Safari Hunting tender even after the Attorney General Mulilo Kabesha had advised against the cancellation.
Frank Bwalya, the Socialist Party spokesperson said the cancellation of the Safari hunting tender and its re-advertising was illegal and that now that the High Court has pronounced itself over the matter, it was not too late for the Ministry of Tourism to take corrective measures.
Mr Bwalya said while the UPND government was pontificating of adhering to the rule of law, Zambians were in the know that in fact, the new dawn understanding of the rule of law was only ending cadreism in the markets and bus stations.
He stated that the cancellation of the Safari hunting tender was in clear breach of the country’s procurement laws and procedure and that was why the High Court had annulled the re-advertised tender.
Mr Bwalya said the cancellation of the Hunting Concession Agreements (HCAs) by Mr Muhanga had violated the rule of law and that it was pleasing that the courts of law had censured government, stating that it was imperative that the Ministry of Tourism should correct its decision.
“The cancellation of the Safari hunting tender is one among the many cases of breaching the rule of law by the UPND.
What the law dictated was violated by Mr Muhanga and Mr Sikumba which was contrary to the advice of the Attorney General.
The Advice of the Attorney General to President Hichilema was in line with what the law says.
Had Mr Muhanga not cancelled the tender, he would have been helping President Hichilema of upholding the rule of law and such would have contributed to the entrenchment of the culture of respecting the rule of law,” Mr Bwalya said.
And Mr Bwalya has asserted that the legal advice from the Attorney General was ignored because the powers that be had an interest in the Safari hunting business.
Mr Bwalya said the Attorney General was on firm ground when he advised against the cancellation of the tender and it was therefore not surprising that the High Court had reprimanded government over the matter.
“Zambians will remember how former president Michael acted when a similar thing happened. President Sata fired his Minister in similar circumstances and that Minister is now in the UPND government. So President Hichilema will not fire Mr Muhanga or Mr Sikumba on issues where there is commercial interest. The UPND thought the Patriotic Front (PF) was engaged in corruption in the awarding of hunting concessions and so they came and cancelled the tenders so that they could start making money. So the tender was not cancelled to protect public interest,” Mr Bwalya said.