opinionBy Peter Adamu
A public office is a revered institution by nature of its importance in safeguarding national interest and serving the general citizenry that finance its existence through the various taxes they pay.
It is a worldwide trend in both the developing and mature democratic states to serve the public with integrity and honesty. In Zambia, people that have occupied public offices are predominantly career civil servants who have a huge breath of experience in understanding the functionality of government machinery through successive governments over a period of time.
This does not preclude the fact that some civil servants have eventually been elevated, through political appointments, to occupy elective positions, which mark an end to any civil service career.
However, the style of the Patriotic Front (PF) governance has created a diversion from the common practice in the manner they have been appointing civil servants and the implementation of their policies.
A case in point is the appointment of Clement Andeleki as Registrar of Societies. When Andeleki was appointed to his position, there were reservations from certain quarters due to his politically inclined mindset that could not guarantee any impartiality in handling public affairs.
Despite these reservations, President Sata and his senior party officials only offered a deaf ear to contrary views that called for the reversal of the decision which aimed at achieving only one objective and not to serve the Zambian people.
During his tenure of office, Andeleki managed the office of the Registrar of Societies like a 'mad dog'. The little power he was entrusted was so overwhelming to restrain himself from running off track.
The major objective was to settle scores with the MMD. Andeleki's primary goal was to consign the MMD to oblivion through his unsuccessful attempts to de-register it, despite being a major opposition party in the country.
The attempt to de-register the MMD was a sustained strategy that encompassed many strategies that were controlled from his office. Andeleki's argument was that the MMD owed government about K500 million through non-remittance of annual statutory obligations and deserved to be de-registered. His argument appeared to be legitimate but the hard-line stance he adopted by threatening to de-register the party raised many eye brows and people started questioning his suitability to manage a public office such as the one he was occupying.
Like someone observed, Andeleki was fully convinced that the MMD was too broke to pay the K500 million and he was hoping this financial position would justify his decision to de-register it.
Unfortunately for him, it was not the case. The decision was widely condemned and it was at this point that his masked character started wearing out slowly. Together with the PF government machinery, Andeleki teamed up with expelled MMD national secretary Major Richard Kachingwe to dislodge party president Dr Nevers Mumba from the party presidency on claims that he was also president of another party, Reformed Party.
This was an orchestrated move that was meant to legitimize a political battle using a public office that Andeleki occupied.
The PF government further tried to use Andeleki to de-register Non Governmental Organisations and churches that were perceived to be sympathetic to the MMD. The ill-intentioned objective forced many churches to pray against Andeleki and he was a common feature on a list of intercessory prayer requests. Some clergy such as Christian Coalition general secretary Reverend John Mwendapole even called for the removal of Andeleki as Registrar of Society as he had become a public menace.
Rev Mwendapole noted that Andeleki started usurping his powers by appointing himself as a moral captain for institutions that had disciplinary procedures for anyone that had erred. His aggressive stance on churches also brought to light the fact that he was a Muslim whose sole intent was to wage a war against Christians in Zambia.
A number of civil society organisations were de-registered like the Zambia National Marketeers (ZANAMA) among others for being perceived as supporters of MMD. After all the failing to deregister the MMD in an attempt to create a one party state that is highly fancied by President Michael Sata, Andeleki has finally resigned.
His resignation was a honourable thing as he has left was a little thread of credibility to hang on as his character was finally unmasked and Zambia's knew that they had - a typical politician for a civil servant.
Like many people have observed, Andeleki is not good for public service because of a highly politicized mentality. Like FODEP executive director MacDonald Chipenzi described him, he is someone who was not good enough for the office of Registrar of Societies because he was more focused on punishing than correcting offenders.
With his decision to apply to contest the Livingstone parliamentary by-election which the PF created after buying off the serving member of parliament, Andeleki seems confident to be adopted and eventually scoop the seat.
However, whether serving as Registrar of Societies or Member of Parliament, his character epitomise the PF slogan, 'don't kubeba'. Andeleki will always remain a double faced character that is a danger to managing a public office and unfit to draw tax payer's money because of his ability to thrive on ulterior motives to achieve self ambitions.