25 October 2017

Zambia: Mulusa Stays Put Amidst Pressure to Resign

Under fire National Planning and Development Minister Lucky Mulusa is staying put despite being asked to exercise the option of resigning by President Edgar Lungu in the aftermath of his fire tender remarks.

Mulusa hit headlines when he was captured likening the 42 fire tenders worth US$42 million to wheelbarrows.

On Friday Vice president Inonge Wina said that Mulusa's case would be dealt with under the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

Mulusa has since met with President Lungu with the Head of State asking the minister of exculpate himself.

President Lungu has asked Mulusa to resign if he does not feel responsible for decisions taken collectively by government.

State House press aide Amos Chanda confirmed that Mulusa and President Lungu had met over the fire tender remark.

"The meeting took place and that matter was discussed, so in the light of what Her Honour the Vice-President said in Parliament, we would not want to make any comments that may be prejudicial to that process if it takes place. The Vice

President said the case will be subjected to the ministerial code of conduct," he said.

"But given what I know about presidential discussions between the President and his ministers, I am now just assuming that was discussed, if a request was made for him to resign, and he did not resign, I can only presume two issues."

Chanda added: "Either he regrets what he said, or the matter was resolved amicably, and therefore it may have ended there. But if it goes to the media, Honourable Mulusa has two options, to stick to his words, which makes his position extremely difficult.

"The burden is on him to do what he was asked to do. All those options are in his hands. He is the one in the video and he discussed with the President. I do not know the terms under which this issue was discussed; whether it was in confidence, whether he was allowed to speak out in public."

The Mulusa case provides a test case on the Ministerial Code of Conduct that has been often sparingly used.

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