Colleen Zamba snubs Pac
Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) Colleen Zamba Wednesday snubbed the Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of Parliament when she failed to turn up for a meeting at Parliament Building in Lilongwe.
The committee had summoned Zamba to inquire about operations of the civil service, including audit queries, ghost workers and alleged continued tendency by some civil servants of disregarding the laid-down procedures on public expenditure.
The meeting was scheduled to start at 10am but members of the committee waited in vain for the SPC’s arrival.
Pac chairperson Mark Botomani said in an interview Wednesday that Zamba did not communicate to the Speaker of Parliament and the committee on the reasons behind her failure to appear before the committee.
Botomani said the committee will write Speaker Catherine Gotani Hara to invoke the necessary Standing Orders to subpoena Zamba.
“It was very important for us to interface with the head of the civil service. As a matter of fact, the immediate past SPC [Zangazanga Chikhosi] appeared before this committee about three times. So we thought that that tradition would continue with the new SPC. But apparently she is not showing up,” he said.
Botomani added that the meeting’s intention is not just about interfacing with the SPC.
“We do it because it is needful as most of the [ministries, departments and agencies] that we interacted with, especially on audit queries, have been referring most of the issues to the head of the civil service; so we wanted to hear from her,” the Pac chairperson said.
Zamba wasn’t immediately available for a comment Wednesday.
Political commentator George Phiri said the SPC is setting a bad example by ignoring Pac’s summoning.
“Secondly, being the second time, she should have been conscious of subordination. Although she is answerable to the President, Parliament is responsible to the people of Malawi; hence, she should respect the call.
“Thirdly, she shows that in this country she does not respect anyone and that is sad. Since this is the second time, we will see what Parliament is going to do,” Phiri said.
In August last year, Zamba also failed to appear before Pac but delegated her deputy Janet Banda apparently because she had just returned from an international assignment and did not have time to prepare for the meeting.
However, the committee sent back Banda, insisting that they wanted to meet Zamba as head of the civil service.