THE increased number of cases of theft of subsidized agricultural inputs being reported around Zambia today is very worrying.
The illegal acts are being recorded in all the 10 provinces of Zambia, almost on a daily basis.
We are concerned because these thefts, in most instances, are being perpetrated by the very people who are supposed to be the custodians of the government subsidized inputs or in the forefront in ensuring that these inputs infact reach their intended beneficiaries.
In most of the reported cases, the people implicated or arrested for these thefts are the senior agricultural cooperative officials or agricultural officers who, in some cases, are found to connive with police officers to cover up their illegal activities.
Like rightly observed by the Acting Masaiti district commissioner, Evans Mambwe, “It’s unfortunate that the very people who are supposed to be in the forefront spearheading Government projects are the ones frustrating it.”
Indeed, we find it is an unthinkable act and a sign of serious selfishness for anyone to attempt to frustrate or subvert the farming activities of an entire farming block just over a few Kwachas that they would earn from selling stolen bags of fertilizer or seed.
We consider it a serious case of economic sabotage, which, in our view, if left unchecked, is even capable of throwing communities into poverty, the government into turmoil, and the entire nation into famine.
We welcome therefore the directive by the Home Affairs minister, Steven Kampyongo, to all police commissioners heading provinces, to intervene and bring to book anyone found engaging in these type of illegal activities because their effects on society could be disastrous.
We would also like to encourage the police to act tough on these heartless criminals because their actions show lack of concern for the wellbeing of the rest of the Zambians.
Lastly, we wish to caution people engaged in such illegal activities to immediately halt them because their actions is a serious threat to the lives of over 15 million Zambians.