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‘Legislator stresses funds embezzlement in cooperatives needs to be protected by the law'

‘Legislator stresses funds embezzlement in cooperatives needs to be protected by the law'

WHILE debating the budget proposals from the Ministry of Agriculture, Members of Parliament wanted the Cooperatives Societies Act, No. 6 of 2013 to be brought up for review so that it gives the cooperatives registrar, powers to hold accountable, embezzlers of public funds.

This is reported on page two of the Custodian of 20 May in a news item titled ‘MPs: Empower Cooperatives Registrar to punish embezzlers’. One legislator is reported to have said: “The whole law needs an entire review because it provides ‘a’ room for cooperative officers at the ward and district levels, to misuse public funds ‘any how they want’”.

The phrase ‘any how they want’ is a clear importation from Kiswahili ‘wanatumia wanavyotaka’, though it would have been perfect for the writer to stop at ‘misuse of public funds’. The quotation could therefore be slightly shorter: “The whole law needs a thorough review, because it provides room for cooperative officers at the ward and district levels, to misuse public funds”.

Another, apparently irate, legislator is reported to have made a similar observation ‘as’ he stressed that funds embezzlement in cooperatives ‘need’ to be ‘protected’ by law.

Do you protect funds embezzlement by law? This means that swindlers of peoples’ funds would be acting with impunity, since there would be no one to touch them. Remember, ‘embezzlement’ means: ’stealing money that people trust you with to look after, as part of your work’. How then, can stealing be protected, by law? It is more likely than not, that the legislator had ‘prohibited’, or even, ‘strictly prohibited’, instead of, ‘protected’, in mind.

The sentence could be modified to read as follows: “Another, apparently irate, legislator is reported to have made a similar observation ‘when’ he stressed that funds embezzlement in cooperatives ‘needs’ to be ‘strictly prohibited’ by law”. Yet another legislator observed that extension officers were placed under a wrong ministry, in the President’s Office.

This is what he is reported to have proposed: “The cooperative law that also covers duties of extension officers has posed a dilemma ‘of which’ ministry they belong to. I suggest that since their direct role is to serve farmers they have to be ‘swapped’ to the ‘respective’ ministry.” Did the legislator mean that extension officers should be ‘swapped’? Swapped with what? For “to swap” means “to give something to someone in exchange for something else”.

The legislator wanted the extension officers moved to, or placed under, the appropriate (not: ‘respective”) Ministry (i.e., that of Agriculture). Here is the proposed revised version of this part of the report: “The cooperative law that also covers duties of extension officers has posed a dilemma ‘as to which’ ministry they belong.

I suggest that since their direct role is to serve farmers, they be ‘moved’ to the ‘appropriate’ Ministry”. ********** If you were old enough in the 1960s and 1970s, you will recall how we knew the government set up very well: The names of Ministries and the Ministers; the names of Regions and the Regional Commissioners, and so on. All these were at our finger tips.

This does not seem to be the case with the current generation. In any case, this was the impression I got when reading this news item titled: “Katanga wants Kwala Port to start functioning”. The Chief Secretary made a tour of Kwala Dry Port, accompanied by officials from four ministries which the writer identifies as: “Ministry of Works and Transport; Ministry of ‘Land’, Housing and ‘Human Settlement’, ‘President Office’s’ Administration and Local Government ‘Authority’ (PO-RALG) and the Ministry of ‘Industries’ and ‘Commercial’”.

The appropriate names for these ministries are as follows: “Ministry of Works, Transport and Communications; Ministry of ‘Lands’, Housing and ‘Human Settlements Development’; ‘President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG), and the Ministry of ‘Industry and Trade’”.

Thank God, we do not have a Ministry of ‘Commercial (s)’!

lusuggakironde@gmail.com

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Author: LUSUGA KIRONDE

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