By DELPHINE ZULU -
FINANCE Minister Alexander Chikwanda has said he is clean and will not succumb to malicious calls for him to resign.
Reacting to media slander regarding the claim for payment of US$600 million to mining companies in value-added tax (VAT) from the Government, Mr Chikwanda said he would not labour to exculpate himself on the matter.
The minister said that allegations were unfounded and that people should focus on issues that would help the country develop and not create artificial confusion.
Mr Chikwanda said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that he was hated by some sections of the media because he was a straight-forward individual.
He added that attacks on him were also attacks on President Michael Sata, who appointed him as Finance minister.
“I will not succumb to malicious calls for my resignation and I will not labour to exculpate myself,” Mr Chikwanda said.
“It is an issue of morality, those attacking me are attacking the President. They have to weigh themselves if what they are displaying in the media is worth it other than championing their agenda. It’s all about moral grounds here, let them do the right things.”
Mr Chikwanda said those tarnishing his name in the media were exposing themselves, and an indication that they were fighting him to champion their selfish agenda.
He urged the cartel behind the smear campaign to act morally and desist from their action.
“Some fellow citizens, for reasons best known to themselves, have no moral reference whatever, but almost as long as I have been at the Ministry of Finance, have carried out an insidious slander campaign against me,” Mr Chikwanda said.
He said the last spate of attacks had been over the VAT general administration rule 18, premised on distortion arising from a classified letter which talked about the uncertainty on the VAT rule, a measure which had inadvertently undermined confidence in the economy.
Mr Chikwanda said he desisted from pouring scorn on individuals used by media operatives to indulge in obscenities and falsehoods against him.
The Finance minister said material trappings had never and would not be a thrust in his life.
Mr Chikwanda said this was aimed at not giving legitimacy to insinuations and credibility to the unconstrained enthusiasm to slander other citizens.
“Some media practitioners have unassailable advantages of perpetuating crusades against individuals who are perceived as inconveniences to them, shamefully, at the behest of political allies whose mission may have crash-landed,” Mr Chikwanda said.
“The media is a very potent channel of communication. Those who have the power to manage it need to act in an objective manner but with moral constraint.”