Editor's Comment

Punish abusers of public vehicles

Government complex.

GOVERNMENT property is among some of the abused items, and the need to stop the practice is more urgent now than before.
We live in a time when Government is putting in place measures to save every coin and channel the funds towards needy areas of development.
In any case, it is always cardinal to be prudent when dealing with resources, especially when they have to do with finances which are meant for the benefit of many people, in this case, the nation.
Government seeks to look after its employees well and provide them with tools they need so that they execute their tasks without any hindrance.
But when these tools are provided, the Government workers are expected to take responsibility and show that they are capable of being entrusted with Government property.
However, what we see around us has become a cause of concern to anyone who is prudent.
Government vehicles, in particular, are the most abused. They are seen on a daily basis in unlikely places, where they would either be parked or they are being used for obvious personal errands.
Some of the vehicles are seen ferrying charcoal, which, certainly, is not meant for any Government institution but destined for a residence.
In some cases, Government vehicles traverse roads with loads of sand or such building materials and heading for private construction sites.
There are also instances when Government vehicles are found parked at bars, with the drivers whiling away their time with colleagues of all sorts.
In all these instances, we know that these Government vehicles are usable because they are maintained and fuelled using Government money.
Such personal errands add to the Government bill of maintaining the vehicles because their wear and tear is multiplied, unlike when they are used only for official duty.
It is in view of such misuse that Government now wants to conduct regular patrols on weekends, public holidays and after working hours to monitor its vehicles and prevent their abuse.
These vehicles are purchased at a great cost and the need to preserve them so that they serve their purpose longer is paramount.
Minister of Works and Supply Felix Mutati has raised concern over the misuse of Government vehicles and we agree with him on taking drastic measures to stop the abuse of its property.
Government vehicles are meant to enhance service delivery to the public and when one employee converts such property to personal use, they are depriving the majority of that service.
These vehicles are also meant for Government programmes and projects, which are adversely affected when the vehicles are converted to personal use.
Government wants to effectively serve its people and we support any measures aimed at stopping the vice and channelling service delivery to the rightful recipients.
We urge Government to put in place control measures such as adherence to log books to indicate destination and the user of a vehicle at any given time.
Last year, then Minister of Works and Supply Matthew Nkhuwa said his ministry had developed a draft comprehensive fleet management policy framework, which would be submitted to cabinet to guide Government institutions on the use of Government vehicles.
A document like this one is key in guiding the use of vehicles and we urge that the policy be quickly put in place to stop the abuse of Government vehicles.
Officers who are found abusing Government vehicles should be dealt with sternly so that others take a warning from the punishment.

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