Friday, July 19, 2024

‘No intention to sue government over sacking’ ÔÇô Moyo Guma

“I do not think as a politician I have to benefit at the expense of the tax payer. If you sue government and win, it is the public that ultimately pays,” says Tati East Member of Parliament, Samson Moyo Guma, who was fired by President Ian Khama amid a threatened criminal charge.

Guma has remained silent on his ordeal after he was sacked from cabinet after a few months’ stint.

At the time Khama fired Guma way back in December 2008, the president had been informed the erstwhile Assistant Minister of Finance and Development Planning that he was due to be charged with corruption-related offences.

To date, he has not yet been charged and it does not appear that he ever will.

Khama was quoted by a local newspaper last week saying that he regretted firing Guma because he was misled by relevant officials.

“Yes it is true. I did so because I was unfortunately misled by the relevant officials and I do regret the fact that I made that decision based on wrong information. And I have vowed that I will not make such a decision again and cost somebody’ career to be undermined in the same manner as happened, and that what we should do is just to┬á leave it to our courts to decide whether someone is guilty or not. In the rule of law, someone remain (sick) innocent until proven guilty,” president Khama was quoted saying.

In an interview with The Telegraph in the aftermath of the president’s pronouncement, Guma said he knew about what we had read before the 2009 elections, adding that he got the explanation from His Excellency.

“I believed what he told me and I still believe it today. Out of respect for him and his office and believing in what he told me, I do not see any need to take the matter any further from where it is,” said Guma.

He said if the president was somebody else he would not have told me. He, however, quickly cautions that “whatever we do as public officers must be done in the interest of the public”.

This is the underlying reason why Guma is not contemplating suing the government, especially that the president has publicly admitted that he was misled into firing him.

The other reason that Guma says comforts him not to sue the state is that if he ultimately wins, it is the public that would foot the bill because the president made the decision in his official capacity as Head of State.

“You must be able to distinguish errors of judgment and decisions taken in good faith and in this particular case by the president. I do not think he needed to explain anything to me but he did. He had no pressure to make a public announcement. But he did ÔÇôand for that ÔÇô I give him credit,” said Guma.

He said although he does not intend to sue the state, he is nevertheless “angry at the people who misinformed the president and the purpose for which they did”.

“It makes me sad to see him making this kind of an announcement. As a Head of State, the President is a father of the nation and must never be put in a position that compromises his judgment. All those who advise him must put the interest of the nation first,” said the legislator, adding that the president makes decisions in the interest of the nation and that such decisions are assumed to be informed decisions.

Guma explained that data and information on the day to day making on various subjects or issues concerning government resided somewhere else in different government agencies and that those who advise the president must do it in the best interest of the nation.

He says there will be no revenge on his part because God says revenge is His.
“An eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth makes all toothless and blind,” says the maverick MP who adds that he is not bitter with what happened to him on the back of the president’s decision to sack him after the wrong information he was fed.

On the lessons he had learnt from the ordeal, Guma said he is much more informed and stronger and that if he is confronted with a similar situation in the future, it will find him better psychologically equipped because he knows it can happen.

Asked if the incident traumatized him in some way, he answered that trauma was not the right word to use because to him the whole thing was like an ambush as he had hardly been in cabinet for a year.

“It was fast. It happened quickly and I had to take cover before bouncing back,” he said.
On whether he thought there was a political ploy in the whole saga, Guma said he did know if there were any political motives surrounding the issue although he has his own speculations which he has decided to leave to himself and not make public.

On the question of whether the president apologized to him, he answered in the affirmative.
“The president apologized to me. I wasn’t expecting it,” but the agencies that informed him never came to me and informed me of their intended actions.

“I was taken by surprise when the president called me and informed me about it. He categorically told me that there were issues of conflict of interest concerning me before I became MP. He told me about the investigations but he did not tell me that I would be charged,” he said.
Asked if the president’s public pronouncement was a strategy to lure him back to the BDP, Guma said he has made his political position clear that he is serving his last term and in 2014 he would be retiring from active politics.

In the meantime he says he wants to devote his time to development issues in his constituency.

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