Zambian government defends controversial CCTV contract


Uncertainty clouds the awarding of a $210 million government contract to introduce closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras on Zambia’s streets.

The contract was awarded earlier this year under a direct agreement, without an open tender procedure, raising suspicions of corruption and fear that the cost of the project may have been inflated.

The Zambian government has so far refused to name the company that has been awarded the deal. What it has said; however, is that the contract has been awarded to a Chinese company.

The CCTV project is a ministry of home affairs initiative planned to assist with crime prevention, traffic management and general monitoring.

But Zambia’s acting minister of information and broadcasting services Fackson Shamenda has tried to downplay any possible concerns about the controversial contract.
“Government procurement procedures allow single sourcing on certain projects for security reasons,” Shamenda has said.

In April this year, the Zambian government said the installation of cameras along the nation’s roads is intended to become effective once the country’s Roads and Safety Agency (RATSA) has put in place a solid database to identify owners of vehicles.

Under the surveillance system, drivers’ licenses are also expected to be linked to their bank accounts so that those who commit offences are planned to have money debited from them electronically.

The Zambian government said cameras are intended to be placed around city highways in order to check over-speeding and disregard for traffic signals. Curbing criminal activity is also an objective by government with regard to implementing the camera system.