Fighting corruption is not an easy undertaking. It requires a lot of commitment because it is risky. Those who truly fight corruption have no personal benefit in it. Fighting corruption means engaging the powerful – politically, financially and otherwise. It is for this reason that all well-meaning Zambians must join the fight against corruption for the sake of the future of our country.
No society can prosper and be efficient, effective and orderly without fighting corruption. Nelson Mandela once observed that: “corruption in government is a plague that must be erased from every regime in every place in the world.” The inefficiency, ineffectiveness and disorderliness that today characterises the Patriotic Front government is hugely due to corruption. If PF government officials were to stop engaging in corruption for just one year, Zambia would save enough money to finance the entire social sector deficit.
Unfortunately, our President is running a government whose activities are designed to deliver the maximum benefits to his family and friends. And this affects almost all areas of government activities in this country. Even the confusion that seems to surround the operations of the Judiciary are partly due to this government’s corrupt way of handling public affairs. The President’s friends and those who are benefiting from his corrupt regime are causing problems in the Judiciary in a bid to try and secure his desired hold on power.
The cosmetic arrests and acquittal of Cabinet Ministers who are close to him has continued to raise many issues that today are working to undermine the standing of the Judiciary. And there are very few people today in this country who are in doubt about how these acquittals are being secured. And very few people in this country are in doubt as to why the Director of Public Prosecutions is not making efforts to appeal against the acquittals of the President’s friends. All those involved in this scheme cannot escape legitimate accusations of corruption.
It is, therefore, a waste of one’s thoughts to think that the National Prosecutions Authority in its current state and under the current leadership is committed to fighting corruption with help from the law enforcement agencies, because without exception, they too, are under compromised leadership. The way our President has come out so strongly to defend his ministers who are accused of committing crimes sends a very strong signal to the world that his spite for graft depends on who is accused.
This is why the Anti Corruption Commission, as it stands today, is not in a position to take on the President and his Ministers. The Commission simply does not have the leadership and the organisational capacity to do so. If anyone in this country is cheating oneself that corruption involving the President and his Ministers can be professionally investigated and prosecuted by the Anti-Corruption Commission, they are living in the wrong country at the wrong time. The Anti-Corruption Commission is there to deal with small people, clerks, secretaries, and a few selected senior officials, who are not in good sanding with the President. This is why we see State House protecting some loyal Ministers while throwing ambitious ones under the bus.
When we hear the President say an arrested minister is innocent until proven guilty by the courts of law, what we hear instead is that the Head of State is simply challenging citizens with the saying that, “Let he who among you has not sinned be the first one to cast a stone. ” But that is not the right principle for running government affairs and we should not allow our country’s leadership standards to be lowered to such levels.
The people who are stealing in this government shouldn’t forget the wise Bemba saying: umulandu tau bola. They are in power today and they can shield or defend each other; they can clear each other of all sorts of crimes. But they won’t be in power forever, they won’t be on top forever. Like we stated the other day, life is like buttocks, one has to go down and pave way for the other to go up in order for the journey to continue.
These matters will be rightly prosecuted; this President will not go scot-free. If anything, those who are today speaking in his defence and doing illegal things in his name will be turned into State witnesses. They should learn from what is happening in other parts of the world. Even the endless hold to power has a limit as to how far it can be sustained. There comes a time when the very system that is supporting you turns against your leadership. Malawi is very near for our people in government to miss the lesson.
We want to encourage those that are fighting corruption in this country not to relent. The professionals who work for compromised government institutions must find other means of contributing to this fight. If it means playing the whistleblower role, they should do just that and they will reap their reward once they achieve a Zambia that is free of a criminally-motivated leadership.
The people who liberated Malawi in the election re-run are the men and women in uniform, the government officials, who refused to sit by and watch while the country was being torn apart. They chose to join hands with the citizens and wrestle the country from the hands of the oppressors.
Here in Zambia, those who are helping in the fight against corruption should not rely on the President and the institutions under his control. There is need to seek new avenues, new ways of uprooting corruption and those who perpetuate it.