Justice Minister Given Lubinda says President Edgar Lungu is also disappointed with the failure by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) to prosecute politicians.
And Transparency International Zambia president Rueben Lifuka says the ACC must not be used as a tool to settle political scores.
Speaking during the launch of the Anti-Corruption Study in Southern Africa yesterday, Lubinda said President Lungu had made it clear that there would be no sacred cows in the fight against corruption.
“One of the challenges that the Anti Corruption Commission is facing is the unfortunate perception that they get instruction from the executive on who to prosecute. This perception has raised serious concerns on the part of the executive. For instance, His Excellency the President has generally taken exception of the failure by the anti corruption bodies to prosecute cases involving politically inclined people. The President has indicated that the culture of waiting for the executive to instruct on who to pursue must never be entertained. The President has publicly indicated and I quote, ‘I will not use the Anti-Corruption Commission to fire anyone but I expect them to operate efficiently and fairly’,” said Lubinda.
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Lifuka said a compromised Anti-Corruption Commission would only lead to a compromised fight against the scourge.
“We want to see an end to this trend of ACC only becoming active in investigating when people are fired from government positions. The ACC should not be used as a tool to settle political scores. We want to see an ACC which does its work without any undue influence. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, a compromised anti corruption body simply leads to a compromised fight against corruption. The people lose trust in the whole process and corruption continues to thrive,” Lifuka said.
He also observed that the PF was not doing much to fight corruption despite riding on that promise whilst still in opposition.
“We can all agree that Zambia faces a monumental problem, corruption. We cannot sit here and deceive ourselves that corruption is not real in this country. We are glad as TIZ that President Edgar Lungu a couple of months ago highlighted the seriousness of the problem when he indicated that there was too much corruption in this country including in his Cabinet. Several reports such as the TI corruption perception index and our own locally driven bribery perception index all underscore the seriousness of the problem. Corruption erodes people’s sense of equity and their belief in government. It undermines trust in government, business and society and it sustains both poverty and inequality,” said Lifuka.
“We are gathered here today because despite the problem at hand, we do not seem to be taken the required action that is needed. In this country, we place a premium on making political pronouncements and in the fight against corruption. We have not invested enough in tackling the problem and tackling the problem. The Patriotic Front came into government on the back of a strong anti corruption campaign. We were therefore expectant as civil society that we would make a lot of progress but honorable minister, I don’t think we are moving at the pace that we all expected. Some of us spent a number of years under the MMD government highlighting corruption that was prevalent at the time and when the PF came into power, we expected much more. Today, we hear comments from senior government officials that still suggest that the ascendance to power of a political party is a license for supporters of that party to reap the benefits through award of contracts.”
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