Since President Edgar Lungu declared last week that corruption in Zambia will never end because there is no effective system to fight the vice, many Zambians have poured their hearts in disappointment.
Our view is that first, the definition of “corruption” seems to be beyond the understanding of President Lungu; and secondly, our Head of State doesn’t know the role he can play as Republican President to end the vice.
But just to remind those who may have forgotten, President Lungu was invited to officiate at the International Anti Corruption Day, at which he had this to say:
“I want it to be known that an allegation of corruption against a minister will not entail that he has to be dropped, no. He has to be investigated first, [then] once he is investigated he should be brought to book…. Amos Chanda has been invited several times by ACC to answer queries and he has answered, he has cooperated with the ACC, which is as it should be. He has been found clean and he has come back to work. If you say ‘Given Lubinda is corrupt, I will not drop him, I will allow you to investigate him and if you find him wanting, you can prosecute him,” said President Lungu.
“But whether ACC takes 20 years, 30 years to investigate because they don’t have resources, I will not go into that… Those who have evidence of corruption should help ACC by giving evidence… I have fired a few. One of them was fired because there was a report that he was suspected to be involved in corruption. And up to now, I am waiting for investigators to investigate this man and bring him to book but they have not done so. Why haven’t they done so? I beg to be told.”
Of course, like every critic has already observed, the President was contradicting himself in a rather comic manner. To some extent, he sounded like that child caught with powdered milk in the mouth but is trying to deny stealing. The more he says he didn’t do it, the more you see exactly what he did.
Now that the Anti Corruption Commission has distanced itself from President Lungu’s revelation that Mr Amos Chanda was probed and cleared, we wonder where it leaves the Head of State. Because now the question is; why was President Lungu speaking on behalf of the ACC?
People want to know; who reported Mr Chanda to ACC and what was the accusation? Since President Lungu seems to have more details on this issue than the ACC, let him tell the rest of the story.
We can see that President Lungu is very proud that after being cleared, Mr Chanda RETURNED to work. God knows where he was returning from because the President says he never suspended him in the first place. Maybe it’s important for the Great Leader of this Great Country to realise that while his spokesperson was returning to work, the ACC boss who was investigating him was sent home. During this period that we are told that Mr Chanda was being investigated, criminal charges were levelled against Irene Lamba. Although the court threw out those charges against her, Lamba was never taken back to ACC; she was sent home while someone else has now been brought in to share the news with the President that Mr Chanda was in fact clean.
If this is what President Lungu’s fight against corruption looks like, then we can say with a sense of conviction that our Head of State’s understanding of corruption is fiercely shallow. He doesn’t understand the difference between fighting corruption and fighting FOR corruption. President Lungu desperately wants ACC to gain credibility by bringing Chishimba Kambwili to book, forgetting that the Roan MP was also accused the same way that Mr Chanda was accused, and could be found to be as ‘clean’ as Mr Chanda.
It seems our President doesn’t understand how he can use his powers to inspire a countrywide fight against corruption. He has ran out of things to say about how corruption can be fought, hence his declaration that no political party will end corruption. Because his system has failed, President Lungu feels no other system will ever work. Now, how is the international community and donor agencies supposed to feel with such a defeated statement from a Head of State?
Anyway, at least, there was a consolation in President Lungu’s speech which made a lot of sense to those who paid attention. It is true what he said that “there are so many wolves in our midst who have put on the cloth of the crusade against corruption, who are championing the fight against corruption daily but they don’t even know what they mean, what they want is to hoodwink people that they are sincere.”
For the reasons given above, it is our opinion that President Lungu is wolf number one when it comes to his commitment towards the fight against corruption. He is the top wolf, who is pretending to detest corruption when in fact; he is the top beneficiary of the vice. Without corruption, he knows he wouldn’t even be President today.
If we are lying, we just need President Lungu to tell the nation how the businessmen who sponsored his candidature in 2015, have been paid back so far.
Let President Lungu turn his eyes towards Heaven and swear to his Creator that none of those individuals and companies were favoured when getting government contracts after he was voted into power.
We don’t need to see him do it, but if he is courageous enough, we challenge him to close his eyes, in his own privacy, and say to his God that he has nothing to repent about when it comes to corruption during his presidency. Let him proclaim with his mouth to the real Father of this nation that he has never ordered, or picked a phone to instruct a Minister or Permanent Secretary, directly or through his advisors, to consider a particular company when awarding a contract.
God being a generous God, we are certain that He will find a way of showing us whether President Lungu is clean in the eyes of the Heaven-based Anti Corruption Commission or he is just as clean as Mr Amos Chanda in the eyes of the Zachariah Phiri-headed ACC in Lusaka.