United Party for National Development deputy secretary general Patrick Mcheleka says Zambia has lost the fight against corruption because of lack of political will at the Presidency level.
And Mcheleka says President Edgar Lungu has reduced the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Drug Enfrocement Commission to an extension of the Patriotic Front.
On Friday, President Lungu asked those with issues with the fight against corruption to come forward and offer solutions.
“We all have a moral duty and obligation to fight corruption in order to achieve accelerated and all-inclusive development. In this respect Mr Speaker, I implore members of parliament and all those who have issues with our fight against corruption to come forth and give us ways and means of how we can improve this fight,” said President Lungu.
But reacting to the President’s remarks in an interview, Mcheleka charged that President Lungu was encouraging corruption.
“The issue of fighting corruption has been lost. That fight has been lost. And we have lost that fight against corruption because of lack of political will at the level of the presidency. President Lungu as an individual has demonstrated that he can’t fight corruption, in any case, he is encouraging corruption. He is encouraging corruption because corruption as you and I can see is right at the door of the presidency. The issues of corruption, each day that comes, whenever you open any newspaper, whenever you read social media, whenever you watch Television whether its state Television ZNBC, whether its private television, we are hearing about corruption in State House. Just today, I’m sure you have read about the issues of mukula in China and the pack of lies starts with President Lungu. His own people have been mentioned on serious cases of corruption. What has he said, he has said that we must give him evidence. What evidence does he want Zambians to give him? When whistle blowers are now the ones who are being persecuted for reporting corruption particularly on involving those in State House,” Mucheleka said.
“So how then can President Lungu go to Parliament, trying to hoodwink the Zambian people pretending that he is talking about values and principles of the country when there is no integrity whatsoever in state house with regards to the fight against corruption. And if we are talking about evidence, you know the perception is so critical about how Lungu has diluted the fight against corruption; just look at all these international report’s coming out. Zambia is today ranked as the 6th most corrupted country in Africa. And the President is aware, he has access to these reports.”
Mucheleka observed that the state was using corruption allegations to fight Roan PF member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili because he was a threat to President Lungu.
“Corruption is worsening under the watch of President Lungu himself. And you know where you have even whistle blowers persecuted for fighting corruption, the whistle blowers are the ones who are being persecuted. We are not going to be hoodwinked by what they are doing to Kambwili. President Lungu himself said a lot of his ministers were corrupt, we have not seen any single minister being brought to book by the ACC, except Kamwbili who is being persecuted because he is no longer in government. And the reason why they are following Kambwili is because Kambwili now, is a threat to Lungu’s hold to power. It’s because of his threats to Lungu’s hold to power that is why we are today seeing Kambwili being persecuted. Would that be the fight against corruption? No! Kambwili is being followed because he is a threat to Lungu. If we are talking about corruption fight, we want President Lungu to tell us who those ministers are who are corrupt, because he, himself said so,” he said.
And Mcheleka said President Lungu had reduced the ACC and DEC to extensions of the PF.
“And why are they not being followed by ACC. And we are aware that ACC in its current form DEC under the watch of President Lungu have been reduced to an extension of the PF. And they have no capacity whatsoever to follow up issues of corruption because President Lungu has not given them, he has taken away their authority. They are poorly funded, now they are operating as PF cadres, following up Lungu’s perceived political opponents, that’s not how you fight corruption, you don’t fight corruption like that. You know and Lungu himself must tell us if he is not corrupt, if he himself is not corrupt,” he said.
Mucheleka also charged that everything President Lungu did smelt corruption.
“Can he for once tell us where PF is getting the money which they are using to distribute branded bicycles, motor vehicles because we have already seen ECL 2021, they are distributing vehicles everywhere, books, everything. Where are they getting the money from if those are not proceeds of corruption? Because we have never known PF to have any business which they are running. So Lungu must not hoodwink Zambian people that he is fighting corruption, he can’t fight corruption. If anything, he is averting corruption himself. They have even taken corruption in the Electoral Commission of Zambia. There is corruption everywhere. Everything that Lungu touches smells of corruption. Everything they do, for them it’s about corruption. There is corruption in the morning, corruption in the afternoon corruption in the evening. They actually eat, talk corruption, that is all they know,” said Mucheleka.