In an interview with News Diggers, Fr Chikoya wondered why the government always concealed public interest matters until somebody exposed the wrong.
“Remember the story of Nebuchadnezzar in the Bible? He said who is there like me? And then he was made to chew the grass and he was humbled. So, its important to humble yourselves before God humbles you. I am seeing that writing on the wall for the leader of our nation here saying Your leadership has been tested and you have been found wanting! Anything is possible. I would say in terms of corruption, a lot needs to be done. There are serious areas of concern. It is not a secret because including the President himself he has been on record having threatened that he will fire corrupt elements in his government, so that is an acknowledgement that there is a talent. So, it’s an area of serious concern and that needs to be addressed,” Fr Chikoya said.
“I think the problem with our leaders is that they think they own Zambia. You know when people think they own Zambia, when people lack accountability, that is why you see impunity prevailing. The leadership must not be considered as a right like it is in Zambia. Our leaders especially the one leading this country must not think that they are the ‘alpha and omega.’ We must remember that all of us are accountable to God especially those to whom much is given, more is demanded.”
He said corruption was the evil that was devastating the poor because leaders were abusing their public offices.
“And so, you know the moment we get into these public offices, even our roles as clergy as well, you have actually brought your life on the public domain as well. And whatever you do, whatever you say, how you do things becomes the business of the people unfortunately. So, we call for leadership where strong level of stewardship is exercised, prudent utilization of resources is done and even when development is there. It’s not just a matter of having too many developments going on, it’s a matter of knowing that there is quality,” Fr Chikoya said.
“So, at the end of the day, corruption is an evil that disempowers the people. Corruption is an evil that denies resources to the very vulnerable and at the end of the day, you have unsustainable development and I think that is not the kind of environment we want to see. And so, the allegations, the instances of corruption need strong and firm action and not Public Relations exercises that we have been seeing. These are meant to blindfold people so that they don’t really see what is happening. Because that is what we have seeing in this government so far. They talk about fighting corruption yet there is seemingly rampant corruption. It’s easy to talk about corruption. But we must be seen to be people of integrity and people that have a zero tolerance for such things. Once there is that kind of political will you will see that things will change.”
He wondered why government always waited for someone to expose a wrong before they could start talking about it.
“We have talked about this and we emphasized that those that are custodians or those who are duty bearers, they are not the ultimate, they are not absolute owners. We demand and call for accountable governance. And you know the challenge? Even why certain things are now getting all the attention? It is the secrecy around them. The lack of transparency all these are issues that we highlight and ask that our leaders should be free enough, I mean if you received gifts, why does it take somebody else to leak the material before you come and claim that it was a gift? And so those are areas of concern and as long as we continue with that kind of approach, we will always have speculations around the matters. We urge our leaders if they are things which they know their conscious is clear about, don’t wait until someone reveal the secret. I think one would be right to jump to the conclusion that this government is hiding something,” said Fr Chikoya.