President Edgar Lungu annoys me with what he has done to this country, but I don’t think that seeing him in prison will make me feel any better, says Alliance for Community Action (ACA) executive director Laura Miti.

And Miti says it is wrong to blame the poor people for giving the Patriotic Front a vote in exchange for gifts, arguing that the poor have been given no reason to believe that politic can transform their lives.

In an interview, Miti said a court process would divert the focus away from repossessing the stolen property, while the new regime would also start stealing.

“After Lungu’s term in office, Zambians deserve to take back as much as they can from what was stollen. But the reason why I don’t really like the court route and taking these people to prison is because it takes out so much energy and takes too long. We spent some much time on Frederick Chiluba, we spent so much time on Rupiah Banda, but we came out with nothing. These guys have stolen so openly that we can get back actual money. I am pretty sure that we can come up with a proper tribunal. Not ija yabene Mutembo (not a tribunal like that one which removed DPP Mutembo Nchito from office). That tribunal ended up enriching the people behind it,” Miti recalled.

She said it will not be necessary for President Lungu’s immunity to be stripped off.

“Now, I don’t know about the need to strip President Lungu his immunity, I am not very sure about that. The thing is that, for me, President Lungu annoys me with what he has done to this country. But it will not make me feel any better to see him in prison. I just want him out of State House and I also want what he has stolen back. The reason why I want that money back is because we need to use it to improve the lives of the poor. Already we are so indebted to the point that any government that takes over will have a real problem starting from the bottom,” Miti said.

“So we might as well get some cervices from these guys who have stolen. But when you start dragging these people to court, the focus is diverted to that. The reason why we have so much corruption is because we have concentrated so much on taking those who have left government to court, forgetting the ongoing corruption in the new regime. So the new government will have to focus on preventing the people in its own government from stealing. If we prevent theft in government for just one year, you will be shocked what we can raise. And it’s not just the politicians stealing, the civil servants are stealing a whole lot.”

Miti said the tribunal would be tasked to review the lifestyle audit of all the suspect.

“For example, if we say what we want is a lifestyle audit. How can a director end up with a building that is valued at ten million without a bank loan in three years. It is very straight forward. These people are building private clinics, schools; we need to make it clear that tizavipoka (we will repossess). That’s the way to go. All these building they are building, we just have to get back. We might not be able to get everything back, but an example would have been made,” she said.

“If you come to me now and I show you my salary, then you look around me there is no business that I am linked to, but I own a building that is worth a thousand times more than my salary. It means I never used any money that is legally earned. There are laws right now that do now allow that. So we won’t need new laws, we already have the laws in place. So what we need to do is that when these people leave, aba bene Amos bonse nabene Kaizer, the kind of wealth they have; nobody is paid that kind of money. It’s not even what they say as allowances from travels and all that. The kind of money they have made cannot be traced anywhere, so we must take back.”

And Miti said the poor were not to blame for the PF’s continued victory in elections.

“The other things is that, let us stop insulting the poor. When you check on social media today, there is always this blame on the poor that they are the ones who voted like this. We all brought ourselves here. We have given the poor no reason to believe that politics can change their lives. We keep changing governments but they are remaining poor. So what we need first is to regain their trust and teach them how voter apathy is self hurting. I would like the poor to stop looking to God and ignoring everything else because their answer is here. When they understand that they can expect more from the government, they will change,” said Miti.