Governance activist Brebner Changala says President Edgar Lungu’s failure to take action against ministers and other government officials accused of corruption may cause Zambians to think that he is linked to it.
And Changala says the public exposure of excessive wealth by Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo is proof that President Lungu must have a lot of it stashed elsewhere.
Commenting on the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) 2018 Trends Report, which cited K6.1 billion lost in financial crimes linked to corruption, among others, Changala observed that Zambians would now start concluding that the Head of State was linked to several corrupt transactions if he continued failing to take swift action against those found wanting by investigative wings.
“I must start by thanking the FIC for releasing the 2018 Trends Report despite all the stress that came with the 2017 Report from the ruling party and from the government itself. They stood up and exercised the authority of their mandate to inform the people of Zambia that we are actually living under siege because of these elected criminals! However, I also want to put a clear tone of dissent against the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, who has allowed stealing in his government. And despite all the warning shots coming from the FIC, he has done nothing to correct the situation and if anything, we are getting from bad to worse! The President of the Republic of Zambia by all intents and purposes is now a suspect of this pilferage. He is a suspect in the sense that he cannot act when the country’s economy is going down every day because of stealing. Our economy is now destroyed because of economic sabotage by members of the President’s party, members of his Cabinet and members of his administration at all levels,” Changala said.
“The President has got institutions like the FIC, which help him by giving him reports that are not dented with malice but facts. When the government has no money, how do you explain that one individual, who is politically exposed, can have 49 houses, which are a product of money laundering? It is unacceptable! We, the people of Zambia, must stand up and resolve to make the PF government and Mr Lungu accountable. We must rise and defend our Treasury, which is under serious attack by these unpatriotic gluttons who want to have everything and yet the businessmen who spend sleepless nights planning on how to make money and make their companies grow have little or nothing and their companies are closing when men and women who are in government or politically exposed are having this field day.”
And he wondered how Lusambo could be showing off his wealth publicly when the country’s economy was on its knees.
Lusambo, who is also Kabushi PF member of parliament, donated various assorted items worth millions of kwacha to his constituents in Ndola last Sunday.
“How can you allow Bowman Lusambo to go to the Copperbelt and make such a huge donation when he is not even a businessman, but a politician 365 days of his life? He goes and makes a donation, which means that he has got excess income, but the question is: has Bowman been paying statutory obligations like NAPSA, ZRA taxes, and has he been paying all these other obligations for him to have that surplus money, which he went to flash on the Copperbelt? What Bowman Lusambo has done is to actually expose the administration of Mr Lungu that whereas the people Zambia are struggling to make ends meet, whereas University of Zambia lecturers are not paid and CBU is closed indefinitely on account of money, when civil servants are getting their money late, the politicians have excess money. And if Bowman Lusambo has that excess money, the President of the Republic of Zambia, who is the appointing authority and the supervisor, must have a lot of it somewhere else and it’s totally unacceptable!” Changala said.
Meanwhile, Changala said he wished Zambia had a law that provided for recalling a Head of State who has failed.
“I want to speak to speak to the President directly that we are tired of their lies and their conmen kind of tactics. Hardly 48 hours after they announced austerity measures, the President was doing something in the opposite, carrying a huge delegation to Congo at a huge expense! Who are they fooling? I want to tell the President that we are not stupid! If that’s what he thinks, that the people of Zambia are stupid and he can do whatever he wants to do, he will cry one day because the people of Zambia are not asleep, they are awake. I know he has found strength in the abuse of the police where whoever talks must be visited by the police. But you cannot run the country using the police because there are no shops that exclusively belong to the police and the army. We all go to the same shops and that entails that we all feel the pinch. We have seen what he’s doing and we are losing faith in his governance system. If we were in a country where you can recall the President, President Lungu should have been recalled last year! It’s just that we don’t have the mechanism to make the President of Zambia accountable. Otherwise, President Lungu has lost the mandate to govern this country,” said Changala.