People’s Alliance for Change (PAC) president Andyford Banda has charged that government has allowed corruption to be an art whereby the dirtiest public officials are most appealing to the appointing authority.

In PAC’s weekly news letter to News Diggers, Banda wondered why any President would want to keep a corrupt minister in Cabinet.

“Corruption is a vice that may be as old and dishonourable as certain professions and as deadly as disease associated with lack of cleanliness such as dysentery, cholera etc. However, there times when it is clear that a Government has allowed corruption to be an art where the dirtiest public officials are most appealing to the appointing authority. Why else would an appointing authority pick someone that is not clean to serve in his cabinet? Why would an appointing authority not want to drop a cabinet minister that is piling on allegations of corruption if not to protect that member from prosecution?” Banda asked.

“How can an appointing authority remain mute when the only people in his country with money are those that have access to ‘deals’ within the ruling party? How can a president keep quiet when irregularities are reported in annual auditor general reports – and as if to stem the flow of such reports, the president fails to appoint not only the auditor general but also his immediate subordinate! How can a president ignore trend reports by the Financial Intelligence Center which clearly show cases of corruption by public officials?”

He noted that the corruption which was indicated in the 2018 Financial Intelligence Center trends report showed that Zambia was not clean with regards to conduct of public officials.

“A clean Zambia will definitely breed health. How can we be clean? The first part of this is cleanliness in how we conduct ourselves. On Friday May 31, 2019, the Financial Intelligence Center released the trends report for 2018. We are not too sure how many Zambians were able to access this report but what kind of cleanliness did it indicate in Zambia? Yes it talks of corruption and the presence of corruption as a sign of a Zambia that is not clean with regard to conduct of public officials,” Banda stated.

“To start with, and here we could be wrong or could have missed it, but to date we have not seen or heard of any action taken against any miscreant of the purported abuse cited (in the FIC report). This includes ‘disappointment’ from the appointing authority for any appointee that has abused his authority. We do hear several ruling party officials parroting the ‘PF is fighting corruption’ tag line,” Banda stated.

And Banda stated that some ministers did not fit into the keep Zambia clean campaign.

“In a house where a maid fails to keep the home clean and a child is afflicted by say dysentery or cholera, corrective action is taken against that maid, with the worst case being dismissal. In a case where the maid is kept and conditions of cleanliness do not change, it is easy to deduce that the employer has similar traits or habits otherwise the two would have clashed! In the case of Zambian ministers that are not fitting in with ‘keep Zambia clean and healthy’ campaign, why do they still have their jobs? Could it be a case of like-mindedness?” he asked.

Meanwhile, Banda stated that the PAC government would deal with corruption regardless of the perpetrator.

“PAC will deal decisively with any corruption regardless of the perpetrator. The saying that ‘a fish rotes from the head’ is metaphorically correct when one looks at what has happened in Zambia. Because we have seen that there is no political will from the top to curb all these corrupt activities. PAC will advocate for the re-establishment of the leadership code. Politicians make a declaration of assets before entering public office but no one ascertains the changes to the ‘wallet’ after public office,” stated Banda.

“PAC will ensure that law enforcement agencies are empowered to pursue and follow the law to the letter. There are sufficient laws in place but they have been applied selectively to deal more with political persecution for opponents and those that fall out of favour with powers that be. PAC will change this trend so that Zambia provide equal and equitable opportunity to all and not just those perceived to be ‘loyal’ to the ruling party.”