Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) chapter president Rueben Lifuka says his organisation expects increased funding to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in the 2020 national budget so that they can adequately prepare for election related corruption ahead of 2021.

Last Wednesday, ACC chairperson Justice Anderson Zikonda attributed the failure to fight all forms of corruption across the country because the Commission remains poorly funded.

In an interview, Lifuka said that the ACC needed to be given priority because it played a key role in dealing with electoral corruption.

“It is our hope; therefore, that in the 2020 budget, in the national budget, we will apportion a huge amount of money to allow the ACC have presence in a number of districts, but also to allow the ACC to strengthen their own technical capacity in order to discharge their functions. We want to see the ACC that is not only doing investigations, but the ACC that is also doing community education. It is important that the ACC finds presence in the country through community education. So, 2020 provides an opportunity for us to prepare also for 2021 because as we know, the ACC has a key role to play when dealing with election corruption. So, if they do not have the systems in place, the staff in place in 2020, they may not be ready for 2021. So, we will see what the Minister of Finance does, but our appeal is that we should give priority to the ACC,” Lifuka said.

He explained that lack of funding to the ACC had always been a major source of concern.

“The chairperson of the ACC, Judge Zikonda, is definitely right when he says that the ‘ACC is poorly funded’ and this has been a major concern of ours for a number of years that we need to do something about the funding situation of the ACC. The ACC, particularly now when you are talking about austerity measures, needs to be well strengthened in that when you have austerity measures, you have very little money on hand, people will find all manner of ways to make ends meet. But what we have seen over the years is that we increase the national budget, but we do not significantly increase the allocation to the Commission,” said Lifuka.