FORMER Secretary to the Cabinet Dr Sketchley Sacika says Zambia can still re-introduce the Leadership Code if it is serious about curbing rampant corruption in government circles.

And Dr Sacika says the fight against corruption in the country has completely been watered down due to a breakdown in governance institutions like the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), who only target “small fish.”

In an interview, Dr Sacika argued that corruption emerged in Zambia after the MMD government removed some restraints that were imposed on leaders by the leadership code.

“Corruption is an imperfection; it is a cancer that destroys, not only society, but even those that engage in it. However, corruption can be eradicated, if you follow the reports of Transparency International, you will see that there are countries in the world where corruption is virtually non-existent. Zambia can become such a country, too, if we chose to. Dora Siliya’s recent remarks on corruption in Zambia are most unfortunate, especially coming from a person holding a position of leadership and trust in our country. Zambians detest the corruption associated with government and they have the right to talk and complain about it every day if they want to because the government belongs to the people and not to a minister or the President,” Dr Sacika said.

“As far as I know, Dora grew up here and she knows that Zambia was not a corrupt country as it is today. Something has gone wrong in our country today. When comrade KK left government after 27 years of being in power, he only had K17,000 in his bank account and a house in Chinsali. The house KK lives in here in Lusaka was built for him by the State, but his successor stole millions of dollars from the people of Zambia, which he never lived to enjoy. And the poor fellow (former president Fredrick Chiluba) died a very unhappy and miserable person. Stolen money can make you rich, but it can never bring you happiness. When you read the Bible, Jesus says, ‘what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world but suffer the loss of his soul?’ This basically sums up what corruption is all about.”

He said public office was not a gold mine created for those who wanted to get rich.

“Public office, whether President, Minister, PS (Permanent Secretary) should never be a gold mine, which people access in order to make money for themselves. This is not the purpose of public office. If you want to be a rich person, go into business and there you can make as much money as you want to. But you should not do so by holding public office. Corruption in government grew when MMD repealed the Leadership Code. The repeal of the Code provided an opportunity for government officials to engage in corruption on a large-scale. So, the legacy that the people of Zambia received from the MMD was corruption, and that corruption came about because they removed the restraints that were imposed on leaders by the Leadership Code. Looking at what is happening, our country has gone astray. Corruption is everywhere and it is up to our leaders to correct the situation and not to accept defeat as Dora is doing,” he said.

And Dr Sacika observed that the fight against corruption in Zambia had completely been watered down due to a breakdown in governance institutions.

“Zambia can go back to the Leadership Code in order to curb the rampant corruption that is going on in government circles. Zambia can go back to the country it used to be, it is just a matter of will and determination. Corruption comes about because there are opportunities for people to engage in corruption. If you remove those opportunities like we did during comrade Kaunda’s reign as president, there will be no corruption. So, where is the problem? It is the responsibility of any government to run the affairs of a country in a corruption-free manner. Corrupt elements, ministers, whoever they might be must be dealt with ruthlessly! But we have an Anti-Corruption Commission, which is almost toothless in this country. The Commission is not independent; it receives instructions from the powers that-be, and the only corruption cases the Commission pursues are those involving small fish and big fish that appear before the Commission do so for show. No big fish is prosecuted and when they are prosecuted, they are given nolles. So, the whole fight against corruption by the ACC has become a complete fuss because everything has been politicized,” said Dr Sacika.