DEMOCRATIC Party (DP) president Harry Kalaba says the mismanagement of COVID-19 funds by the Ministry of Health has confirmed that it is now the epicentre of corruption.

Commenting on the Interim Auditor General’s Report on the utilisation of COVID-19 funds, Kalaba said it was unfortunate that Zambia had a weak leadership to fight the escalating levels of corruption.

“The Ministry of Health is the epicentre of corruption in the country! Unfortunately, nothing is being done. The fight against corruption by this government is very academic, strictly academic. That is why you find people of all sorts…corrupt elements in this country serving in government can go scot-free because they are affiliated to the ruling government. We have a very weak leadership that is just there to threaten the Anti-Corruption Commission,” Kalaba said.

“Today, the ACC is a laughing stock! The Anti-Corruption Commision is a laughing stock because they have been reduced to ‘paper tigers.’ There is nothing that the ACC can do to government Ministers. There is nothing that the ACC can do to permanent Secretaries, who have links to the President. There is nothing they can do because once they do that, they will be told that they are ‘fighting the President!’ Where have you seen in the world? So, Zambia has lost its position, even when you look at the Corruption Index, Zambia is doing very badly. We are the ones who are now leading there. All those things are showing you that we have lost our moral compass, we have lost direction as a country. Corruption is what is defining us. Thank God, Bill 10 collapsed!”

He said the continued mismanagement of funds had led to the reduced confidence among the donor community on the country’s ability to manage resources.

“This is why the donors have lost confidence in us, this is why the multilateral partners have lost confidence in us. Why is it that the IMF did not give us donations for COVID? Why is it that Malawi was given? Why is it that Uganda was given? Why is it that all of our countries in SADC were given, but us we were not given? It is telling you that the international community has lost confidence in the management of resources in this country because what is here is mismanagement of resources, total mismanagement of resources!” he argued.

And Kalaba, the former foreign affairs minister, said that the only solution to end corruption in Zambia was to vote out the PF next year.

“The best solution to corruption is to kick out PF; let us kick out PF next year! That is why I am telling Zambians to register as voters. Don’t take the registration of voters lightly. Zambians right now must go and register as voters. The only way of taking out the bad things of government is by voting them out on the 12th of August next year. Without that, it will be very difficult. Once we remove these people, Zambia will start afresh,” said Kalaba.