PRESIDENTIAL Affairs Minister Freedom Sikazwe says if there is no one convicted as a result of corruption, it is very difficult for President Edgar Lungu to do anything.
Meanwhile, Sikazwe says Zambians are too intelligent not to vote for a party which has performed wonders.
On Tuesday, former attorney general Musa Mwenye SC lamented that instead of speaking for the poor, the PF government had been defending the corrupt thieves who had been stealing from the poor people.
But reacting to this in an interview, Sikazwe said it was unfair to accuse President Lungu of not being serious about the fight against corruption instead of mounting pressure on investigative wings which were supposed to investigate and secure convictions.
“Can you tell me anyone who has been investigated and found to be corrupt and they are still in government? If there is no one convicted as a result of corruption, it is very difficult for the President to do anything. Our prayer is that can the investigative wings push their agenda to ensure that they are serious with their investigations. If you say the President is not serious, what I can say is that how can we help the President? It is by bringing evidence that these are the scandals that are happening. You know the wings that are supposed to investigate corruption now you are putting pressure on the President. Is it the President that is supposed to investigate? Those guys are supposed to investigate, they bring the reports to the President that Sikazwe is involved in this and if the President does not act, then you can say the President is negative on the fight on corruption,” Sikazwe said.
He said some of the corruption allegations were motivated by jealousy.
“But here is the President, because of the cries of the people, even before listening to the investigative wings, he makes a decision, he sends [Chishimba] Kambwili out. Now what do you want the President to do? Let the law take its course, that is why there are institutions that are supposed to do the investigations, I expect you people to put pressure on the them. That is why the President has helped you by coming out and telling the Anti-Corruption Commission that can you pull up your socks because he is hearing that there is corruption taking place here and there until the ACC team comes up with the report to the President that there is this, yes they will continue coming to you but my plea is that engage them and ask them you are talking about corruption in the government, how many people have been convicted? It is not a question of the President just firing. For me, what is going to prove that there is a lot of scandals is by the number of people convicted. Because the President firing people is not good enough. Some of these things that are coming, it is out of jealous,” Sikazwe said.
He said accusing the government of being corrupt was funny.
“The way some people are perceiving is like whatever is happening is corruption. It can’t be! This whole scenario it is very funny. It is like people have nothing to talk about they think people can rise against the government by just singing a song. What is it that they want us to do to prove that we are fighting corruption? Personally, I want them to give me an indicator that the incident we are talking about corruption is this. But for somebody to say that there is corruption, where? And they openly say in government, where? Government is a very big institution. I will give you an example, you people have been singing songs about Kambwili is corrupt, what did the President do? He said ‘okay for the sake of investigations and the law to take its course, he was relieved of his duties from the government. Today, Kambwili is walking with his head high. You talked about [Ronald] Chitotela, he went to the court, the court set him free,” he said.
“So you see, it is making the job of the President very difficult because yes the President is supposed to be listening to the cries of the people but he is not being supported. You people bring names that this one is a thief, if the President was to react to each and every cry, if that is that you think will be taken as fighting corruption, then we will not go anywhere. What are the expectations of the Zambians? Do you know that your Zambian law does not allow that? You are perceived to be innocent until you are proved guilty by the courts of the law. You cannot call anyone corrupt because you are not the judge. If I just wake up today and say Malunga is corrupt then I expect your employer to fire you immediately?”
Sikazwe wondered if somebody could be fired because of misapplying funds meant to construct a school.
“And some of the irregularities that are highlighted in the Auditor General’s Report can you tell me that somebody should be fired for having used the money which was supposed to be used for a school to construct a bridge because there was an emergency? You tell someone that they have misused money, it is not like they have stolen they have misappropriated money. He has not used that money for his interest. What has happened is that our friends have failed to use a formula for their campaign, there is nothing that they have to talk about. On the issue of 48 houses. Can you fail to find out the owner of the house? Tell the Zambian people, you want the President to come and say the owner of the houses is this one? Is it a secret to own properties?” he asked
“I have properties and if anyone wants to investigate, they can go and check at Ministry of Lands. So where is the corruption on that? So when they come to you that government is not serious about corruption, you tell them that it’s us Zambians who are not serious because we are supposed to expose all those that are perceived to be corrupt so that the investigative wings should take over from there and investigate them and we expect you the media to work with the ACC and all other relevant wings in trying to fight corruption.”
Meanwhile, Sikazwe said Zambians were too intelligent not to vote for a party which had performed wonders.
“I have failed to understand, I have interviewed some opposition leaders. To them, as long as we continue with the developmental agenda that we have undertaken as PF, to them, there is corruption. When we say we borrowed money… Kazungula bridge you can see for yourself, we were going to borrow the money for Lusaka Decongestion [project], I think you can see for yourself that we mean well and what we promised the Zambians is being fulfilled. We said we were going to borrow the money because we have seen the deficit of electricity and the solution is to build the Kafue Lower, to build the Batoka hydro station. Those projects are underway and you guys should find time to see them, you are going to appreciate that is why we have borrowed. We will be saying it is worth it. So I don’t know what kind of leadership you want in the country. But I can tell you that Zambians are intelligent that they can’t be lured to vote against a party that has performed wonders,” said Sikazwe.