ALLIANCE for Community Action (ACA) executive director Laura Miti says Zambians should make this year’s general election all about the rampant corruption witnessed under the PF administration.

In an interview, Miti challenged voters to go to the polls bearing in mind how they had suffered because of the corruption which had engulfed the country.

“As a country, all I can say is that we have got to make the next election all about corruption. Corruption is what is killing us. There is nothing else at this point other than the fact that our resources are not translating into improving the lives of citizens, and that ordinary citizens’ lives are getting worse, especially the majority at the bottom. And we, as citizens like you said, don’t seem to have a way to address this. The people in power, the President (Edgar Lungu), continuously refuse to address this corruption. Everybody else has this ‘roundabout’ way of talking about corruption, they don’t apologise for the corruption, they defend each other. So, it’s left with us citizens and we citizens, all we can say is if we go into another year, another two levels of corruption, with this level of resources, which we borrow, we have skipped another debt repayment,” Miti said.

“…The reason why we are skipping debt repayment is because one, we borrow money recklessly. Secondly, people in power then steal that money. And all this, what we are saying is in the report of the Auditor General; it’s in the report of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC). So, it’s no longer guesswork and we are highly indebted, money stolen, which cannot show in services. We have reached a stage where we are at the edge of the abuse, and if this continues, the country goes to the stage where we have so much debt that very few of us ever imagined getting ourselves into.”

She added that the mounting corruption scandals had manifested in shortage of medicines in hospitals, among other government-induced social ills.

“We have had a year in which we have had scandal after scandal. The biggest problem sitting in the country is the impact that this corruption has had on citizens. So, we can see in the shortage of medicines in hospitals, we can see in the number of students that are unable to go to school because the scholarships have been cut, in the hardships of lives in the rural areas, the haphazard distribution of farming inputs. So, in the daily lives of citizens, we are seeing the impact of corruption,” said Miti.

“And so, as a country, we have got to understand that corruption is not academic. Corruption affects lives. People die because of corruption; people become illiterate because of corruption. You have high crime rates, when you see the number of young people on drugs, alcohol abuse, in harmful sex all these things, it’s because the resources that should have been directed towards services, whether it is education, recreational health for their lives, have been redirected to private pockets.”