UPND National Spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa says individuals who embezzled public resources should expect the law to visit them.
And Mweetwa says the appreciation of the Kwacha against major convertible currencies even before President-Elect Hakainde Hichilema is sworn in shows the confidence which the financial market has in his leadership.
Meanwhile, Mweetwa has advised UPND Alliance supporters against laughing at the PF but to embrace love in order to promote unity.
Speaking at a media briefing, Tuesday, Mweetwa said some law enforcement agencies already had lists of individuals or entities that they intend to pursue once they had the freedom to do so without political interference.
“The law will take its course as the law and it shall not be him [Hakainde Hichilema] to begin to pursue anyone. What will happen is simply to remove the political hand that has been interfering with the work of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Zambia Police, Drug Enforcement Commission and other institutions charged with the mandate to pursue people embezzling public funds. Leave these institutions to function autonomously. I can tell you that some of these institutions already have lists of entities that they want to pursue once they have freedom without political interference,” Mweetwa said.
“The laws are already in place. So if there are people who have committed acts of embezzlement of national resources, those definitely should expect the law to visit them, and there is no question about that. There will be no trade off. Maybe it will take us to give a grace period or an amnesty window for those who know they did this, in the next two or three months, they may return those things and you will not be followed. Those who will not return, of course the law will reach out to them. It will not be us to direct the agencies to do so. There will be no political interference because it has come to an end.”
Mweetwa reiterated that the UPND Alliance administration would have zero tolerance for corruption.
“Hakainde Hichilema said his administration will have zero tolerance to corruption and for those of us who have worked with him for the last 10 to 16 years, we know what he means. So the culture of talking about zero tolerance to corruption and on the other hand you are watching corruption thrive within your touching distance is now history. We want to appeal to both public service workers and the private sector that this crusade against corruption will have no sacred cows,” he stated.
“We are returning to the zero tolerance attitude by the Levy Mwanawasa administration. So those who have had a tendency of benefiting out of public resources fraudulently or dubiously because of misinterpreting President Edgar Lungu’s statement of ‘ubomba mwibala, alya mwibala’ that is history. Let us live within our means. This administration is coming to improve the conditions of service for civil servants and private service workers. We are aware that some of the things that tempt these workers to indulge in such activities are poor conditions of service yet when we look at the leadership, they are living a luxurious life.”
Mweetwa said the UPND Alliance intends to refine the Anti-Corruption Act and bring it in line with modern requirements to fight corruption genuinely.
“The administration of the UPND Alliance intends to further refine the Anti-Corruption Act to bring it in line with modern requirements to fight corruption genuinely. And amongst the things that we intend to do is to redefine the definition of who is a public officer and a state officer as contented in the Anti-Corruption Act. Presently and conveniently, the Act defines constitution office officers as state officers, thereby excluding them from the law which can hold them accountable to abuse of authority of office. That only encompasses public workers and not only constitutional office holders, yet they are the ones who make decisions,” he said.
And Mweetwa said the appreciation of the Kwacha against major convertible currencies showed the confidence which the financial market had in Hichilema’s leadership.
“As I speak, the Dollar has begun to tumble against the Kwacha. The Kwacha has begun to steadily appreciate against the Dollar and other major convertible currencies. The Kwacha is below K19. These are market reactions to the election of Hakainde Hichilema and the UPND Alliance. Even before Hakainde Hichilema is sworn in, the Kwacha has already begun to appreciate. The business houses are now already in place making the right investment portfolio choices. They are beginning to realize that here comes an administration with a leader who has clear and consistent policies that will make our businesses not just survive but grow so that we create opportunities for young people to be employed. We expect the Kwacha to continue to grow against major convertible currencies and we hope this will rapidly take off once HH is sworn in. Already if we take a checklist of what we had promised, there are low hanging fruits that the citizens have begun to harvest,” he said.
Mweetwa said Hichilema would ensure that youths and students, in particular, were taken care of accordingly.
“The huge mandate you have given Hakainde Hichilema of job creation is his mandate. Allow him to unpack his economic plan. To the students across the country, we thank you for your resilience and for guarding the votes to ensure that the people’s will prevailed. The students who have been an additional voice to speak for the voiceless, we shall give you back your freedom to be able to speak your mind freely as a student’s union. These institutions are coming back at full strength to speak for the voiceless and no one will interfere with them because they help to keep a government in check,” said Mweetwa.
“We do not want our students to become cadres and patronizing institutions because those are intellectuals where leadership comes from, so we want them to become leaders. And those that have graduated, we know that the moment you get employed and government moves in to begin taxing you and cut back the money they lent you, we will restructure that. This administration is going to give a grace period that once you graduate you must be given a number of years before government asks you to start paying back.”