PF deputy national chairperson Davies Chama says President Hakainde Hichilema will be wasting time trying to institute a fast-track court for corruption, arguing that former ministers had no capability to steal.

Commenting on President Hichilema’s remarks that his government would introduce specialised fast-track stolen assets recovery mechanisms and courts for corruption and economic crimes, Chama said the UPND government should instead focus on delivering its promises.

“They will lose focus to deliver on their promises. I was not in government to be policing people to see who is stealing and who is not but from what I know as a minister, I don’t know if a minister can steal, there is nothing to steal. If people are saying ‘ministers have stolen’ I don’t know which ministers have the capability to steal because there are enough control systems to make sure that people cannot steal. That is why there are audit reports in ministries to ensure that the money that belongs to Zambians is protected. If they want to waste their time, whether they establish a fast-track court or whatever, they will be fishing in the air. It is a time-wasting exercise. That is the sadness of Africa whenever you take over leadership, there is so much unnecessary suspicion,” Chama said.

“The problem we have in this country is that there are so many negative perceptions where you think that ministers can steal. Ministers are not even controlling officers, they don’t even sign on any paper to authorize anything. They don’t procure anything. So when you want to insinuate that ministers or politicians have stolen, I don’t know what you are referring to. Unless people have evidence to that effect that people have stolen, as far as I know, there is nothing to talk about that people have stolen. But whatever they establish, let them establish, if they think that is their priority. They promised a number of promises, whether they think that it is one of the promises that ‘when we form government, we need to start investigating’ otherwise they will waste a lot of time investigating.”

Chama further accused the UPND administration of getting into government using deception.

“Leadership must be founded on the basis of the truth. But when you get in leadership on the basis of falsehood and deception… I dislike people who tell lies. Even the penal code of this country [states that] getting things by false pretence is a crime. People have got to leadership by false pretence, pretending that they are going to provide free education, they were on radio, television making those pronouncements,” said Chama.

“And that they will provide employment, they said jobs will be like manna. People were very expectant. Some people don’t even have a conscience at all and that is the tragedy of the country, people can be deceived, can be lied to and they start protecting their lies that ‘give us time’ time for what? Just deliver my friend you promised free education. You promised jobs, deliver! So, we are waiting for the delivery of promises by this government. We are waiting for free education up to 2026 when they will be existing government.”

Speaking during the ceremonial opening of the first session of the 13th National Assembly last Friday, President Hichilema said there would be no sacred cows in the fight against corruption whether from the past, present and future.

“Our administration abhors corruption. We have a zero-tolerance policy on corruption in all its forms. We will wage war on corruption and not spare any expense to ensure that perpetrators are made to account for their impropriety. There will be no sacred cows in the fight. We will increase the benefits of being honest and the cost of being corrupt. To enhance transparency and accountability in our national affairs, we will review the policy and legal framework for oversight institutions to enable them to effectively fight corruption and economic crimes. We will increase funding and enhance operational independence of oversight institutions. Further, we will introduce specialised fast-track stolen assets recovery mechanisms and courts for corruption and economic crimes. We will also enact legislation on ethics and integrity for improved transparency and accountability,” said President Hichilema.