TRANSPARENCY International Zambia (TI-Z) says US President Joe Biden’s statement that Zambian youths denounced corruption when they voted out PF is not surprising because graft had gotten out of hand.

And TIZ says the onus is on the UPND government to reverse the negative perception which the international community has.

In an interview, TI-Z executive director Maurice Nyambe said President Biden’s remarks showed that the levels of corruption in Zambia had gotten to an extent where it was known even within the international circles.

“The statement by the President of the United States of America concerning Zambian youths having denounced corruption through their vote has obviously drawn a lot of criticism, particularly from the Patriotic Front leadership. I think that this is not a statement that is really surprising. I say so because if you look back, a few months back leading up to the elections, I think that it was very clear through the statement that we were getting from the US Ambassador in Zambia that the situation as regards to many aspects of good governance in Zambia was something that was causing a lot of concern within the international community. But specifically within the US. So it was really not surprising to hear such a statement coming from President Biden,” Nyambe said.

“I think what that shows is that the levels of corruption in Zambia had really gotten to an extent where it was known even within the international circles that we do have a big corruption problem that we were grappling with. If you look at the Corruption Perception Index that Transparency International releases every year, you will note that for the last five years, our score on the Index has been getting worse. So this shows that even within international circles there is no hiding place for us when it comes to how badly affected we have been by corruption over the last few years.”

And Nyambe said the onus was now on the UPND government to ultimately reverse this negative perception.

“So going forward, I think that the onus is on the current UPND government to reverse this trend and ultimately to reverse the perception that is out there within the international community. I think that if they put in place specific measures that are going to address corruption in real and meaningful ways then we will begin to make the sort of progress that will see us beginning to turn what is currently a very negative perception about Zambia’s corruption situation,” said Nyambe.