HOME Affairs and Internal Security Minister Jack Mwiimbu says government is not targeting any member of the PF, through investigative wings, arguing that it is coincidental that majority of those being probed belong to the former ruling party.
And Mwiimbu says investigative wings cannot investigate anyone who is not in government or who has had no associations with government for abuse of government resources.
Recently, PF vice-president Given Lubinda urged his party members to brace themselves for harassment.
“On several occasions, I have spoken to members of the Patriotic Front through you members of the press and I have told them to brace for the hard times that we are living [in]. I have said to the members of the PF that they must be ready to be harassed, they must be ready to be questioned, they must be ready to be raided. If my colleagues have been raided, if my colleagues have been questioned, what about me who is currently at the epitome of the party, how can they spare me? They can’t spare me. I have stated before that even former president Edgar Chagwa Lungu has said that we know who they are looking for and instead of going directly to him, they want to go first to the other people,” said Lubinda.
But in an interview, Mwiimbu said investigative wings were taking appropriate action based on information they gathered on alleged criminal acts.
“The government through the investigative wings of government are not targeting any particular member of the PF. The investigative wings are taking appropriate action based on information they have gathered pertaining to alleged criminal acts that have been committed by various members of the public. It is coincidental that the majority of those who are being probed by the investigative wings are members of the Patriotic Front. It is important to note that for anyone to be accused of abuse of government resources or acts that are detrimental to the government of Zambia, in most instances, those must have been serving in government. Members of the public must realise that those who were serving in government are the members of PF hence the outcry that only those who belong to the PF are being investigated,” Mwiimbu said.
“The investigative wings cannot investigate anyone pertaining to abuse of government resources if they are not in government or if they had no associations with government. Honourable Given Lubinda was a Minister of Justice, on several occasions, in the House and outside, used to tell the public that no one is above the law. And that if there is an allegation that is leveled against anyone, the due process of the law must be allowed to take place. The laws that were obtaining at the time when honourable Given Lubinda was Minister of Justice are the same laws that are applicable currently. It therefore follows that the police or any other investigative wings of government are merely implementing the law as it is obtaining. Those who have been accused must be allowed to present themselves before the investigative wings and answer to the charges.”
Mwiimbu said investigative wings operated independently and no one gave them instructions to investigate anyone.
“It will not help the PF to start making baseless accusations against the government and President Hakainde Hichilema. The investigative wings are operating independently. No instructions are given to them to investigate anyone. The investigative wings rely on the report they get from members of the public and other whistleblowers. In the case that honourable Lubinda is currently facing before the ACC, [it] emanates from the due investigative Journalism of the News Diggers! They published reports pertaining to the purported illegal transactions that honourable Lubinda is involved in,” he said.
“It is my considered view that based on the reports of News Diggers, the investigative wings took an interest in the matter and conducted their own investigations hence the call out for honourable Lubinda to appear before the ACC. It is not His Excellency President Hakainde who instructed the ACC to investigate honourable Lubinda. The ACC is operating independently. The law that established the ACC is very clear. The ACC does not report to the President as per the allegation of honourable Lubinda. No investigative wing is under the President. Honourable Lubinda should realise that the ACC in terms of budget presentation in Parliament falls under the Office of the President to enable Parliament to pass a budget for them. Other than that, their operations are independent.”
Mwiimbu said despite suffering abuse under PF, UPND was not being vengeful.
“We are not being vengeful as UPND. If we were being vengeful, you would have seen the actions that we would have taken but because we are law abiding citizens, we have allowed the due process of the law to take its course where appropriate. We members of the UPND and other opposition political parties in this country suffered abuse under PF but we will not want to be vengeful, we are not there for retribution. We want the due process of the law to follow those who committed offences if any prior to the 2021 elections. Even currently, we have been taking appropriate actions against a number of UPND members who have committed offences and they are appearing in court. We are not being selective in implementing the laws of this country,” said Mwiimbu.