CHIEF government spokesperson Chushi Kasanda says the prosecution of former public office bearers is normal procedure, saying if someone only used to have one house in Matero and now they have 15 in Kabulonga, Zambians will be interested to know how that happened.
In an interview, Kasanda said the fight against corruption would include everyone, whether in government or not.
“We are public figures, therefore, we serve the government. By virtue of us being public figures, we owe an explanation to the Zambians on every penny that we own. We owe it to the Zambians. Every structure that I bring up, I owe to the Zambians, because they need an explanation. That is more of a reason why we declare our assets when we are coming into government and later on, you also need to know how much we have acquired during the time we are in office. So if I had one house in Matero and then suddenly I have 15 houses in Kabulonga, where the hell did I get them from?” Kasanda asked.
“So people should not feel like this is persecution. There is no persecution, it is just the rule of law and it is just the fight against corruption. It will target anybody whether in government or not. Even I can be a target. As you are aware at one point, there was a time when Ministers in government then were being prosecuted but did they say ‘because we are in government why are [we] being prosecuted?’ I remember some of them were called by ACC when they were in government.”
Kasanda said government was ensuring that it conducts the recovery process in a systematic way in order to avoid regrets.
“So it is a normal procedure. We are in these offices that are questionable at any given time. Anything that we do is questionable. So we are not targeting anybody, it is just the procedure. It is something that has to be done for the sake of the Zambians because the money belongs to them, so they have to question. So there is no persecution and we are not targeting anybody in particular, it can be anybody or even me in government. If there is anything questionable about me, the law will take its course. We want to be systematic. That is one thing about the UPND government. We do not want to just go in the streets and start arresting everyone,” he said.
“We need to check what they have done and what they have not done. Imagine all the cells would be filled up with innocent people and that is not what we want. We want to make sure that those that are being prosecuted are those that have offended. You cannot put an offence on somebody who has not done anything wrong. That is not the way we want to go as a government. So that is what they need to understand. Yes, it is being slow, but we are being systematic. We do not want to just arrest people for no reason. We do not want to just go into the streets, into people’s homes and pick up everybody and arrest them. That is the PF way of working.”
And responding to Democratic Party president Harry Kalaba’s remarks that President Hakainde Hichilema was having a difficult time delivering on most of his promises, Kasanda said this was not true.
She said government had started working towards what it promised Zambians, but should not be expected to do everything in the seven months of being in power.
“That is untrue. The reason why I say it is very untrue is because, first and foremost, I think Mr Kalaba and everybody else need to appreciate that we have only been in government for seven months, only seven months for crying out loud. He was in government himself, what was he able to deliver to the people of Zambia? Besides, we had the immediate past regime that was also in government, what did they deliver to the people of Zambia? They cannot expect us to do everything in seven months but we have started the process,” said Kasanda.
“And clearly, one of our processes was that we were going to fight corruption and we have started. We said there will be rule of law in Zambia and we have clamped down on caderism. Isn’t that what the President made during our campaigns? Those are the promises we made and we have done that. We promised free education and we have done that. So we have started working towards what we promised the people of Zambia. Nothing can be done overnight and that is a fact. We know the Zambians are expectant and that is why we are delivering according to our promises. We will deliver to the people of Zambia because we owe them what we promised them.”