LUSAKA Lawyer Makebi Zulu says it is clear that investigative wings do not believe in what they were doing, but seemed to be carrying out someone else’s agenda.
And Zulu who is former Eastern Province Minister, says the UPND government has not done anything to strengthen institutions involved in the fight against corruption.
In an interview, Zulu said what was happening was vengeance.
“It is clear that investigative wings don’t believe in what they are doing. Like what happened yesterday during these interviews. It is more of vengeance or carrying out someone else’s agenda than them believing in what they are doing. If you are going to come to me today and say ‘you have been arrested for stealing a TV’ when you go to court, I find that you change charges and say ‘oh, you have stolen slippers’ and I am wondering what you arrested me for on the other side is different from what you took me to court for. So, those are examples of what I see happening,” he said.
And Zulu said fighting corruption was not just about following up one’s predecessors.
“The political will and the fight against corruption is not synonymous to following your predecessors and you call that a fight against corruption. In the institutions that are currently existing, what measures have been put in place to ensure that there is no corruption? A lot of things that have been said to happen, like the issue of the fertilizer deal, what is it that they are doing about it because from outside, we feel there is corruption in this deal. You said you would procure at a lower cost, how come you are procuring at a higher cost? The fight against corruption is not prosecution of those that were there before you, it is strengthening institutions so that corruption ceases to exist or at least it is brought to its bare minimum by having strong institutions,” Zulu said.
“But then, what has been done to strengthen the institutions so far? Nothing! I don’t know of anything that has been done to strengthen institutions so far. It is like a hamster on a wheel, it is the same things that were there during (Levy) Mwanawasa, the same thing that have been done during successive governments where we will just be offering lip service to the fight against corruption without strengthening institutions.”
Zulu said the agencies were acting on rumours and only investigating cases after making arrests.
“Remember when the President assumed office? He said ‘please, before you arrest, investigate, arrest is the last thing you do’. It is not a directive by the President, it is the law that only if you complete investigations should you make an arrest. But we have institutions that are making arrests, then investigating afterwards. They arrest based on rumours, then thereafter they want to investigate and find that whatever allegations they have laid against the person are actually not true,” said Zulu.
“So, what do they do? It is shameful for them to stop in their tracks and say ‘we found that you didn’t [commit the offences]’ they try to cover up by coming up with flimsy charges or other charges that are in no way related to what the warn and caution was related to. It is disheartening to say the least. And we hope they could be magnanimous enough to just own up and say we found nothing unlike inconveniencing people.”