COUNCIL of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) general secretary Fr Emmanuel Chikoya says UPND tasted the bitter end of injustices conducted by the previous regime and it is therefore not expected that they will repeat the very things they lamented about.
And Fr Chikoya says the current approach in the fight against corruption by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is haphazard.
In an interview, Fr Chikoya said things like transporting accused persons to different towns at awkward hours, on the basis that that is where a complaint was lodged, was not helpful.
“Otherwise, some of these matters were there even in the past. In terms of the fact that some of the people that are being investigated, the processes seem to have been rapidly sorted out. The ACC has the right to investigate everybody at any time but they should not do so at the instigation of any political player and not with the motive of dehumanising other people. They need to do their job very quietly, efficiently and professionally. Let us have convictions so that it is justified. A lot of money is spent to conducting investigations. Additionally, this aspect of arresting anyone when a complaint was made in Solwezi then the accused must be taken there, we have seen these things happen in the past and we thought they will no longer continue now. So from that angle, I will strongly condemn such manoeuvres because you are just trying to destabilise the family by throwing the accused all over the place,” Fr Chikoya said.
“They tasted the bitter end of these things and the current government has a duty to not repeat things that are not helpful. They should not do things which even themselves lamented about. If there are laws that defend such things, they need to be amended. Transferring people at high speed at awkward hours is not very helpful for our political dispensation. We need to get away from that kind of approach.”
And Fr Chikoya said the fight against corruption was currently being done in a haphazard manner.
“Overall, the fight is haphazard. So let them act right. If you are not sure, then why pursue? You would rather not pursue or quietly do it. If people sue to get compensation, we lose more as a country. We lose money in terms of compensation and the investigation process. So we need to see the bigger picture and consider whether certain matters are worthwhile. Overall, let the right thing be done. Whoever committed a crime, even in the current, let us not wait until they are out of government to make sure they are visited now so that these cases are not stale. By the time you will investigate in five years, evidence would have been gone. That is why it could even be a job in futility that is being undertaken,” he said.
“We need to advise the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) that there are too many publicity stunts. Let them just do their work quietly and professionally and only tell us when they have really concrete and tangible things as opposed to speculation. Later on, they want to come out and say this case has no substance. So there is a concern in that regard that they are too much in a hurry to announce cases and then a few months later, they back out. At the end of the day, this will create justification for those saying we are being persecuted.”
Meanwhile, Fr Chikoya said PF were complaining that the church was not speaking against their perceived persecution because they had a short memory.
“The challenge that I see with our friends [PF] is that they have a short memory. When the church was championing the national dialogue, they [PF] had people to sabotage the process. So here is a person who had everything within their power to do the right thing and they messed it up. If you remember, we were called all sorts of names because we were calling them to order on certain issues. So from a church perspective, we will always stand for justice. Anybody that is unjustly treated will be defended. However, when people are suspected to have committed crimes and they are being investigated, the onus is on them to prove that whatever they have is legitimate,” said Fr Chikoya.