From the time that this country started falling apart economically and politically, several patriotic citizens have taken risks to raise the red flag and warn citizens about the doom that lies ahead.
Civil society organisations, the church, media institutions, pressure groups, freedom fighters, musicians and of course opposition political parties have tried to speak out for mother Zambia. Along the way, some unfortunate media houses like The Post have been shut down, while others have simply lost their editorial independence. Some Church leaders like Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu have gone into retirement leaving a loud warning about the dawn of a fierce dictatorship.
Apart from human rights defenders like Laura Miti and singer Pilato among others, who have been arrested and forced into exile for pointing at criminality in this Patriotic Front regime, we also have government institutions like the Financial Intelligence Center and the Office of the Auditor General, that have sounded the alarm that Zambia is going down.
All these efforts have been made to make the citizens of this country see that this nation is in wrong hands, but for some strange reasons, the people of Zambia think that for as long as the Patriotic Front is winning elections, then there is a bright future ahead. They are hearing about the rampant theft going on, but a mere dismissal of facts from the media wings of the ruling elite is sending our people into hero worshipping criminals.
We have observed that the majority of the educated in this country are witnessing this downfall of a nation from a safe distance. They are watching from the terraces and criticizing the players from the comfort of their seats like frustrated Chipolopolo supporters who, at the end of the day will still go back to their houses and eat their nshima, whether Zambia wins or loses.
The brains of this country have left the fight for mother Zambia to the hopeless opposition, the oppressed media, the infiltrated civil society and the compromised church leadership. When they meet with their fellow learned colleagues, they make jokes about the debt crisis, about the procurement scandals, about the injustices in the court processes; but they don’t want to get involved.
That is why today we thought it was necessary to pick out a few eminent citizens and their private organisations for the efforts that they are making in repackaging the theft of public resources in this government and displaying it from an evidence point of view.
Last week, Professor Oliver Saasa released a report from a research he conducted with his colleague Chiwama Musonda which showed that politicians at the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development command an overbearing influence over the Road Development Agency (RDA), regarding which road investment the agency should pursue.
Professor Saasa’s report also indicated that illiterate PF cadres have obtained National Council for Construction certificates which they use to get contracts from RDA using political connections, then they sell the contracts back to the Chinese.
Another patriotic Zambian specialized in international trade and research, Trevor Simumba has also gone deep inside this government to bring out heartbreaking revelations about how criminals are deliberately inflating road construction costs against their own evaluation.
“I did my research on the Ndola Lusaka dual carriage way. The company that won that road tender, that was evaluated and came out top was a well known South African company. RDA’s document show that its own costing to do Lusaka-Ndola dual carriage way was US$930 million which is almost US$100 million. So how did this project move from US$100 million to US$1.2 billion? The economic return that was calculated by RDA is 29 percent; it is there in black and white. I have all the documentation. The minister claims that there was a feasibility study. I went to the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure there is no feasibility study, I went to RDA there is no feasibility study,” said Simumba.
This is not a research done by an aggrieved politician, but a patriotic Zambian interested in getting answers. How did a road that was supposed to cost K930 million gobble US$1.2 billion? He is asking, and if his research is fake, let the Ministry and the RDA challenge it. We would also be happy if the authorities arrested Mr Simumba for “inciting the public’ so that he can use a court platform to tell us what else we need to know.
Talking about the authorities, another organization has exposed a scam in which criminals have been smuggling Mukula logs out of the country with help from the Customs department and other relevant officers from government.
“Recent mukula production saw bribes exceeding US$ 1.7 million paid to government officials. In 2016, Zambia declared to have exported about 3,000 m3 for an approximate value of USD 900,000, while China declared imports of about 61,000 m3, from the same country and under the same period, for an approximate value of USD 87 million,” reports the Center for International Forest Research (CIFOR).
There are many other organisations (too numerous to mention) that have done research to show the criminality going on in this government. People have spoken, some individuals who are trying to fight corruption in this regime are right inside government and they risk their lives and jobs every day trying to show the public, in a ‘silent’ way, where this country is headed.
Unfortunately, Zambians have eyes but they can’t see. They have ears but they hear not. We have a gullible people who think they are not directly affected by the abuse of public resources going on.
This is why we need to appreciate the roles that our educated colleagues named above are playing, some of them using their own resources to try and fight economic and political injustices.
Dear Zambians, this country belongs to you and your children. Open your eyes and see. If you don’t want to listen to the politicians in the opposition, if you think the media is not informed enough to testify that there in criminality going on, please hear it from the learned researchers. If you ignore this evidence, don’t complain when they come back tomorrow to say “we warned you”.