IF there is a hypocrite in this country who speaks with a straight face, that person is President Edgar Lungu. Why are we saying this? President Lungu says the fight against corruption in Zambia has been corrupted because institutions of governance such as the courts of law mandated to dispense justice are failing to serve the public and protect the vulnerable. Mr Lungu has further wondered whether investigative journalism still exists in Zambia, saying that the media is not doing enough to help government expose escalating levels of corruption in society.
Counselling some members of the Zambia Red Cross Society who complained about the legal system in Zambia being compromised, President Lungu blamed ineffective institutions of governance and laws for failing to deliver justice to the expectation of the citizenry.
“The problem we have in this country is that the fight against corruption has been corrupted. You are talking about conspiracies between the lawyers who represent the Society and those in power, and in the end, the courts are being implicated. In the end, the poor Society has to just sign a consent order and they end up paying. It is corruption at its worst! What more corruption evidence do you need than that? So, such people should be named and shamed so that if the courts of law do not convict them, the courts of public opinion convict them so that at the end of the day, they cannot walk with their heads high,” President Lungu said.
Regarding the state of the media, Mr Lungu asked: “PS, Mr [Amos] Malupenga, where are investigative journalists? Because you are renowned; I know you from way back. You [would] embark on a case like that and say, ‘I want to know what happened to these buildings, which were once owned by the Zambia Red Cross Society? Who stole them?’ And you do intensive journalism and investigations and you write about it so that in the court of public opinion, we know that this man is not honourable, he is just a thief! PS Malupenga, the media, what has happened?”
As we have stated above, if there is a hypocrite in this country who speaks with a straight face, that person is President Edgar Lungu. This man has no right to call the Judiciary corrupt or compromised. Is this not the same President who told the Constitutional Court that if they dare declare him ineligible to contest the 2021 election there would be war in this country? Yes, it is him. He said this in Solwezi in front of cameras so that not only the judges, but the whole country could hear his warning. And as a consequence of that threat, the Constitutional Court gave the most bizarre ruling on the illegibility case that has left the country more confused than ever.
President Lungu has no right to condemn the injustice that is being dispensed by the court system through consent orders where lawyers and people in power connive to circumvent justice. Does His Excellency need to be reminded that his Presidency is a result of a consent judgement? This is exactly what he did when he was locked in a legal battle for adoption against Miles Sampa in 2015. His lawyers connived with named individuals in the Judiciary and produced a shocking consent judgement that imposed him as a presidential candidate for the Patriotic Front. Has he already forgotten about that? Or is he saying the consent order that he rode on to go to State House is more special than the rest of the consent orders that have deprived people of justice?
It is hypocrisy of the highest degree for President Lungu to suggest that corrupt people should be named and shamed so that if the courts of law do not convict them, the courts of public opinion convict them and stops them from walking with their heads high. This is exactly what the people of Zambia have been doing. We have named and shamed his corrupt ministers, and even if the courts of law have not convicted them, the people of Zambia know that they are not honourables, they are thieves. The President can’t say there is no investigative journalism left in Zambia when he recently fired one of his ministers because of the work of the media. Why does he want journalists to focus on investigating a Zambia Red Cross building leaving his corrupt ministers who are looting tax payers’ money through dubious government tenders?
And talking about the lost investigative journalism that President Lungu admired in veterans like Ministry of Information Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga, again we say, this man is the most shameless hypocrite. Amos Malupenga’s famous investigative journalism was practiced at The Post Newspaper and his work impacted so many lives in this country. When he left, many young journalists he mentored were geared to carry on his work. But what did President Lungu and his minions in government do to The Post? They closed it down. They shut down the heartbeat of investigative journalism in Zambia. So, what is he complaining about?
How can this President mourn the demise of investigative journalism when he is the one murdering it? Mr Lungu should not pretend, he is very happy with the state of the media in Zambia because it is in a place where he wanted it to be. Any media house that shows some wings, like Prime TV did, he stamps on it. So, with all due respect to our Head of State, he is such a hypocrite who speaks with a straight face.