IT IS not common for a sitting Cabinet minister to admit that the party in government has embraced corrupt practices. In fact, it is just unheard of. No matter how scandalous the government and the ruling party become, they simply never admit wrong doing. So we are elated to hear the Minister of Justice Honourable Given Lubinda confirm to the nation that the party in power has allowed corruption in its activities to an extent that has never been seen before.
Given LUBINDA: “Sitting as a member of the central committee of the party and one who has served as member of the central committee for more than 14 years, I have to say that the reports of corrupt practices this year have exceeded all the reports that I have heard about in the past. It is beyond question that there are some people who have engaged themselves in what, in my view, is less than honourable practice. I have heard of people who are using money to influence systems. Unfortunately for me, this is a reflection of what our society is becoming. I have to say this with defeat in my heart that my dear country is getting to these levels where people think that for them to get anything, they must use money. If a person ascends to a position where they are elected through corrupt means, then you create a danger for society, then you are going to have a government that is led by corrupt people. We have heard of incidences where people are using money, there is no hiding the fact that people are peddling their influence, there is no question of the fact that people are name dropping.”
Honourable Lubinda is spot on. The concerns that he is raising are things that we have been writing about for some time now. In fact, when we write and make observations that the Patriotic Front has been captured by corrupt elements, they accuse us of being paid to turning the name of the ruling party. But Honourable Lubinda is not only one of them, but a senior member of the Cabinet and Central Committee. Who has paid him to say these things? Nobody! What the minister has done is that he has simply look at issues without wearing PF glasses. What he has seen is what everybody outside PF has been talking about.
The Patriotic Front has completely forgotten where it came from, it’s leaders have forgotten about their struggle to form government. The volumes of money that they have found in government has turned them into insensitive leaders. They think they can buy ‘justice’ from the judiciary, and loyalty from the Zambian people. Everything to them is about money. As Honourable Lubinda put it, there are some people in the Patriotic Front who think they can use money to get whatever they want.
The unprecedented corruption levels that Honourable Lubinda is talking about in the PF adoption process is something that does not come as a surprise to us. The PF stopped recognizing the principles of democracy a long time ago. Wherever the PF is involved in an election process, they want to use underhand methods to emerge victorious. They preach fair play, but they go to great lengths destroying the very essence of democracy.
Honourable Lubinda is in order to express this concerns because the Patriotic Front has turned evil beyond recognition. It ceased to be a party that identifies itself with the majority poor. It is no longer an organisation that gives leadership opportunities on merit. It’s a party for the rich and powerful. No matter how wise, education and popular you are, if you don’t have money to bribe your way up the ladder of hierarchy, you stand no chance of getting elected on any position.
These are the crooked schemes that the Patriotic Front has extended to national politics. They don’t want the people of Zambia to decide their leaders, they want those with money to be the winners. This is why they are deploying all sorts of tricks to make sure that they offload as much money as they can on the electorate in order to influence their decisions. This is why criminals, thugs and hooligans are confidently declaring themselves incoming members of parliament on the Patriotic Front ticket. These people have zero integrity, but the ruling is happy to adopt them simply because they have money – and not just money, but stolen money.
We are here to agree with Honourable Lubinda that a leader who ascends to power through corrupt means is a danger to society. This is probably the wisest thing that the minister has said this year. He is also absolutely right when he says a nation that neglects transparency and integrity in the electoral process ends up with corrupt leaders in government. This is the situation that Zambia is in under the Patriotic Front today.
So the question that we should now be asking is this; if the Patriotic Front is admitting through a member of its own central committee that there are alarming levels of corruption in the primary election process, how can we expect free and fair generals election at the national level? All well-meaning Zambian citizens must ask themselves if this is the kind of party and leadership that the country needs.