Saturday, May 12, 2007

A shameless liar, thief

A shameless liar, thief
By Editor
Saturday May 12, 2007 [04:00]

EVEN a child shows what he is by what he does; you can tell if he is honest and good. Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways. It is said that a fool does not care whether he understands a thing or not; all he wants to do is show how smart he is (Proverbs 18:2). Those who are good travel a road that avoids evil; so watch where you are going - it may save your life. Pride leads to destruction, and arrogance to downfall. It is better to be humble and stay poor than to be one of the arrogant and get a share of their loot. Evil people listen to evil ideas, and liars listen to lies.

Respected people do not tell lies, and fools have nothing worthwhile to say. This is the wisdom one can pick by a quick glance at Proverbs in the Holy Bible. We wonder why Frederick Chiluba for all his proclaimed commitment to the Lord's teachings fails to see these simple teachings. He continues to live the life of a liar. There is very little, if anything, that is not a lie about Chiluba.

He lies even about things which other people can easily verify and prove him a liar. At his press conference on Thursday, Chiluba went to great lengths trying to deceive the Zambian people that he made a lot of money from travel allowances as president of the Republic of Zambia. He went on to claim that even humble civil servants have bought and built houses out of travel allowances.

This misleading argument of his was adequately dealt with by a witness from Cabinet Office in this same London High Court case that Chiluba is today saying he doesn't recognise. It was made very clear to the court that as president, Chiluba's travel and other daily living expenses were fully met by the state and as such he was not entitled to any travel allowance. And if, as he claims, he made a fortune from travel allowances then he is admitting theft because he took that which he was not entitled to.

As for civil servants buying and building houses from travel allowances, this is not possible. The US$220 or US$240 they get per day is not enough for them to do what Chiluba says they could do. No matter how thrift they were, this could barely meet their hotel and food bills and whatever remained was negligible. And if they went on fully paid-for trips, they were not entitled to the full daily allowance, they only got a small portion of it. But this too could not be enough to enable them to send their children to schools in England as Chiluba claims to have done or claims they did.

Civil servants who have bought houses or built houses without loans have not done so from travel allowances, unless they too, like Chiluba, stole. And most of them are actually thieves, just like him, who will not be able to account for what they have.

And what is bad is that Chiluba is painting a bad picture of the civil or public service, making it look like it is being run in a very corrupt and reckless way. If this was the case, then Chiluba ran a very reckless government where civil servants and public workers were busy doing nothing but sharing trips to collect allowances. This would also cause a serious distortion in the earnings of civil servants and other public workers.

It would mean that the earnings of those who don't travel would be far much lower than those of their colleagues who are continually on the move. We would like Dr Kenneth Kaunda to explain what travel allowances he received when he was president and what he did with that money.

We also want Levy Mwanawasa to explain how he is dealing with the issue of travel allowances - how much he is making out of travelling and what he is doing with that money. We say this because the affairs of government cannot be run in this way; taxpayers’ money cannot be misused in such a reckless manner.

To make Zambia prosperous needs intense efforts, which will include, among other things, the effort to practise strict economy and combat waste, that is, the policy of building up our country through diligence and frugality. The principle of diligence and frugality should be observed in everything.

This principle of economy should be one of the basic principles of the economics of a poor country like ours. We shouldn't indulge in wastefulness and extravagance where public funds or resources are concerned. Thrift should be the guiding principle in our government expenditure.

It should be made clear to all government workers, including the President and his ministers, that corruption and waste are very serious crimes. We cannot continue to hope for foreign aid while we at the same time pay no attention to the efficient and effective utilisation of the limited resources we have.

It is clear that Chiluba was stealing public funds and today wants to claim they were travel allowances. If Chiluba was being paid travel allowances, what was his daily rate? And who authorised it? Or was it a question of Chiluba himself deciding his allowances?

We know that Chiluba used to misuse or abuse the money that was carried by civil servants accompanying him on his trips. He used to divert money meant for his legitimate presidential travel expenses to personal things that had nothing to do with his duties or functions as president. And today he wants to tell the Zambian people that they were paying him travel allowances. When will Chiluba stop lying? Is he capable of living a life devoid of lying? We don't think so.

Chiluba is a liar and cannot do without lies. But lies have a span - they cannot carry him on forever. His lies have caught up with him. No one can take them anymore - everyone now knows him for what he is: a liar, a crook, a shameless thief.

Labels: ,


At 8:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

An interesting editorial.

My point is this. Over the years we have seen many a people get rich overnight especially when MMD swept into power. Why has there never been an effort to investigate the source of these sudden riches. Why are ZRA, ACC and DEC not able to look at some of these civil servants.
Remember the case of Peter Mwachunga. Why was there never an investigation from the income tax angle to see what the guy earned and reconcile this with the mansion he put up.

At 9:56 AM , Blogger MrK said...

" Why was there never an investigation from the income tax angle to see what the guy earned and reconcile this with the mansion he put up. "

I'm reading Lee Kwan Yew's biography, and he gave courts the right to presume corruption if anyone in office was unable to account for their assets.

Now that would be drastic. If it was combined with electronic banking, there would always be a paper trail.

It would seriously cut back corruption.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home