Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Tuesday September 23, 2008 [04:00]
A political alliance between Rupiah Banda and plunderers – Frederick Chiluba and his tandem of thieves – will be contrary to Levy Mwanawasa’s legacy. In 2006, Chiluba and most of his fellow plunderers threw their weight behind the Patriotic Front and Michael Sata.
Patriotic Front cadres and leaders were always at the airport to see him off to, or welcome him from, his medical treatment in Johannesburg. Chiluba openly campaigned for Sata and the Patriotic Front.
Some of the people facing corruption charges today became parliamentary candidates of the Patriotic Front. These plunderers bankrolled the Patriotic Front’s 2006 campaign and were really at the centre of Sata’s campaign.
On election day, Chiluba boasted that they were voting out the bad and voting in the good. And in this case, the bad was Levy and the MMD. The good were Sata and the Patriotic Front.
The question is: why did Chiluba and his friends choose to support the Patriotic Front and Sata against the MMD and Levy?
The simple answer is that the Patriotic Front and Sata had promised to let them go scot-free if they came to power; they were not campaigning against corruption. Their campaign was about the protection of plunderers.
If these same plunderers today should turn round and support the MMD and Rupiah Banda against the Patriotic Front and Sata, then we should ask ourselves what has gone wrong or what has changed for them to do so.
It is important for us to pay a lot of attention to the campaign messages of all our presidential candidates, especially on the most important things like fighting corruption.
Probably Sata and the Patriotic Front have learnt their lesson on the issue of corruption. Their message today is very different on this score from that of 2006. Sata today seems to be very resolute on fighting corruption and on how to deal with plunderers.
This may explain why in this campaign, the Chilubas are not with him and the Patriotic Front. These people are very sensitive to things like that, they don’t like people who talk about fighting corruption.
Talking about fighting corruption in Zambia today appears to be a direct attack on Chiluba and his friends. Corruption and Chiluba seem to be synonymous in Zambia today. The two are so closely associated that the mention of corruption is not different from the mention of Chiluba’s name.
On the other hand, Rupiah and the MMD have not been very categorical on the issue of corruption. They are hardly talking about it in their campaigns. And this may explain why Chiluba and his friends may be feeling more comfortable with them in power.
There is no way Chiluba and his friends are going to support a candidate who pledges to fight corruption. They will always see such a candidate as an enemy, someone who shouldn’t be supported but opposed.
If Rupiah and the MMD today are seen to be going to bed with Chiluba, then questions should be asked about what it is that has brought them together. If Chiluba was opposed to Levy, what is it today that should make him more comfortable with Rupiah if as Levy’s successor he will abide by his legacy of fighting corruption?
Chiluba and his friends will only support Rupiah if they believe that he will be more lenient on them and will be a lesser enemy of corruption.
But how can people who want to promote and defend Levy’s legacy form a political alliance with his worst enemies, corrupt elements who Levy fought? How can one claim to be committed to the promotion of Levy’s legacy while at the same time form alliances with Levy’s worst enemies – the plunderers?
Anyway, corrupt elements have money and with it you can buy friendship, and in some cases they can purchase weaker souls. To corrupt elements, everything has a price. They deal with everything on a price basis, but honest people don’t.
That’s the way things stand. Let’s speak frankly. We believe it’s much better to speak frankly and let everybody know that we know what’s going on and we don’t like it at all. That’s the truth.
That’s not the way to build a corruption-free society that Levy was trying to establish in our country. This is surely not the way an honest government can be constructed in our country.
These things concern us all, because they are manifestations of corruption on the part of those involved in them, they promote corruption in our country.
What are things coming to? On the one hand we claim to be struggling to promote Levy’s legacy of fighting corruption while on the other, we are forming political alliances with the corrupt elements he was fighting, his government was prosecuting.
But there is sort of a chain of events here. For if good ideas foster other good ideas, bad things can foster, on the other hand, other bad things.
Even under the danger or threat of losing an election, honest people should never be tempted to form political alliances with criminals, with corrupt elements, with crooks.
There is need to search for honest political alliances rather than join hands with criminals just to win an election, because before we realise it, they will corrupt us, they will contaminate us, they will infect us with their evil virus of corruption, dishonesty, greed and vanity.
We must always bear in mind that whereas virtue must be nourished, vice springs up spontaneously like weeds and grows by itself. If we do otherwise, while nourishing virtue, we are simultaneously paving the way for vice.
We must at all times and in all situations build political alliances only with honest people. That’s the reality we must not lose sight of.
We urge the voters of Zambia to demand from each candidate a commitment to fighting corruption. And whoever wavers on this issue should not be given votes.
And no one should deceive themselves that they will manage to stop the prosecutions of those facing corruption charges in our courts of law.
Even those with short memories should remember the trouble Levy went through when his government tried to drop corruption charges against Kashiwa Bulaya by granting him a nolle prosequi.
Levy was fought tooth and nail until he yielded to the wishes of the great majority of our people who wanted to see justice done against those who robbed them of their country’s meagre resources.
So those who are cheating Chiluba and his friends that they can deliver them from the impending Armageddon if they support them to gain power are cheating themselves. Only the judgments of our courts can save Chiluba and his friends from conviction.
Yes, those who will win the presidency will have the power to pardon, but it won’t be until after the accused have been convicted. Even here, this will be a political decision that will be challenged politically and those involved in it may have to suffer the political consequences of their decision.
Again, it is said that “every creature prefers its own kind, and people are not different. Just as animals of the same species flock together, so people keep company with people like themselves.
A sinner has no more in common with a devout person than a wolf has with a lamb” (Sirach 13:15-16).
Probably, Rupiah and his sponsors should consult Sata before they decide to get close to Chiluba in this campaign and find out why they fell out, why he is not supporting him this time around after saying all the nice things about him and giving him all the support in 2006 against a man whose legacy they want to follow, promote and defend.