Friday, August 21, 2009

It’s not the British, it’s his own misdeeds

It’s not the British, it’s his own misdeeds
Written by Editor

It is now very clear why Frederick Chiluba wants to quickly, and by any means necessary, get his presidential immunity restored. Task Force on Corruption chairman Maxwell Nkole, who on Monday received the acquittal of Chiluba with a lot of humility and honour, yesterday told the nation and the world that this man hasn’t been cleared, he still has a number of pending charges for which he could be arrested and prosecuted.

There is nothing today that stops Nkole and the Task Force from arresting Chiluba on all these other things that Nkole has disclosed and take him back to court. And indeed this should happen. If it doesn’t happen, Nkole should in the same way explain to the nation and the whole world why it is not happening.

There are two things that can stand in Nkole’s way: Rupiah Banda can stop Nkole from going ahead with the arrest and prosecution of Chiluba by either directly ordering him not to do so or simply removing him from the Task Force, and also by facilitating the restoration of his immunity.

Rupiah has shown enough propensity for behaving in that manner. When it comes to protecting friends, corrupt allies, Rupiah has shown that nothing stops him from doing so if he values them. The nation saw what happened in the Dora Siliya tribunal and the High Court matter that followed. The nation has also seen how Chiluba’s acquittal has been secured and how quickly Rupiah has tried to force the nation to accept it.

What is Chiluba so scared of? Why is he in such a hurry to demand immunity? Immunity from what? If he has done no wrong, he has nothing to worry about. This is the whole point. We all know that Chiluba has many skeletons in his cupboard. This is why he is desperately crying for immunity.

Chiluba knows that he was running a criminal enterprise. In his unsworn statement in court when he refused to swear on the Bible to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, he cleared admitted receiving money from sources that he could not disclose. If the money was clean and not stolen, why was Chiluba scared to disclose where it was coming from and swear to tell the truth? People who were engaged in legitimate transactions do not have any problems disclosing their activities.

Chiluba knows he was engaged in crime. This is why he did not want to disclose the source of his money and open himself to cross examination on it. What normal parent earning honest money would give a child 40,000 pounds cash to play with? And for that matter, one who is not a businessman but a humble former accounts clerk and trade unionist who had become president.

We should not be surprised, Chiluba has reason to be scared of the London High Court judgment. It exposed him and showed the many ways in which he and his tandem of thieves turned government coffers into personal wells. They took time to plan how to move government money to their friends overseas who pretended to give it to them as gifts. This is not fiction. These are matters that are documented.

Chiluba behaving like a pimp used to collect cash from London lawyers who were receiving it from Xavier Chungu. This was money laundering made simple. Chiluba knew that he was not entitled to government funds. This is why they went to the lengths that they did to try and disguise their stealing and abuse of public resources.

If the money that Chiluba claims to have been his was legitimately acquired, why was it not put in his bank account? Why didn’t he open a bank account? It is clear that Chiluba thought that as president, he was entitled to help himself to the national treasury. Chiluba did not see any difference between his pocket and state funds.

But today, Chiluba knows that he walked on slippery ground. He now understands that he is not invincible. Chiluba knows that he has a lot to answer for which is why he is desperate to close all the doors, all the avenues to making him accountable for his deeds or rather misdeed.

This is why our people will not allow Chiluba to continue to abuse them. He might think the people don’t care and are not interested in what has happened to their resources. But he is wrong.

Today Chiluba can try to cheat our people that it is the donors that were fighting him. For what? This is laughable, it is ludicrous. He even suggested that the British government was fighting him because he refused to be bribed over the sale of the mines. What kind of nonsense is this? Chiluba even claims to be a dedicated anti-imperialist when it suits him.

But our people know that his corruption and careless pursuit of pro-imperialist, neoliberal policies he scarcely understood threw many out of employment and into abject poverty. When our people complained, Chiluba would sarcastically talk about the market economy and how it would sort out all our economic woes. Chiluba says these things because he has no respect for our people.

He thinks they do not care about the abuse of their resources and can easily be cheated, manipulated to act against their own interest in support of his selfish and corrupt personal interests. Now Chiluba wants the same people he abused, the same people he robbed, to come to his defence. He is cheating himself. It is said that you can fool some people sometimes but you cannot fool all the people all the time. This is simple for him to understand and act accordingly.

Chiluba’s time for deceiving the Zambian people is over. The Luapula or Bemba-speaking people vote he is promising to deliver to Rupiah won’t come. And Rupiah is allowing himself to be deceived when everything is clear that Chiluba does not have any standing in Luapula to deliver on such a score. The people of Luapula and Northern provinces don’t belong to Chiluba, are not owned by Chiluba and Chiluba never stole to share with them, to enrich them. The scars of poverty that Chiluba brought on the people of Luapula are there to be seen by all. Zambians should not be deceived by anyone that Chiluba had delivered anything special to the people of Luapula or that these people are tribalists who will support anybody simply because he hails from that area.

It is clear that Chiluba’s excitement is coming from his knowledge that he has Rupiah’s support. This is why it is impossible for any honest person to accept Rupiah’s claim that Levy Mwanawasa’s legacy is alive and intact when everybody knows that Rupiah has been working to massacre the legacy. If everything was left to Rupiah alone, none of the gains that our people have scored under the relatively honest leadership of Levy would survive.

Rupiah has not demonstrated any meaningful commitment to fighting corruption. Rupiah is running a traffic light policy on corruption: one moment it is green, the next it is red, then amber – depending on who is at the traffic lights. There is no consistency in what he is saying or doing. The man is a living contradiction where these matters are concerned. But lip service, he knows it. Rupiah can even claim to love when he hates. When he was talking about Chiluba’s acquittal on Monday – before the judgment was even completed – Rupiah spoke eloquently about one being innocent until they are proven guilty in defence of Chiluba.

But this same Rupiah forgot that when it comes to us, he doesn’t hesitate to charge and convict without trial. Zambians remember very well how on that day at State House, he convicted us without even hearing a word from us of having pocketed US $30 million from state institutions. And just a few weeks ago, he also convicted us of pornography. Does this man really believe in what he says or think before he says anything? Can what Rupiah says be trusted, be respected? Does Rupiah ever tell the truth about anything? It must be clear to all why Rupiah is today a close friend, ally, defender, supporter, admirer of Chiluba. It is clear what is in common between them.

If Rupiah was keeping the legacy, he would not be sending the kind of mixed messages that he is churning out every day. His government has a judgment against Chiluba which says he defrauded the people of Zambia from an English court of law. This judgment came out of a matter that was started in the name of his now Vice-President, George Kunda, when he was Attorney General and as he still is today also Minister of Justice. But Rupiah’s government appears confused on how to deal with Chiluba and they are starting to tell lies even about themselves, forgetting who they are and where they are coming from. This is why they are even trying to find procedures for which there is no precedent in the Constitution to help their friend. There is nothing in the Constitution which says once the privilege of immunity which the president enjoyed has been taken away, it can be given back. Chiluba’s immunity was rightly taken away. Many of his wrongdoings have, as a result of the removal of that immunity, been demonstrated. On what basis would anyone give Chiluba immunity today? And moreover, immunity is not a right per se, it is a privilege. Is there anyone in our country today who genuinely and in all honesty believes that Chiluba did not abuse his position as president? This is the man who admits giving another man’s wife, Mr Mwanza’s wife at the time, US $300,000. For what? There is no basis upon which Chiluba can claim an entitlement to immunity, or claim to be clean. Their propaganda will not work. They are busy working round the clock trying to deceive, misinform the Zambian people about their crimes, it won’t work. They are busy every day trying to malign innocent people – Levy, the British government, the leadership of the Task Force on corruption, and so on and so forth. It won’t do; it won’t save them from their impending Armageddon.

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