Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rupiah’s US $13m lies

Rupiah’s US $13m lies
By Editor
Sat 14 Nov. 2009, 04:00 CAT

A president who tells lies will not have respect from his people. Lies have never been a political weapon of honest and decent politicians. It is only dishonest and low calibre politicians who resort to lies.

The problem with lies is that they are not limited to one aspect of one’s life or dealings – they are like a cancer which spreads very quickly to all parts.

Rupiah Banda’s presidency has many problems. But it is not very difficult to see why Rupiah has so many problems. A person who thinks he can run the nation on a diet of lies and half-truths the way Rupiah seems to think, soon gets into all sorts of problems. It is difficult to believe anything that Rupiah ever says. He has a problem with being honest.

We are not surprised that Rupiah has also a problem with fighting corruption. A person who has difficulties being honest about simple things can never have the courage to fight corruption. Moreover, corruption is dishonesty and as such can only be fought by people who are honest. As we have already pointed out, dishonest people deal in lies and lies cannot be used to fight corruption, to fight dishonesty. It is only honest people who can fight corruption because corruption is fought with truth. One cannot go to court and tell lies all the way and expect to secure a conviction for corruption.

It is clear that Rupiah and his minions are desperate to discredit the fight against corruption that has taken place in our country. They are scared of its consequences and are now using their power and position to frustrate this noble cause. Being liars, Rupiah and his friends are not ashamed to use lies and cheap politics to try and mislead our people. Why should a self-respecting government fight law enforcement effort? Why should politicians who are not corrupt be scared of a fight against corruption? It is only dishonest and corrupt elements who have a reason to fear the fight against corruption. This is because they know that it is only a question of time before they are visited by the law.

The neurotic maligning of those who have tried to fight corruption in our country is not innocent. Rupiah must have something he is scared of. He keeps telling our people that today it might be Frederick Chiluba, tomorrow it might be you. He said this in Kabwe where he insinuated the acquittal of Chiluba before the decision was made and now he has said the same thing in Chipata. This leads us to draw the conclusion that the reason Rupiah wants to make sure Chiluba goes scot-free is so that he can also go scot-free. To justify this evil scheme, Rupiah and his minions have shamelessly continued to tell lies about the fight against corruption.

This week in Chipata, Rupiah told the nation that the lawyers who prosecuted Chiluba for having stolen US $500,000 were paid US $13 million. Rupiah knows very well that this is a lie. And yet using his position as President, he has no shame to go on Chipata’s Breeze FM and tell lies, breathe lies to the nation. What kind of president is this? A man who can tell lies about people working for the state and paid by his government, shows us clearly that he has no commitment to honesty and integrity. If a man can tell lies about things that can so easily be disproved, what about the things that he does in the name of our people in the secrecy or privacy of his office?

It seems Rupiah and his minions have a problem with Mutembo Nchito and his role as a prosecutor. This is the only reason we can find for a president telling a lie about an ordinary citizen. We know that no Zambian lawyer has been paid US $13 million for prosecuting Chiluba over his stealing of US $500,000. We also know that it’s only one lawyer in this country who was prosecuting Chiluba in our magistrates courts for stealing, among other things, US $500,000 from the Zambian people. And that lawyer is Mutembo.

It does not make sense for Rupiah and his minons to say that they want Mutembo to continue prosecuting the corruption cases that are pending and yet continue to dishonestly malign him. Why don’t they just have the courage to fire him? Why should an entire president tell lies about a simple young lawyer? Mutembo has never been paid US $13 million for prosecuting Chiluba over the last seven years.

And even if he had been paid, did he decide what to pay himself? We all know and Rupiah also knows that George Kunda was Attorney General when Levy Mwanawasa was president. What Rupiah is doing is trying to raise public anger against a citizen whose only sin is refusing to side with what is wrong in all the work that he has done for the state, for the people of Zambia. George knows that he cannot manipulate Mutembo for stupid political schemes the way that he has been doing with Chalwe Mchenga, his personal Director of Public Prosecutions.

It is fundamentally wrong and morally repugnant for a president and entire government system to pit itself against a citizen who is working in the interest of the majority of our people; a citizen who has performed his public duty with so much honour and integrity, a citizen who has done so well in his work as evidenced by almost a 100 per cent success rate in his prosecutions. It cannot be denied that Mutembo has performed beyond expectations in the most difficult and hostile environment.

George, whose only discernable preoccupation is being Rupiah’s poisonous viper, knows the number of schemes he has hatched against Mutembo. We know this, and also know that George will stop at nothing to discredit and undermine Mutembo and his work. We are therefore not surprised that Rupiah can shamelessly tell such lies on a matter that is so easy to verify. The records are there for whoever has been paid money by his government or its agents.

If Rupiah had any decency, he would probably keep quiet about some of these matters especially at a time when those prosecuting the corruption cases against his friends continue to score successes. Yesterday, we carried a story of the conviction of Anuj Rathi and the recovery of the contract amounts fraudulently paid to him by the government.

This should be an important milestone in the fight against corruption in our country for which Mutembo and others working with him deserve credit. For the first time in the history of our country, an international conman has been sent to jail for engaging in corruption. How does Rupiah decide that it is more important to malign the fight against corruption than to acknowledge and support its successes? Instead of defending the fight and the fighters against corruption, Rupiah is doing everything possible to defend the criminals and fight the fighters against corruption.

But we know why Rupiah has to malign the fight and the fighters against corruption. He wants to justify his misdeeds on Chiluba’s acquittal. There is no need for him to continue defending Chiluba’s acquittal and his government’s decision to withdraw the appeal that was lodged against that acquittal. Rupiah will not convince anyone that this was done fairly or justly by the courts. This issue has been commented upon by the most competent individuals and institutions in this country. The Law Association of Zambia has made it clear that Rupiah’s government had no justification in not appealing. The Law Association of Zambia also found that the acquittal of Chiluba was faulty, it was not founded on good grounds. So there is no amount of propaganda, lies, calumny, deceit, manipulation and so on and so forth from Rupiah that will convince the Zambian people that the acquittal of Chiluba was a normal or usual thing that they should accept.

Rupiah’s continued campaign to justify Chiluba’s acquittal will put him in problems in the end. Rupiah will not be President forever. What Rupiah is doing today will be revealed by other people tomorrow. And the immunity he is enjoying today is not cast in stone. Rupiah and his minions are very interesting. They have been trying to create an impression that Mutembo and his firm are the only lawyers that they hired. But we all know that they hired Christopher Mundia, State Counsel, Sebastian Zulu, State Counsel, and Godfrey Kayukwa who they have now given a job to be Director General of the Anti Corruption Commission. Why don’t they talk about these other prosecutors?

Just the other week when George announced the dissolution of the Task Force in Parliament, he told the House that they were going to keep Mutembo to conclude the cases that are in court. If Mutembo is so bad, why don’t they just fire him? It is not right for a government to fight a citizen whom they are supposed to protect and especially one who is not in a position to fight back, to take them on using the same platforms.

George should be honest and tell his boss what the US $13 million they claimed to have paid the lawyers was for or where it went because it didn’t go to Mutembo for prosecuting Chiluba. Can George also tell the nation where the US $13 million his boss claims was paid to Mutembo came from?

There should be dignity and decency even in dishonesty. If George and his boss are not interested in the convictions Mutembo has been securing against their friends, they should have the courage of their convictions to ask him to leave so that their friends can be easily acquitted.

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