Friday, December 11, 2009
By George Chellah
Fri 11 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT
FORMER defence minister George Mpombo yesterday described President Rupiah Banda's statements on the fight against corruption as empty and hollow rhetoric. And Mpombo said President Banda should refrain from indulging in reckless and naked tribalism because it could plunge the country into chaos.
Reacting to President Banda's speech, which was read by Vice-President George Kunda during the commemoration of the International Anti-Corruption Day in Lusaka on Wednesday, Mpombo said President Banda was not the right person to handle the fight against corruption.
“President Banda is certainly the wrong man to tackle issues of corruption given what has been obtaining. Even the recent policy he launched is a product of the late Levy Mwanawasa,” Mpombo said.
“And he President Banda should give credit to the late president and George Kunda is there to attest to those facts. So that policy is part of the Mwanawasa legacy and President Banda will also leave his legacy of tribalism.”
He insisted that President Banda was not the right person to champion the fight against corruption.
“Given the numerous sagas, the communication saga Zamtel sale, fuel procurement… in fact he has mishandled the whole matter regarding Chiluba to the extent that he has put his own credibility into question,” he said.
He said even the recent concerns raised by the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) on the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) did not augur well.
“It paints a picture that the system is not there for fair play. Zambians are flabbergasted, they think that they are being led to a garden path,” Mpombo said.
“They are able to see that the President in as far as the fight against corruption is concerned has exhibited a namby-pamby sort of attitude. He has shown that kind of attitude.”
He said Zambians no longer took President Banda seriously when he talked about the fight against corruption.
“He is not coherent, his utterances are never accompanied by action. All the time it's empty and hollow rhetoric. Zambians are frustrated,” Mpombo said. “It's time that words from the President must begin to mean something for the people.”
He said President Banda should not be gloating over the anti-corruption policy because the policy was left by the late Mwanawasa.
“The recent policy on corruption is a product of the Levy legacy because that policy was done some three or four years ago and approved by Levy's Cabinet. So they must not be selective when talking about the legacy,” Mpombo said.
“Therefore, that policy he was just launching it on behalf of Levy… everything such as consultation was done during the period of the late Mwanawasa. It's not a product of the eight months of President Banda.”
He advised President Banda to refrain from indulging in tribalism because it could plunge the country into chaos.
“If these tribal tendencies continue, they may turn the government into a cesspool of tribalism. He must begin to walk the talk, both on tribalism and corruption,” he said.
On Wednesday, President Banda called on Zambians to play a proactive role in the fight against corruption.
President Banda said the government had already demonstrated its commitment to fighting corruption through various measures and interventions put in place.
He said society would achieve the intended results if everyone got involved in the fight against corruption.
“My government has continued to demonstrate its commitment to the fight against corruption through various measures and interventions that have been put in place to fight this scourge. Further, in August this year, my government launched the National Anti Corruption Policy which will ensure that the fight against corruption is well coordinated and meaningful,” President Banda said.
“However, for us to achieve the desired results, it will require that all Zambians take a keen interest in the implementation of this policy and play a proactive role in the fight against corruption. As I have always said on similar occasions before, the war against corruption is the responsibility of everyone.”
President Banda said the government had further demonstrated its desire to remove corruption in the public service through the launch of the code of ethics.
And on President Banda's sending of Copperbelt minister Mwansa Mbulakulima and permanent secretary Villie Lombanya to meet Lamba chiefs and resolve the issues pertaining to Gabriel Namulambe's observations on the Mwanawasa legacy, Mpombo described the mission as an exercise in futility.
“Whatever happens, the people here Ndola rural are deeply aggrieved over the policies such as the fertiliser programme and insults against Mwanawasa and the persecution of people who are perceived to have been close to Mwanawasa,” said Mpombo. “Even the party they have a long way to go in Ndola Rural. I think very little is left of MMD in Ndola rural.”