Friday, July 16, 2010

It’s just a matter of time

It’s just a matter of time
By Editor
Fri 16 July 2010, 04:00 CAT

Corruption is increasingly becoming deep-rooted in Zambia. And it doesn’t help anyone to deny its ever-growing presence in all our institutions of the state and government.

It seems this government has deliberately chosen to defend corruption and, as far as possible, deny its presence. It is not surprising that Ronnie Shikapwasha has chosen to dismiss the results of the Transparency International Zambia 2009 Zambia Bribe Payers’ Index without even reading them.

What can one expect from a government that does not want to accept and recognise the judgment it has obtained against corrupt elements in a matter initiated by itself in the London High Court? George Kunda, now Vice-President, when he was Attorney General and Minister of Justice, took a matter of corruption involving Frederick Chiluba and others to the High Court in London and obtained a favourable judgment showing that Chiluba and his friends were involved in corruption.

The London High Court ordered Chiluba and his tandem of thieves to pay back what they had stolen from the Zambian people. What we see today is reluctance by this same George, this same government to enforce that judgment against Chiluba. They have even gone to hire this same corrupt man, Chiluba, according to George, as their political advisor and consultant. Today Chiluba is going round the Copperbelt campaigning for them to continue in power.

And it is this same George who, as Minister of Justice and Attorney General, got Chiluba, together with his wife and others, to be prosecuted in our magistrates' courts for corruption. They secured the conviction of Chiluba’s wife, Regina, but have serious difficulties accepting that conviction, and today are doing everything possible to ensure that the state’s case against her is bungled in her appeal. This follows the acquittal they procured for her husband in the same courts. And this is the government that vehemently refused to have the highly questionable acquittal of Chiluba appealed by the state.

They are today claiming that the prosecution of Chiluba and others around him was political. If it was political, who was behind this politics if it is not this same George? The truth is that this is a government that has abandoned a legitimate fight against corruption. And the reasons for doing so seem to be many. First, this is because this government itself is corrupt, and fighting corruption will be fighting against itself. It is a government that can’t survive without corruption. Second, political survival for this government takes precedence over everything else, including the fight against corruption.

They believe Chiluba can win them support of the Copperbelt and of the Bemba-speaking people in the Northern and Luapula provinces of our country. And for this reason, a reprieve from corruption charges is considered to be necessary for him to work for them. Third, they are scared of being treated in the same way when their time to leave office comes.

And Rupiah Banda has made this very clear - that today, it’s Chiluba, tomorrow it may be you; or rather himself. To us, this is what really scares them. And this may explain why today they want to change the corruption laws of this country so that their abuses of public office go unprosecuted. They know they have been abusing their offices and they also know that they cannot continue to govern without abusing their offices; they can’t survive politically and otherwise without corruption. And because they are not able to stop their own corrupt practices, they seem to have no choice but to come up with a piece of legislation that renders their corruption, their abuse of public office not an offence.

It is easy to understand why they have the courage to deny corruption where it is visibly clear. People who can have the courage to come up with legislation that effectively sanction, condone, abate and encourage abuse of public office can never be in a position to see anything corrupt as truly being corrupt. They have lost sense of what corruption means. What many people would see as corruption, to them, that may simply be a legitimate act of initiative. They have no sense of what corruption means. This is why MMD cadres can go to the Ministry of Home Affairs and claim payment for goods or services that were never supplied, and the top leadership of the party writes to the permanent secretary to assist these criminals, these thieves to get payment for goods or services they have never supplied or rendered to government. And when this is exposed by the media, nothing happens, no corruption charges are brought against those involved in this conspiracy to defraud government.

This is a government that does not feel ashamed to award contracts to corrupt elements who have no capacity whatsoever to do the jobs they are being paid for as long as those in government and their party benefit. This is a government where family members of those in control of government are openly in charge of government business. They are the ones procuring work for RP Capital to value assets of Zamtel and are in charge of all sorts of things. To them, this is straight business and there is nothing wrong or corrupt about it. It is not abuse of office. And if it is abuse of office, it should not be seen as a corrupt practice that should be prosecuted by their government.

It is, therefore, not surprising that the target for the hostility of this government are institutions and individuals that are involved in fighting corruption. And looking at things in this way, it’s easier to understand and appreciate why Transparency International Zambia appears to be one of the top enemies of this government. It is this that should explain why their genuinely good work and intentions is smeared by elements like Shikapwasha, why there appears to be a permanent quest on their part to bring such institutions and individuals down. Genuine goodness is always threatening to those at the opposite end of the moral spectrum.

Again, there is no alternative for those who want a better society, a more fair, just and humane nation but to fight the vice of corruption. It is said that human life is a continuous battle on earth. Therefore, fight like good soldiers of Christ. None will be crowned except the one who fights in the lawful manner – “I have fought the good fight; for the rest there is laid up for me a crown of justice”. Truly, life is a battle, and in this battle, there are those who fight like ordinary soldiers, there are the captains and there is also the forward sentry. There are also the deserters who, tired and lacking in confidence, flee the arena; there are also the shirkers who, under a thousand pretexts, hide themselves; and finally there are those who idly stand watching, applauding or sneering. There are also the traitors who take the enemy’s side.

The corrupt schemes and practices of this government will not go unpunished. Even Chiluba, who they think they have rescued from punishment, as long as he lives will not go unpunished. Acquittals obtained and sustained corruptly will not permanently stand in the way of justice. One day, they will answer for all these abuses and thefts. It’s just a matter of time.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home