Monday, January 14, 2013

'Arrest those who stole public funds'

'Arrest those who stole public funds'
By The Post
Mon 14 Jan. 2013, 16:30 CAT

Mwene Kahare, chief of the Nkoya-speaking people of the newly-created Nkeyema district of Western Province, says all MMD leaders who stole public funds should be arrested so that it serves as a warning to other leaders.

And Mwene Kahare warns that, "if this government does not deal firmly with these people, they will be sending a wrong signal to others out there.

People will start thinking it's okay to steal public funds, so they should be arrested. Stealing of public funds should not be allowed to become a normal trend in our society because it is bad. The country will be destroyed if stealing of public funds is allowed to take centre stage." We wish all our people, including all our traditional, religious, civic and political leaders, could see things this way.

We need to take the call made by Mwene Kahare for the arrest of those who stole public funds, abused their public offices and trust, seriously. We know that the Anti Corruption Commission is listening; the Drug Enforcement Commission has understood; the police and the Director of Public Prosecutions have heard what the Mwene is saying. We also know that Michael Sata and his colleagues in the Patriotic Front government have read the words of the Mwene on corruption.

What remains is action and action at an unprecedented speed and intensity because corruption has to be fought with all the urgency, tenacity and militancy they can marshal. The other week we were panicking over army worms and the leaders were swinging into action to take them on. Emmanuel Chenda, Sylvia Masebo and others were out in the fields assessing, strategising, drawing up plans for action against the danger and invasion of army worms. The fight against corruption demands the same urgency, tenacity and militancy.

We need to build a different type of society - one in which there is honesty, integrity, morality and solidarity.

A life of dishonesty and double standards will get us nowhere twice as fast. "Thoughts lead onto purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny," said Tyron Edwards. Proverbs asserts, "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches." Character is something you either have or are. Don't try to make something for yourself; instead, try to make something of yourself.

Character is the real foundation of all worthwhile success. Success that comes from stealing, from corruption, dishonesty and vice is not worthwhile because it undermines character - the real foundation of all worthwhile success.

Whenever you are tempted to be dishonest in discharging a public function, you are tempted to be corrupt, a good question to ask yourself is: "What kind of world would this world be if everyone were just like me?" You are simply an open book telling the world about its author. John Merely once remarked, "No man can climb out beyond the limitations of his own character."

Never be ashamed of doing right because even wrongdoers want to be seen as people who are doing the right thing. It is for this reason that even the worst crook pretends to be an honest person, a decent human being and nobody admits being corrupt. Even after being found wanting by the courts, Frederick Chiluba and his tandem of thieves never admitted to being thieves. Even after being jailed for corruption, some of Chiluba's corrupt lieutenants still carry themselves as innocent and decent men who were maliciously sent to prison.

And today it is these same people carrying out a malicious and mendacious campaign against those who they think caused their imprisonment for corruption and are calling them all sorts of names.

When attempts are made to prosecute the corrupt, their first line of defence is to cry political victimisation. So, every crook, every thief, every scoundrel wants to be seen to be clean, incorruptible and doing the right thing. If crooks are struggling to project themselves as doing the right thing, then there must be something very noble, very right in doing the right thing. Marcus Aurelius exhorted, "Never esteem as of advantage to thee that which shall make thee break thy word or lose thy self-respect." W.J. Dawson counselled, "You need not choose evil; but only to fail to choose good, and you drift fast enough towards evil."

There is no such thing as necessary evil. Phillip Brooks said, "A man who lives right and is right has more power in his silence than another has by his words."

Would your reputation recognise your character if they met in the dark? Desire what David requested: "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me" (Psalms 51:10). To change your character, you must begin at the control centre - the heart.

A bankruptcy of character is inevitable when you are no longer able to keep the interest paid on your moral obligations.

Henry Ward Beecher said, "No man can tell whether he is rich or poor by turning to his ledger. It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is, not according to what he has." Live so that your friends can defend you, but never have to do so. Consider what Woodrow Wilson said: "If you think about what you ought to do for people, your character will take care of itself."

Excellence in character is shown by doing unwitnessed what we would be doing with the whole world watching. Leadership is doing what is right when no one is watching.

You are called to grow like a tree, not like a mushroom. It's hard to climb high when your character is low. The world's best sermon is preached by the traffic sign 'Keep Right'.

Indeed, we have to 'Keep Right' and do the right things at all times. When people have abused public funds and offices, the right thing to do and as demanded by law is to have them arrested and prosecuted. And Mwene Kahare is just reminding us about the need to do the right thing - and in these circumstances, it means arresting and prosecuting those who stole public funds and abused public offices.

We have no doubt whatsoever that Rupiah Banda, his sons and other associates stole public funds and abused their public offices. And as such, and in accordance with what Mwene Kahare is saying, they should be arrested, prosecuted and jailed. We are waiting for this, the nation is waiting for this and the honest leadership of this country is waiting for this!

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