Will the PF win the fight against Corruption?

The fight against corruption in Zambia can not and will never achieve any significant milestones until it is cleansed of the curse of political manipulation. From the regime of President Chiluba right to the current PF regime, the fight against corruption has been a huge campaign incentive to secure public support by politicians devoid of genuine desire, action and leadership.
The PF for one campaigned on the platform of zero tolerance to corruption while accusing the Rupiah Banda lead administration of abandoning the crusade against corruption. Unfortunately, The PF regime’s fight against corruption has received more lip service than the much needed political tenacity, action and leadership that is essential for actualizing a corruption free society that Zambians have always aspired for. While the media has been referred to as a court of first indictment and court of last resort, corruption cannot be fought and won using the media and more so in a situation where the media is seen to be compromised.
The state, lead by the executive should be magnanimous, impartial, firm and fair when it comes to dealing with issues of corruption.  Does the PF regime posses these traits? The current fight against corruption, like the one waged under Mwanawasa seems to be less holistic and more inclined to those who served in the past regime. Could this imply that the current regime is corruption free? Isn’t this the same mistake Mwanawasa made that while he was busy with corruption in the 10 years of Chiluba, the looters in his own administration were having a field day under his captaincy.
Our political governance system can not be described any better than in the words of George Orwell in his popular book the Animal Farmwhen he wrote that “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”.  How else would one describe a society in which those who are not members of the ruling clique are perpetually harassed and embarrassed by the political machinery while those in power and connected to the“powers that be” can display blatant impunity and disrespect of the rule of law right under the nose and watchful eye of a political leadership that claims to be allergic to corruption? In the aftermath of the PF ascendancy to power and the pronouncement by President Michael Sata that he was allergic to corruption had given the nation some hope of real and genuine political tenacity and leadership in the fight against corruption which has always been a missing factor and or weak link in this crusade. However, the events that followed later clearly demonstrated that the fight against corruption in Zambia is simply a political arsenal for lynching political opponents and suppressing divergent views.
The moment one gets connected to the corridors of power, political immunity against prosecution is guaranteed. The PF government must ask itself why, while the nation acknowledges that corruption is a cancer that needs to be fought with all vigor, stakeholders still remain divided on how the fight has been waged so far? While it is acknowledged that MMD officials are being pursued for corruption because of having been in charge of national affairs for two decades, the PF need to answer why corruption allegations involving its own kith and kin are being swept under the carpet?
It is on record that President Michael Sata asked the Anti Corruption Commission to inform him and ask for permission if they want to commence investigations against senior party and government officials at a time when the commission was pursing serious corruption allegations against Hon. Wynter Kabimba, Minister of Justice and   Hon. GeoffreyMwambaMinister of Defense. Why should an autonomous and professional Public Institution such as the ACC get permission from the President to carry out their lawful duties?  Where in our laws is the ACC required to get permission or inform the President about officials they intend to investigate? What is the purpose of informing the President when the ACC’s autonomy is guaranteed under the ACC act of 2012 article 5? Is it not reasonable to assume that the President interfered with the work of the ACC and technically predetermined the out come of the Wynter and GBM investigations? Would it be wrong to conclude that the ACC was in a way intimated by the President because this had not consulted him on this particular issue?
There are a number of unanswered questions that makes the current fight against corruption highly questionable. Soon after the PF came into power, the President constituted a number Commissions of Inquiry including the inquiry to look into the sell of Finance Bank Zambia limited to First Rand Bank of South Africa and the inquiry on oil procurement. In a very interesting turn of events, the PF government reversed the sale of Finance Bank barely a week after constituting the commission of inquiry and to date no explanation or reason has been given to the nation as to why to decision was reversed. The conduct of the executive on the FBZ Commission of Inquiry would later resonate well with the manner in which the state intervened in and handled the issue of Zambezi Portland, a company in which FBZ has an interest in, confirming that indeed those close to the PF regime have immunityagainst prosecution and indeed are above the law. What about the infamous ZMK 14 billion DBZ scandal involving the friends of the PF and our DPP? What is the position of the state on this issue?  Is it too much to ask that those who have been elected into public office including the President to clarify to usmatters of public interest such as the DBZ saga other than allowing gossip and speculation to be the order of the day? The President took a very bold step to divulge information relating to personal wealth of HH, the leader of opposition UPND and an outspoken critic of the PF regime even though people may not have been really interested in knowing how much HH is worth than knowing the PF‘s response to the allegedly human rights violations and abuse of the rule of law. Could this be a good sign that the President is now breaking the mute policy on critical national issues that has characterized his regime? If yes, can the President also tell us the outcome of all the Commissions of Inquiry instituted by the PF regime since 2011?
Can the President clear the air on the ZMK14 billion DBZ saga? Can the President explain the role of the state in the affairs surrounding Zambezi Portland and Dr. Matani?It would be also good to hear what defense our government has for allegations of human rights violation as advanced by the opposition parties other than the dossier detailing HH‘s personal wealth. By the way, wouldn’t it not been appropriate if the disclosure of HH’s wealth to the nation and later to Commonwealth came from a common political cadre than fromthe Head of State? Will the PF win the fight against corruption? Posterity will judge.

Nicholas Phiri
Political and Social Analyst: email national.indaba@yahoo.com