A PLEA TO MY FELLOW MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT FROM THE ENTIRE HOUSE
Lucky Mulusa, MP.
I have learnt with mild shock that there will be a motion to lift our fourth President Mr Rupiah Banda’s (RB) immunity on Friday 15th March, 2013. Mild shock because PF are so predictable! I am here in Addis Ababa at the African Union on Pan African Parliamentary duties, together with Hon Mazoka, and Hon. Mucheleka. Not that our presence would make any difference to the outcome. But we will definitely miss registering ourselves on the right side of history. We feel a sense of betrayal to the provision of the real solution that our country needs. This solution does not lie with lifting of immunities of successive past Presidents, but lies with improving the public financial management landscape by amendments to existing legislation.
When Levy Mwanawasa lifted Frederick Chiluba’s immunity, he neglected to tighten the screws on the environment that made Chiluba commit the misdemeanours he was accused of committing. This was a disservice to the nation by one of very few Zambians who deserve the title of State Counsel. Mwanawasa therefore left a legacy in which a weak Finance Management Act is used as a self-serving trap by sitting governments. They neglect to amend it as it provides fertile ground for their wrong doing and the succeeding government uses it to prosecute departing governments but also fails to amend it either, as it provides fertile ground for them and their cronies to access state resources.
In convincing our collective conscious that lifting of RB’s immunity is premature, misplaced and an act of vengeance by a few, let us understand why the vultures in the PF are behaving the way they are. Contemporary politics in Zambia is best understood as the exercise of neopatrimonial power. According to several authors, neopatrimonialism is where leaders use state resources in order to secure the loyalty of supporters in the general population. It is an informal ruler-supporter relationship that in Zambia stretches from state house down through individuals in big institutions to small villages. Scholars warn that neopatrimonialism may replace the bureaucratic structures of the state in that only those with connections have the real power, not those who hold higher positions. It is also said to undermine political institutions and the rule of law. It is further said to be a corrupt practice.
As an emerging new generation of leadership, we should be concerning ourselves with correcting the underlying conditions that give birth to corrupt practices from government to government rather than bury ourselves in serving personal revenge motives by petty small little criminals with warped minds. Let us not be used by the personal motives of the group of five in PF who are on a war path to satisfy whatever pain they suffered from the past. I have said it before that the high toxic levels of an insatiable appetite to inflict pain on PF’s perceived enemies, is a threat to the state of our co-existence. Had Mandela’s ANC followed that path, there would have been no South Africa today as we know it.
I urge you all fellow Members of Parliament regardless of the political party you belong to, or your personal situation, that tomorrow provides you with an opportunity to be on the right side of history. Some of you might be holding ministerial positions but why should you be used in a venture that does not serve the nation but serves the interest of a few? Some of the people behind the push of lifting the immunity, and who will superintend over any confiscated assets are right now in court preventing the public from knowing what they did with the missing assets grabbed from a similar exercise in the past. How can you be so easy to fool as a people?
I would be so glad to participate in the motion to remove RB’s immunity if the right steps had been taken and the right people were involved. These steps would have involved; review of the public finance management environment to show commitment to protecting public resources; and prosecution of wrong doers previously linked to RB and using overwhelming evidence from their testimony that indeed RB was complicity to the wrong acts.
None of these actions have taken place. All former Ministers and Permanent Secretaries are still free and no Auditor General’s report is suggesting any wrong doing on the part of RB. Instead we have people who are corrupt to the core and have refused to subject themselves to our democratic institutions such as the ACC championing a self-serving fight against corruption. We have people committing economic crimes using our food security championing the fight against corruption! God forbid!
If Mwanawasa had lived, his immunity would have been lifted by the PF. Sata’s immunity needs also to be lifted! What more with the unconstitutional allocation of Kr1.5m to the first lady, and Kr1.4m to Sata’s retirement home when the constitution clearly states when he qualifies to receive such benefits? Let us be done with this nonsense of immunity – nobody needs it. We are reviewing our constitution right now and the PF is telling us that we don’t need it in our statutes.
PF has no allegiance to anyone but to the five individuals who reign supreme in the party. Even if you follow Winter Kabimba’s directive tomorrow, it buys you no security of tenure. You will be serving Kabimba’s interest whereas he has no regard for yours whatsoever. This is the man whose interest you will be serving tomorrow by voting in favour of removing RB’s immunity. Reflect!
PF MPs, MMD and UPND compromised MPs holding deputy ministerial positions – reflect! Fear only your creator! Most of you are young and you are going nowhere in the next 5, 10, 20, 30 or even 40 years. How are you going to be part of this society when people you wish to serve do not even have a life span longer than yours and can ditch you at the stroke of greed? How many times have you worried for the worst in your lives but you are still alive? Side with reason tomorrow and you will be happy you did – allow the right procedure and the right people to wage noble wars. Do you know one criminal basis on which you will be voting to remove RB’s immunity? If so which one? Who has supplied it and when? Has it been proven in any criminal proceeding? If your conscious is not clear and you belong to PF or you are a compromised opposition MP, simply stay away and you will be happy you did – for that will be your excuse for those on the right side of history to accept you as part of this emerging crop of leadership.
Lucky Mulusa, MP.
Solwezi Central Constituency