Graft fight

There are many reasons why anti-corruption campaigns fail.

The first and most important is that such campaigns are simply meant to vilify and seek retribution against perceived regime enemies, who should be obliterated politically by subjecting them to shame and scandal.

Such campaigns are sustained for the period in which the victims are paraded through the press and the courts and thereafter dissipate.

 In essence the campaign is nothing more than a ‘‘lynch mobs whose intentions are less than noble’’ and merchants of malice.

Unfortunately, this appears to be the case at the moment and in the recent past.

Our Anti-Corruption Commission cannot escape the accusation of having been used in the past by less noble lynch mobs to target, sometimes innocent individuals in its fight against corruption.

This accusation is evidenced by the institution’s lack of a proactive stance as it goes about its work today with glaring cases of open corruption passing without comment or observation.

While we agree that investigating corruption is tedious and long, it is unacceptable that our anti-graft agency sometimes takes many years to conclude inquiries.

It is even more frustrating that experts are hardly used in investigations, which tend to be limited to the terms and conditions of a tender rather than the spirit of the document.

Many times the tender is deliberately flawed to give  undue advantage in a manner that is coated in technical verbiage that would not be understood by an ordinary policeman who may be invited to participate in the opening of a tender.

Going forward, there is need for the Anti-Corruption Commission to be an independent body which should command the respect of all, by being meticulous and thorough. This is only possible if experts in the field are asked to participate in investigations. Investigation officers cannot be masters of all trades.

There should be timely investigation of cases by men and women of integrity with the results being quickly communicated to the public and affected individuals.

The anti-graft officers should be the first to live the idiom  “justice delayed is justice denied”.

While those accused should be cleared in the shortest possible time, the guilty should as quickly as possible face the wrath of the law.

There should be no room for two different investigation systems which prescribe laws for the rich and powerful and another for the poor and less influential.

President Lungu has spoken against protecting any corrupt official in his Government and this should inspire the Anti-Corruption Commission to double up its efforts in the anti-graft fight.

But this should not make the ACC ‘trigger happy’ to embarrass top officials when there is no tangible evidence against them.

The catch phrase is for the ACC to work in line with its prescribed mandate and apply the law fairly, firmly and accordingly – regardless of who is involved.

It would be a disservice to Zambians for the ACC to be seen to be remote-controlled by ‘‘lynch mobs with less than noble causes’’ to embarrass real or perceived enemies.