Shame of Ndola


WHAT a shame and disgrace that it had to take the republican Vice President to go to Ndola to calm tempers among ruling party officials and prove that Copperbelt provincial minister Bowman Lusambo was indeed right that Ndola City Council is reeking with corruption. Where are the State organs mandated by the Constitution and the Zambian people to fight such vices on their behalf? Even worse it was disgusting that the initiators of illegal land allocation on the Copperbelt can organise Patriotic Front youths to shout anti-Lusambo slogans while welcoming Vice President Inonge Wina at Ndola airport and try to stop people believed to support Mr Lusambo in his corruption crusade not to enter the airport reception area. Today these officials must be hanging their heads in shame after the Vice President lambasted them and Ndola City Council for breaking the law with impunity by engaging in criminal activities of selling and allocating land illegally. We are not surprised by what is going on in Ndola because last week alone we reported the case of residents being up in arms against Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company supplying contaminated water to its customers. The council must have known and id nothing. The following day Mr Lusambo uncovered the scam where Ndola council officers and councillors had allocated plots to developers along the Kafubu dambo without the knowledge or approval of the Ministry of Lands. Once exposed, the corrupt officials, instead of being remorseful and apologise for embarrassing the ruling party, have chosen to fight the provincial minister who is no doubt simply carrying out orders from above. President Lungu has anchored his new five-year term on fighting corruption in his administration which he believes is the cause of poverty which is making life miserable for majority Zambians. He promised to fire all those found wanting. He launched his crusade last week by publicly promising to dismiss some members of his Cabinet who he accused of amassing illegal wealth. He said he was shocked to receive reports that some of his ministers were depositing huge sums of money in other people’s bank accounts ad withdrawing the money a few days later. It was a shocking and sad revelation to many Zambians who applauded the President for going public about the scandal and not mincing his words about what he intended to do with the culprits. Now minor party and council officials in Ndola want to undermine the President’s war on corruption by openly fighting those he has directed to  achieve his goal. This is an appalling case of indiscipline which cannot be allowed to take root. What is happening in Ndola can best be described as a conspiracy by a cabal of corrupt party officials who happen to be councillors and Government officials to have Mr Lusambo removed from his position so that they can continue to sell land illegally and enrich themselves at the expense of residents who are powerless to intervene. Mr Lusambo is a marked man because he walked into a den of criminals ready to devour anyone who dares disturb their peace as they ransack the resources of Ndola town like a pack of hungry wild dogs. This is what is called grand corruption: the collusion of elected officials to enrich themselves by abusing public resources on the basis that they were untouchable members of the political elite. What happened at Ndola airport yesterday is unforgivable – indiscipline and misconduct of the worst type. We call upon the leadership of the Patriotic Front to help the President clean up our towns and cities of massive and petty corruption which is making the PF’s pro-poor stance a mockery. We cannot allow a bunch of criminals camouflaged as civic leaders, as Mr Lusambo appropriately described them, to hold the local government system to ransom by abusing their power for personal gain and fighting anyone who dares say ‘no’ to their criminality. Vice President Wina was in Ndola yesterday and confirmed for herself that ‘‘people are breaking the law with impunity’’. What other evidence does the Anti-Corruption Commission, the police and the ruling party need to move in and stop the rot? This inertia, this organised resistance by instruments of good governance, to support the President in his endeavour to rid the country of wrongdoing, is puzzling. Could it be they too are beneficiaries of what they are mandated to fight?