Should we trust and vote for presidential candidates whose sources of campaign funds cannot easily be determined? Should we trust and vote for candidates who have included in their campaign teams any of the individuals whose election to the National Assembly was nullified due to electoral malpractice?
And should we trust and vote for candidates who have accepted the endorsements and/or financial contributions of those amongst our fellow citizens who are alleged to have been involved in corrupt activities?
Well, if we trust and vote for such candidates, we should as well ditch our quest for a government that is truly geared to spearhead the fight against the scourge of corruption, and we should also not be surprised when our country’s development partners decide to withhold their support on account of our apparent indifference to corruption!
Why? Because, if candidates who are supported or surrounded by those who are known or alleged to have engaged in corrupt practices succeed in securing the people’s mandate to form government, they are likely to ensure that their supporters and financiers are shielded from prosecution for any corruption-related offences.
Zambians have been yearning for a system of justice that is fair, impartial, and independent in both word and deed. So, we need to elect a candidate who is not likely to undermine our country’s laws in order to protect the interests of his or her supporters and financiers.
if candidates who are supported or surrounded by those who are known or alleged to have engaged in corrupt practices succeed in securing the people’s mandate to form government, they are likely to ensure that their supporters and financiers are shielded from prosecution for any corruption-related offences
With respect to the assistance we periodically receive from our country’s development partners, there is no doubt that such assistance has continued to bolster our efforts to address some of the problems facing our country and its people.
We should, therefore, be grateful for their support in different fields and sectors of our country, including agriculture, decentralization, education, energy, gender, governance, health, housing, HIV/AIDS, macroeconomics, private sector development, science and technology, tourism, water, transportation infrastructure, social protection, and the fragile natural environment.
But such assistance may not continue to be rendered if we vote for a candidate who is not likely to pursue alleged perpetrators of corruption without fear or favor.
We are tired of having government officials who use the existence of the Anti-Corruption Commission as window dressing for donors and other international observers, and who use the Commission as a tool for harassing critics and political opponents!
Ultimately, we need to be mindful of the reasons why we should wage a vicious war against corruption. We should do so because corruption has continued to subvert the political process in our beloved country; it has continued to have a negative effect on our ability to meet the basic needs and expectations of the people; it has continued to undermine honest enterprise; it has continued to have a negative effect on foreign direct investment; it has continued to tarnish our country’s image; and it has continued to erode our country’s moral fiber.
But like any other cancerous problem confronting us today, corruption cannot be effectively fought without first understanding its causes. Since our country’s independence in 1964, we have continued to witness an escalation in the incidence of corruption caused by a diversity of factors.
One of such causes has been our tendency to vote for or against candidates on the basis of their political affiliations, ethnic extraction, and/or religious convictions in spite of their apparent moral turpitude.
Today, more than ever before, our country needs a presidential candidate and a political party whose goals and policies are comprehensive, radical, but realistic enough to significantly overhaul its socio-economic system so that it can adequately meet the needs and expectations of our generation, and the needs and expectations of future generations.
By Henry Kyambalesa