CHIEF Justice Irene Mambilima has urged accountants and other professionals in Zambia to make themselves active participants in the social and economic development of the country including politics.
Ms Justice Mambilima also called upon the public to report all people holding out as accountants to the relevant authorities to help rid the country of rogue accountants who always work to deter development.
She said this at AVANI Victoria Falls Hotel yesterday in a speech read for her by Supreme Court Judge Michael Musonda during the official opening of the joint annual business conference hosted by Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICA) and Chartered Institute of ManagementAccountants (CIMA).
The conference, which has attracted accounting experts across Zambia and other international speaker, is being held under the theme “Leadership and Governance: Drivers to a First World Zambia”.
Ms Justice said it was sad to note that not many chartered accountants threw their hats in the ring at the just ended General Elections held in the country.
“Unfortunately, many professionals avoid participating in politics saying it is a dirty game.
“But the tragedy of all this is that the people making the political field dirty have over-subscribed and accountants may find the space taken by others.
“Little or nothing will be achieved unless accountants rise to the occasion and take up their rightful role in Zambia’s development,” Ms Justice Mambilima said.
Ms Justice Mambilima said Zambia had massive business opportunities but the opportunities had eluded the country’s attainment of desirable growth because accountability was still lacking in many sectors of the economy starting from the household level to the national level.
Unfortunately, many professionals avoid participating in politics saying it is a dirty game.
She also urged all professionals including accountants, to look beyond employment and become employers of labour and capital.
“You are accountants, but entrepreneurship is important to you and should therefore be embraced.
“There is no country that I know that has developed without a strong middle class. When more people are employed, the middleclass (the accountant) will be contributing directly towards poverty reduction measures.
“In turn when more households are financially empowered, government will realise more tax revenue to finance various development programmes of the country,” Ms Justice Mambilima said.
And Ms Justice Mambilima has noted with sadness that some accountants and human resource professionals shield their colleagues who hold out as accountants in violation of the Accountants Act.
She said society was looking for an accountant who would put a stop to corruption and abuse of public resources.
“There are known schemes of changing job descriptions of accountants to enable those who carry out accounting work to circumvert registration under the act.
“What they forget is that the accountancy profession is a noble profession that relies on integrity and credibility of its members.
Society looks to the accountant to protect their interests in the areas of transparency and accountability,” she said.
She said accountants should help in mapping sustainable growth of the economy through effective leadership and governance systems.
Ms Justice Mambilima also said leadership was an important subject that required serious reflection across Africa.
She said it was a shame for African leaders to be subject of prosecution at the International Court of Justice at the Hague adding that leaders in Africa should promote democracy, civil liberties and rule of law.
“The high levels of poverty across Africa reflect the failure of leadership. Why should Africa continue to experience conflict and wars when the citizens of Africa can live together in harmony?
“It is important to develop the ground rules for the engagement for society and develop strong institutions to protect weaker citizens of society. Strong governance institutions are important for the development of the country so that anyone who abuses the trust placed in him or her is called to account,” she said.
Speaking at the same gathering, ZICA president Wesley Beene said the theme for this year’s conference was seeking seeks to highlight the role which the accountancy profession plays in Zambia.
Mr Beene said the accountancy profession was offering leadership and governance with full determination to drive the country from being a third world to a first world economy.
‘Let me also take this opportunity to commend my fellow accountants for the key role they have continued to play in fostering national development.
“The accountants are gate keepers of the good governance for effective leadership. Good leadership and good governance are central to the meaningful development of any country,” he said.