By Antonio Mwanza
Day in and day out, Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) has been issuing statements, condemning and accusing President Edgar Lungu of not acting on the perceived corruption allegations in his Government. When the President doesn’t act, they condemn him for not acting; when he acts, they still condemn him for acting. The question is, what really is it that TIZ wants the President to do?
On Thursday, this week, President Edgar Lungu instructed Home Affairs Minister, Stephen Kampyongo to ensure the case regarding the 48 houses is probed to its logical conclusion.
This followed a revelation by the Anti Corruption Commission Acting Director General, Rosemary Khuzwayo when she featured on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview that the Commission has closed inquiries in the case of the 48 Houses because there was no one who came forward to claim ownership.
Following the announcement made by the Anti Corruption Commission, the President issued a directive, instructing the Minister of Home Affairs, through the agencies that fall under his Ministry to collaborate and ensure the case regarding the said 48 houses was investigated further.
However, in a bizarre turn of events, TIZ an entity which claims to be a champion in the fight against corruption, on Friday issued a scathing statement condemning the President for acting on the case; they accused the President of interference.
2. HERE ARE THE FACTS
a) As Head of State and Head of Government, the President has a Constitutional mandate to ensure that all government wings are discharging their functions and duties in an efficient and effective manner to the satisfaction and expectation of the Zambian people.
It is the job of the President to ensure that every wing of Government operates in accordance to the Constitution and Acts that establish them.
Article 91 of the Republican Constitution is very instructive in this regard; it vests the exercise of all Executive Authority in the Presidency.
Article 91. (1) states, “There shall be a President of the Republic who shall be the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Force.
(2) The executive authority of the State vests in the President and, subject to this Constitution, shall be exercised directly by the President or through public officers or other persons appointed by the President.
b) In accordance to the Constitution and the Anti-Corruption Act No. 3 of 2012, the President is the one that appoints the Director General and all the Commissioners of the Anti- Corruption Commission.
Even though all State Commissions enjoy autonomy in the discharge of their duties, it goes without saying that all those appointed by the President are answerable to him as their appointing authority.
No one can claim that he is above reproach; even the President himself is accountable to the people.
So, for TIZ to be condemning and accusing the President of interference for directing his Home Affairs Minister to make sure that the Zambian people are given clear answers with regards to the 48 houses, is quite bizarre and disgusting.
TIZ is being hypocritical. Their stance on this matter is unfortunate and very counter – productive.
Does TIZ expect the President to keep quiet and go to sleep when there is public outcry and discontent over the manner in which ACC has dealt with the matter of the 48 houses?
Does TIZ expect the President as Head of State and Government to turn a blind eye when everyone has been beseeching the Presidency to intervene in the case of the 48 houses?
Does TIZ expect the President, as Head of State, Head of Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces to just sit and watch while those he has appointed and entrusted with the authority to fight corruption and deliver justice on behalf of the Zambian people exhibit a lacklustre and laissez faire attitude towards their duty?
Let us learn to support those in leadership when they do that which is right.
We cannot make it a habit to condemn and oppose everything that our leaders do just for the sake of it.
We know and understand that TIZ needs that donor funding but do they have to contradict themselves in their desperate attempt to impress their funders?
It is shameful.
The Author is PF Deputy Media Director