As opposition UPND President Hakainde Hichilema weighs in on this such important issue, it may be useful for Zambians to be reminded of why we are concerned about the allegations raised in this issue.
In Zambia, the Presidency is the embodiment and epitome of who we not only are, but also the national character we collectively aspire to.
This is why nearly all, if not all things under the umbrella of our Republican Constitution, including the vastness of our natural resource endowments – from minerals, wildlife, water bodies and all land, are vested in the hands of the President. He is the guardian and custodian of it all.
He commands that much power and control and that his word alone is itself law upon pronouncement.
And while our system of laws have theoretical safeguards in place to regulate the fullest extent of Presidential powers, there really exists no practical limits to what the PRESIDENT can or cannot do.
And therein lies the danger to all of us.
Dr. Chishimba Kambwili bravely went on the record yesterday, detailing how very close associates of the Republican PRESIDENT have been named in an active drugs related criminal investigation in the United States of America. Of course, this is not an indictment of the Republican PRESIDENT himself. However, it does and should raise very serious concerns about the nature and extent of the President’s association with such individuals.
At a bare minimum, these allegations have the potential to damage trust and confidence in the PRESIDENT and the entirety of the Presidency, as it calls into great question the judgement of the man occupying the highest and most powerful office in the land.
Not only this, an active association by the PRESIDENT with individuals subject of such serious criminal investigations also begin to call into question the President’s ability to act in the best interest of the public, when such associations have the potential to have him conflicted at the very highest level.
There are in fact active reports, that this named individual and others within his circles have been influencing how appointments to key public positions are effected. There are already very serious doubts about the Board Chairmanship at ZESCO and how this came to be, as well as certain key appointments inside the Presidency itself.
Zambians cannot afford a technical or actual STATE CAPTURE. Zambians need a PRESIDENT that will actively be working for them and focussing on serving the national interest and not that of purported criminal cartels. And because of the nature of the criminal investigations surrounding the named individuals and the close association they share with the PRESIDENT and the Presidency, to the extent of routinely sharing the Presidential Jet and consistently being part of the Presidential travelling party on official visits, notably Swaziland, concerns are now being raised about the potential for a public office and the officer occupying it to be used as conduits and accomplices to criminal activities.
Of course, all these are only intimations but they are firmly rooted in active events.
As a matter of moving forward, it is absolutely imperative, that our Law Enforcement Agencies open up active lines of enquiry and liaison with their counterparts in the United States of America for purposes of getting a fuller understanding of the nature of this inquiry, as well as whether or not enough grounds exist for us to open up our own investigations into the activities of specific individuals here in Zambia.
LEAs in Zambia may also wish to liaise with South African authorities on the basis that strong links have been established, linking named individuals to criminal activities in that country.
In the meantime, I would challenge the PF government to deny any impropriety linked to the Presidency as a result of this US investigation, as well as moving to dissociate the Presidency from all individuals named in this criminal inquiry.
Also, can the Ministry of Home Affairs under Stephen Kampyongo confirm or deny whether the named individual has ever been issued with a Zambian diplomatic passport and the basis for the issuance of such travel clearance for the named individual.
Zambia belongs to all of us.
We must never allow any individual, irrespective of their elected or appointed position, to launder our national flag for private gain.