By: Anthony Bwalya – UPND Member
Just to put some clarity to it, Ambassador Daniel Foote’s exit may be a small victory to those who peddle illegality under the guise of new age false religious fundamentalism; but the majority of ordinary Zambians may have a huge price to pay because for the Patriotic Front (PF), this was never a question of our collective morality, but an opportunity to entrench a growing Kleptocracy that only works for them and them only.
Forget democracy, because now what we have is a fully fledged organized, legitimized criminal cartel that has hijicked the hopes and dreams of an entire country for its own benefit. For the avoidance of any doubt, a Kleptocracy is a government with corrupt leaders that wield political power to exploit the people and natural resources of their own countries in order to extend their personal wealth and political powers. Typically, this system involves embezzlement of funds at the expense of the wider population.
This is what typifies life under the Patriotic Front (PF). If squandering $42 million on Firetenders that should have cost nearly $30 million less is not organised crime, then what is it? No inquiry has been held to hold to account known government officials over this fraud. And what about the over $1.5 billion of Mukula revenue estimated to have been stolen with not a single Kwacha or Ngwee to have gone to productive sectors of the economy? We know this because between 2014 and 2016, around $204 million of Mukula revenue went undeclared ( Center for International Forestry Research, Issue 211 of 2018), with a further $180 million blatantly squandered under the watch of this PF government between 2017 and 2018 alone!
It is not unimaginable to contemplate that over the past 8 years this government has been in power, at least $1 billion dollars worth of Mukula revenue has been pocketed by government officials at the expense of the long suffering Zambian people.
We also know that government officials under the PF regime, have been sharing close to $40 million in Mukula trade related bribes over the past 8 years. All this information is available and easy to verify from the most recent undercover criminal investigation carried out by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) which estimates annual bribes to politicians at $7.5 million.
The Financial Intelligence Center, our own financial transaction watchdog has provided evidence of the PF party superstructure, receiving close to $1 million in bribes and kickbacks for the award of public contracts. This is in the FIC report of 2018.
And today, it should be a very sad day in the history of the Republic of Zambia. The nation has chiefly remained silent, save for bits of underground commentary, as a foreign diplomat has been hounded out of his position by a government that has become increasingly self-absorbed and power hungry while the rest of the nation scrounges in squalor.
The exit of Ambassador Daniel Foote of the United States of America, over scathing comments he had made, standing up to the rancid corruption and irregularly application of the rule of law by the visibly and undoubtedly corrupt Patriotic Front (PF) regime, is an ominous indication that wolves occupying government are nowhere near done raping our country red – they are barely just getting started.
This is the same government that has plunged 1.6 million more people into abject poverty since the ascention to power of President Edgar Lungu in 2015 owing to poor public project investments underpinned by grand political corruption.
How can a government that has been squandering all these billions of dollars, never mind aid money, fail to repay $1.4 million in interest on facilities to the African Development Bank, threatening close to $1 billion worth of assistance the bank continues to provide to this country and it’s people?
How can a government under whose watch at least $11 million is stolen annually in ONE province alone (Copperbelt) in fraudulent public sector payroll accounting fail to discharge $107,692 per month per council in Local Government Equalisation Fund, condemning our council workers to 3 months of non payment of salaries?
This has got to be unacceptable and only Zambians can liberate themselves.
When foreign diplomats speak, they are accused of interfering in the internal affairs of our country while when we speak, we are labeled bitter and antagonistic. None of this matters anymore because if we allow this kind and level of open, unhindered plunder of national wealth by a small group of politicians under the Patriotic Front, there might be no Zambia in a few years because the level of unwarranted poverty and inequality we are occasioning will be enough to spur an open rebellion by the people themselves.
It does not have to end that way….
10.7 million Zambians living on less than a $1.25 a day and the President buys himself a $100 million super Jet…. Are these the Christian values over which Am