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Alba Iulia
Monday, August 10, 2020

It’s morally wrong for a Cabinet Minister to remain in office while facing corruption investigations

Headlines It's morally wrong for a Cabinet Minister to remain in office while...

Action Aid Zambia says it is morally wrong for a Cabinet Minister to remain in office while facing corruption investigations or any other
allegations of corruption in nature.

Action Aid Zambia Country Director Nalucha Ziba says while the principle of ‘innocence until proven guilty’ is legally recognized, failure to do so has the potential to promote compromise in leadership.

With direct reference to Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya who President Edgar Lungu says is innocent until proven guilty by the courts of law, Ms Ziba says regardless of the absence of a legal provision that allows the President to remove a Cabinet Minister on allegation of corruption, he can still act on moral grounds to demonstrate that he upholds national values.

Below is a full statement…

Explicitly, there is no provision that allows the President to suspend a Cabinet Minister from office on the grounds of an enquiry pending on the said Cabinet Minister. We cannot, however, depart from our determination as a people of the Republic of Zambia to ensure that our values concerning family, morality, patriotism and justice are maintained and that all functions of the State are carried out in our common interest.

This commitment is enshrined in our Constitution.

Part II of the constitution on National Values, Principles and Economic policies clearly outlines the principles of morality and ethics, good governance, and integrity.

These values are enshrined in our constitution which the President is obliged to report to the National Assembly once every year on the progress being made in applying the values and principles.

Based on the above, the President as an appointing authority and one who has sworn to protect the constitution including commitment to uphold morality should be able to demonstrate this by relieving the Cabinet Minister of his duties to enable an impartial process to take place. Similarly, it is a moral duty and responsibility of any Cabinet Minister being investigated to step aside to allow investigations to run without undue influence.

While the principle of ‘innocence until proven guilty’ is legally recognized, it is morally wrong for a minister to remain in office while facing corruption investigations or any other
allegations of this nature, as it has the potential to promote compromise in leadership. The fact that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is dealing with a high-ranking official of government; who exerts so much power and authority, there is a high likelihood of intimidation and interference; either direct or implied.

Part VII of our 2016 Constitution under Executive functions section 92, subsection 1, states ‘The President shall perform, with dignity, leadership and integrity, the acts that are necessary and expedient for, or reasonably incidental to, the exercise of the executive authority. Although not explicit, this is sufficient ground for the President to demonstrate the much-preached zero tolerance to corruption, and the need to uphold integrity in the office of the President and government.

Failure to exercise these powers from a moral standpoint raises a great deal of suspicion, and you cannot blame citizens when they insinuate conspiracy within senior leadership.

These are defining times, in our opinion, where the Head of State has an opportunity to walk the talk by upholding moral standards.

The President needs to demonstrate his principles on the call for every Zambian to uphold the National values particularly paying attention to key issues such as Integrity,
Transparency and Accountability which are key among government officials who occupy public office as they need to demonstrate principles to the general public that they are managing the public resources in a prudent manner.

It’s against this background that regardless of the absence of legal provision that allows the President to remove a Cabinet Minister on allegation of corruption.

It is our considered view that based on the moral grounds, The President can still act in order to demonstrate that he upholds the National values.

Nalucha Nganga Ziba
Country Director,
ActionAid Zambia

41 COMMENTS

  1. Even a person who shoots and kills a person is a innocent until pronounced guilty by courts. It would defy logic if such a person would continue working until taken to court and pronounced guilty. To keep Chitalu in the job is simply unfathomable. Stealing from the poor is like killing them. In this effing christian nation , you should know that .

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  2. Nalucha is representing the court of public opinion. The President is following the Law of the Land. In Mwanawasa’s time, Dr. Chilufya would have been fired and a massive public furore would have ensued and political opponents would have started a witch hunt. ECL is setting a right precedent, look at what happened to Chitotela-the court of opinion had judged him guilty and the inept opposition gathered around the president with pitchforks demanding his blood, only for the Courts of Law to acquit him….

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  3. 1. He can interfere with witnesses.
    2. He can be distracted from doing his work, especially at such a time as this Covid era.
    3. He allegedly committed the offence in his capacity as minister so he must be relieved of that portfolio.
    If Edgar Lungu’ wants to be a lawyer and not a President, he should then bring back everyone who has been suspended ‘pending investigations’ including E Kabanshi. All people awaiting trial while in Remand, eating rubbish should be set free and go home ‘until proved guilty.’

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  4. Key word is “Morally”. What morals does ECL & his govt have? Stole $43m right under our noses without any remorse how do you expect him to fire Chitalu?

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  5. With Emerin Kabanshi, records were there at Zampost that the funds for SCT haf been channelled to pension payments. When the donors sounded the alarm, it was obvious that the minister, as the recipient ministry of those funds had failed to put up a system to monitor the dispersment and use of the funds through Zampost; it was negligence on her part. With Dr. Chilufya, the ACC has to prove in a Court of Law that he is in posession of properties believed to be from proceeds of corrupt activities or crime.

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  6. Chitalu Chilufya without shame must resign and some ministers I wonder how he feels mingling with people in yge midst of corruption scandals.

    It’s just honorable to quit and wait for due process of law even though we know under Edgar Lungu’s leadership, very little will be achieved.

    Most of us lost trust in this corrupt president and who is in forefront stealing and abusing highest office in Zambia.

    A thief will always protect his fellow thief that’s case with PF government.

    PF must go!

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  7. Akaume kampali kalalya noku putilisha. The case of ECL. In secret he is hitting Chilufya bellow the belt and smiling with him in public.

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  8. I m sorry to say, but its mostly in Africa where this kind of thinking is allowed to happen and no consequence follow. And you wonder why Africa is where it is today, economically. By “kind of thinking” I mean allowing a corruption-accused public official to remain in office. Remember, ACC is not just anyone, it is a govt statutory body. It can only charge someone when there is prima facie evidence.
    The whole thing about Lungu is that, if he wants to protect some evil, he cunningly uses words to twist and confuse the gullible to accept his position. This thing about innocence until proven guilt is nowhere in this situation. I will end here!

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  9. Lungu’s selective application is legendary and worrisome. Kambwili and Kabanshi were sacked but Chitomela and Chitalu are protected. So this is not about corruption but succession Politics. Chilufya Chitalu will benefit from Lungu’s “Catch and Release” Policy. Just wait and see. Birds of the same feathers flock together.

  10. Imagine going to look at a prospective school for your kids and meeting the headmaster …….only to discover he is on bail for child sex offences , ?

    That is how donner aid countries feel with their money , looking to help Zambias healthcare system with a minister incharge who is on bail for looting ……

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  11. Every Zambian knows this and i quote,
    “TO BE HONEST, THERE IS NO REASON TO VOTE FOR PF THE WAY THINGS ARE NOW OR HAVE BEEN HANDLED.
    US$1 = ZKW18, HIGH ELECTRICITY TARIFFS, HIGH FUEL PRICES,
    HIGH UNIVERSITY FEES WITH NO HOPE FOR STUDENT LOANS FOR ALL,
    KZ AT STATE HOUSE, BOW MAN MINISTER, CAR PYONG GO MISDIRECTING POLICE,
    CORRUPTION, IMPOSED BILL 10, SUPPRESSED FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, ARROGANT YOUTH,
    ETC….”

  12. There is nothing that the President can do if there’s no provision that is enshrined in the constitution of our country over this matter. The same you people will start impeachment processes if the President starts derailing from the constitution. He swore to uphold the constitutuonal laws of the land. Theres need to change the constitution in order to include this clause in the constitution. Maybe it can be done now as we debate bill 10.

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  13. Iwe ka nalucha stop misbehaving. Morality based on allegations? So if you are accused of cheating on your husband, should you step aside because the unproven allegations you face are morally wrong ? We have law which is supreme . There is now a culture in Zambia of alleging corruption whenever some one is doing better than you. Useless

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    • The Minister is not being accused by social media but by a statutory investigative body. Its a serious investigator.There obviously is evidence of crimes he has committed. The minister’s post is not god given. It is an appointment and if the appointer can see its not good for the outlook of hisgovernment he should suspend the minister and this wont be the end of his political career.. The minister wont lose much because he still remains an MP and will earn enough to feed his family and girlfriends

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  14. Some bloggers have made reference to Minister Chitotela who was accused of corruption and after a sham investigation he was found with no case

    Chitotela did not go on voluntary leave, nor was he suspended or fired by the appointing authority to pave way for investigations.

    Dr Chilufya is still minister of health, which staff in the ministry of health will come forward with information on the minister knowing fully he or she is putting his job on the firing range…

    Right now evidence is being destroyed, witnesses are being intimidated into silence and others are being bribed to keep quiet.

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  15. What is legally upright is also morally upright. The laws are not immoral demands on citizens. The law will treat each individual equally, whether rich or poor. In the past, accused individuals were considered guilty until they proved themselves innocent. In the present, individuals are considered innocent until they are proved to be guilty. Move with times, once on the spot light, senior government officials can not possibly indulge themselves in criminal activities because that would compromise their very innocence. False accusations, distorted accusations, mistaken identities. These types of cases can be genuine cases. However, they can also be fake cases based on petty jealousies and malicious intent. Take time to politicize justice systems. Take time to point accusing fingers. .

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  16. The right thing for a competent and moral leader would be to stand him down from his role as Minister. The incompetent thing to do is to let the status quo ensue as the president has done. Its only in Zambia that politicians can get away with such behaviours. The only thing I can think of is that the chap will spill the beans given the extent the corruption has infected the entire leadership. What a joke of a president Zambia has, no wonder he is ignored by other world leaders. MOST INCOMPETENT & LAZY PRESIDENT IN THE WORLD!.

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  17. Let me remind some people supporting this kind of behaviour that Parliament removed Chiluba’s immunity based on allegations. Chief Justice Ngulube did the right thing at the time to resign following media reports about him receiving bribes. The health minister needs to do himself a favour and resign from his role if the president cant do his job. I think If he does that and then is found to be innocent, people will respect him for that. Remember that these allegations were not made by the media, but the the investigative bodies.

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  18. Thieves do not have morals and get defended by fellow thieves without morals – stealing from the poor, widows and orphans

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  19. In Africa when you are the cabinet minister, you call the shorts. So when you are indited and still holding the reigns of power, it automatically intimidates those with evidence against you. It is with this back ground that it is just morally right in the name of integrity that an accused when a cabinet minister should recuse themselves as the alleged corrupt matter is taken to court.
    We know that the law says you are innocent until proven guilty but sometimes you should listen to the concerns raised by the citizens and take leave as you await the outcome of the case. That is how you build your integrity but when you know that you have skeletons in the cupboard, it is very difficult to take leave.

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  20. Chilufya should just make it easy for everyone by resigning. There is no ACC a govt Agency, would arrest him if they did not have sufficient evidence.

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  21. Law vs Morality. I hope the madam is very aware of that. The government must uphold the rule of Law and NOT otherwise. That will be an expression of opinion, which we are free to do. however if it does not make sense, the courts of law are free to be consulted.

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  22. When you vote in Cowboys, don’t moan when you Country turns into the Wild west where the rule of the gun & not morals prevail. These Kawalala’s are busy selling your country whist sipping wine @ night.
    Lastly, P.F.KUYABEBELE!

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  23. Dear Action Aid Zambia, not resigning in the face of any investigations against a government minister is indeed against convention. It has nothing to do with morals or sin. Unfortunately convention has no legal umph, it’s discretionary. Politically,what matters is how popular the individual is, how much support from the executive the individual has and course the individual’s constituency.
    Perhaps an appeal to the minister’s constituents would be more effective than appeals to social media and to the press.

  24. …..Tapafuka chushi. There is no smoke without fire. What happenned to KAPOKO he also acquired alot of properties way beyond his remuneration.Was he not from the same Health Ministry?

  25. Laws made by Humans will never be perfect! Humans even fail to interpret their own ambiguous laws. That is the reason why we need ETHICS!
    If I was Chilufya, I would be most interested in cleaning my name and Professional Standing. I would have written to ECL to suspend me with full pay pending the outcome of investigations. This was the honourable thing RB did when Dora was faced with corruption charges.
    It’s also in ECL’S interest to show consistency in the manner he deals with each of his ministers found on the wrong side of the law. The manner ECL has done things has shown to much inconsistency. We can simply say CK and Kabanshi were unfairly treated!

  26. Lungu and his minions have no morals. They are habitual criminals. They are in government to steal and not to advance Zambia, This is a backward cabal of regionalists and tribalists. Zambia has lost a decade of development under Lungu.

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  27. just like in money laundering when one gets dirty money illegally and makes it clean legally the PF will do the same for its corrupt officials through the court system so that they cannot be prosecuted again once acquitted since the law states that no one can be prosecuted twice for the same offence.

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  28. There is no legal obligation to resign. The saying is not I resign on legal reasons but rather moral grounds. Now morality is subjective and defined differently by each person. What I view as moral will not be shared by some people. If this is not considered immoral by the minister who are you to force him to believe that your assessment of morality is the only correct one?

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  29. Morals are values of integrity. The higher the margin value the better. But like faith and belief, you can NOT impose it on anyone.
    Apart from Action Aid, here, all those politicians calling for Dr. Chitalu Chilufya’s sidestepping themselves ain’t above board?
    Mr. Hakainde Hichilema went and changed the UPND constitution to allow him to perpetually remain on top without stepping aside for others. He also has offshore bank accounts.
    This is legally upright but morally deficient!

  30. The is….the first 5 years of lungus presidency where characterised with massive corruption by lungu and his gang, on a scale never seen in Zambia.

    These half heart attempts by lungu to show a fight against corruption, inevitably followed by nollies are meant to dupe people…….Lungu is fully aware of his first 5 years rampant corruption so are his ministers.

  31. flag corruption scandals: 48 houses social security cash luxury presidential jet ambulances fire trucks mukula trees ndola-lusaka rd malawi maizegate fuelgate swaziland landgate zesco loans

    Yes morally he should step down. The legal issues will be dealt by the courts. He needs to step down or be fired on moral grounds. Even just the perception of corruption is enough for people (and especially his subordinates) to lose the confidence in the minister. As it things stand: his subordinates have lost confidence in him; the public have lost confidence in him; indeed even in his own government agents, the ACC have lost confidence in him. He will also intimidate his subordinates who are potential witnesses. He will temper with the evidence. Why are we even debating this? Has the bar been set so low in Zambia right now that people have to debate an accused minister to step down? Look at Prince Edwards who stepped down feom official royal duties on mere allegations. What a country!

  32. Conistence Lwindi 

    HH is not GRZ , neither does he use Zambian tax payers money nor is he stealing tax payers money………..

  33. flag corruption scandals: 48 houses social security cash luxury presidential jet ambulances fire trucks mukula trees ndola-lusaka rd malawi maizegate fuelgate swaziland landgate zesco loans

    You have to remember also that this is a public job paid for by tax payers. The rules are different if he was running his own company or business. But even then the shareholders will be demanding that you step down. Lungu has really messed up this country. This kind of behaviour wouldn’t happen in some of our neighbouring countries like Botswana or even Malawi. And why can’t Zambians take to the streets to demand this corrupt accused numskull to step down?

  34. CHILUFYA SHOULD CARRY ON AMIDST COVID-19

    Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya has been alleged of financial wrongdoing by the Anti-Corruption Commission following interrogations and long investigation. However, I would like to reiterate that the President has stated that he will follow the law of the land and will not fire his minister unless Chilufya is proven guilty by a court of law. This is in tandem with the Article 18 (2) of the Zambian constitution which predicates on the Principle of Assumption of Innocence, according to which an alleged accused will be found guilty only after the fair trial and every accused has the right to a fair trial. As far as President Lungu dismissing Chilufya is concerned, it is not prudent and also not in concordance with the constitution as we are in the…

  35. Karl-Theodor zu Gutternberg the former Germany defense minister quit his ministerial position after it was rumoured that a single sentence in his Ph.D thesis was plagiarized. Yes, a single sentence! In PF there is a PS who has fake degrees from Harvard and Oxford and the scandal is in public domain. Trying to extract any level of morality from PF president is harder than getting water out of a stone. Don’t bet on it folks, don’t.

  36. @Spaka
    The issue is not the legality but the morality of an action. Charity begins at home.
    What I can ordinarily do *immorally* today would be done multi-fold when I have instruments of power. HH may not be in government. But he was given GRZ assets for privatisation. Soon in 2021, he would be republican president.

  37. It is unprofessional for Dr Chitalu to remain in post whilst facing serious charges which have a bearing on his integrity and honesty. His standing as a medical doctor is in jeopardy. How can anyone trust him?

  38. What complicates every thing is the moral responsibility as a medical professional. the right thing to do is to leave the stage. to uphold ethics of medical practice. we have medical doctors serving in that position. and non them had issues with ACC . they served according to the ethical conduct of our practice and humbly left and they still remain respected citizens . the gentleman should make his own moral decision based on serving the professional practice .

  39. What can you expect from the man who once stole money from his client and was deregistered from practicing law in Zambia? A scholar Fredaric Bastiat once said ,
    ‘When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in society ,over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authourizes it and a moral code that glorifies it .’
    This is exactly what we are experiencing in Zambia .

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