By: Anthony Bwalya – UPND Member
By Zambian supreme law, the President, any elected Zambian President, is the sole custodian of our collective public interest; and thus the guardian of not just the constitution itself but also the final gatekeeper of all our natural resources including land, forests, minerals and wildlife.
Yet since their inaugural election in 2011, the Patriotic Front (PF) have peddled a deliberate, premeditated agenda of leveraging the presidency for the benefit of the party and individuals within the party, using well placed private sector proxies but are known associates of the party in power and its handlers.
While the poverty of 9.2 million Zambians remain unmitigated, with access to public education, healthcare, water and sanitation, employment still a far cry for 83% of Zambians, the PF and the presidency have been relentless in their unholy agenda of self enrichment while sacrificing the fortunes of a whole nation.
In May 2018, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) revealed how the PF regime, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources under Jean Kapata, failed to account for $87m worth of Mukula revenue through criminal motivations when they deliberately undervalued Mukula exports to China.
I had personally written to the current Kabushi Member of Parliament Bowman Lusambo on 11 June 2018 and demanded that he took this issue onto the floor of Parliament so that Zambians could get some answers, but he did not respond.
Then in 2019, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) published a detailed report which revealed an approximate $7.5m per annum Mukula bribery cartel involving known and elected public officials. This means around $60m worth of Mukula associated bribes were paid to PF officials over the period 2012 to 2019 alone.
Our estimates are that since 2012, Zambia has lost around $2bn in unaccounted for Mukula revenue under the PF regime.
The most concerning thing is that because the current ongoing criminal activities seem to be anchored around State House, and the Presidency has become immobilized and is incapable of acting in the national interest.
This is why a government Minister caught masturbating on camera is more likely to get fired than one facing serious charges of a criminal indictment and appearing before court.
This is also why the presidency cannot act when protected forests such Forest Reserve No. 27 is invaded by top government officials who have turned a water aquifer into a paradise for mansions.
Why do we think the presidency also cannot act, when Zambia’s wildlife resources are being savaged, raided and transferred to private game ranches owned by politicians or their friends…
As we speak, Zambia’s gold resources are being appropriated for the benefit of foreign-owned entities with known links to terrorism sanctioned countries and individuals.
What the Zambian people must know is this: this is not a problem for the president or the presidency. The ruling party establishment has designed things to work precisely in this manner. The PF understands that if you can leverage the presidency in criminal wrongdoing, you are untouchable.
And this is exactly why none of the issues raised herein have ever been a subject of a thorough, government-backed investigation and precisely why no single parliamentary inquiry has been called to interrogate any of these issues.
The solution is NOT to kick out President Edgar Lungu. He is a very small part of a wider PF backed axis of criminality. The solution is to dismantle the PF by voting them out of power in 2021.
The only thing keeping the PF together, the reason they want power, is to protect their shared illegalities against the Zambian people.
Once the PF lose power in 2021, they will no longer have a reason to continue existing.