By Venus N Msyani
On his maiden speech to the 76th United Nations General Assembly last September, President Joe Biden said democracy remains the best tool the world can aspire for to attain full human potential.
The US president praised Zambian youth for turning out in record numbers to vote and denounce corruption and begin a new chapter for Zambia.
It was good news to every Zambian including president Hakainde Hichilema. He was among the first Zambians who reacted to Biden comment with gratitude.
However, HH seems to have misunderstood the US president. By mentioning corruption president Biden was not telling the new dawn administration to go and intimidate and harass corruption suspects.
The United States president was simply saying keep it up and continue protecting, defending, and strengthening your democracy.
Unfortunately, HH fight against corruption is about to erode the country achieved democracy. In a democratic society, corruption deserves prosecution, not persecution.
People who are protesting HH fight against corruption seem to have understood Biden’s message better. They are not defending corruption but the democracy Zambia has achieved.
Democracy and the law are inseparable. Per Zambian law, a person is innocent until proven guilty. Whether they stole or didn’t steal, former Zambian government officials remain, innocent citizens, until proven guilty.
Harassing and intimidating innocent citizens is persecution and the world strongly condemn it. If it doesn’t stop, president Hakainde Hichilema risks being greeted with negative statements at the next UN General Assembly.
There is a possibility that things will get worse. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has turned into an institution that arrests people for what they say.
Former president Edgar Lungu’s spokesman Amos Chanda was arrested by ACC for using insulting language.
President Hakainde has vowed that there will be no sacred cow in the fight against corruption. How many more people will be persecuted?
Unless the new dawn administration start zipping people mouth, corruption suspects will continue exchanging words with the ACC during the search. Meaning more unnecessary arrests or persecutions are expected.
The point is, together let us say no to the fight against corruption that leads to persecution. It is not defending corruption.