By Kapya Kaoma
The revelation of the state of, and the billions the PF cartel reportedly “spent” on feeder roads per province between 2016 and 2021 is really nauseating. That Southern, and Western Province supposedly received less money than any other province, and North Western received nothing should make every Zambian ashamed–all Zambians deserved to be treated the same despite the political party they support. It is shameful that for years some of our fellow Zambians were treated like skunks. What makes me mad is why did this happen in the nation of laws?
Harboring a crime is an offense and until we start treating it as such, political appointees will continue to abuse their offices to cover up more and more crimes. Is it not time to start arresting and prosecuting people who aided crimes, and stopped investigations of corrupt public officials due to political influence? Unless all those who worked in those offices were mentally unstable, surely one would have questioned how servicing 9,500km feeder roads would cost 13 billion. We need answers. Unfortunately the UPND politicians are not the right source–people who worked in those offices have some explanations to do.
We shouldn’t make the same mistakes we made with the corrupt Chiluba regime. The PF cartel and its abuse of public resources deserves serious investigation as opposed to trial by Twitter or social media. Politicians did not commit these crimes on another Planet–the Bank of Zambia, ACC, the Police and the ZRA were all in operation. We paid them to protect public coffers–so we need to ask them: Why did they fail to do so?
We seem to return to the Mwanawasa era–rushing to debate the lifting of the Immunity of President Lungu without asking why things got to where we are. We didn’t learn anything from the Chiluba saga–the entire scandal was politicized. Of course, the Nchito brothers showed us suitcases of shoes, suits and underwears in court. But we don’t even have a full report as to what transpired, and who let the dogs out. After all, didn’t the courts acquit President Chiluba during the Banda regime? This is what I fear the most. We must ask real questions–why did the system of accountability fail? Who allowed politicians to have the freedom to steal like wildfires? Who knew what?
Answering these questions would involve bringing in former officials and current ones to tell us the truth. Why didn’t they stop it? If they were part of the scheme to defraud the nation, they too must be prosecuted. If they rot in jail, it will send a strong message to political appointees that they will be held accountable for shielding corruption on behalf of public officials.
Emotional reactions won’t provide us with the truth we need to recover public resources. If anything, they will only invite pity for the cartel. Politicians work with emotions, but ethical judgement works with facts. I am among those who believe Chiluba was highly corrupt. But aside from a guilty verdict from a British Judge in absentia, the truth around his corruption remains unknown.
Until an independent investigation is undertaken by a professional body without political interference, and all those who were involved in plundering national coffers are held accountable, it is just a matter of time before we return to it. The HH administration may sing Anti-Corruption hymns day after day, with transparency as its chorus, but so did Chiluba. Corruption is only stopped by strong door keepers–in this case law enforcement agencies.
As more and more cases of abuse of public resources surface, we must hold to account those who neglected their duties–big guns at all law enforcement agencies. Politician, and cadres will only stop stealing if we have apolitical law enforcement agencies. We can only do this if we know the truth–as Jesus said, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8: 32)
But will President Hichilema’s UPND institute an Independent Investigation in the corrupt activities of the PF cartel without political interference? No–the truth is ethical, not political!