By Charles Ngoma
The United Party for National Development (UPND) and Alliance New Dawn government was usured into office by the people of Zambia to execute their manifesto. Politics is about promises and assurances that meet the aspirations of the people. The UPND and Alliance promised several things, among which are free education. The opposition have been quick to taunt the new government about free education, cheaper fertiliser, appreciated Kwacha and so on.
The Patriotic Front (PF) must have read the UPND manifesto because they sneered at it, saying that it was plagiarised and that the UPND over promised. If they read it well, they will find that on page 16, under the heading ‘CORRUPTION,’ the UPND promised the Zambian people to ‘Launch “Operation Recovery”, to ensure public money corruptly obtained is returned back (sic) to the public. The Zambian people liked this. They are also waiting to see ‘government officials declare new wealth annually’ and the conduction of life style audits with any civil servants found wanting being suspended until a court ruling.
Operation Recovery must search for any stolen money and resources where ever they were stashed. If the trail leads to the former President Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, it must get there and bring HIM to face the law, without fear or favour. I find the writing of Ambassador Emmanuel Mwamba really misguided. It is not the pursuit of former Presidents that is retrogressive. It is the illegal activities of former Presidents while they were in office that is retrogressive. Dr Kaunda served for 26 years, but left office with almost nothing but a taxi fare to a well wisher’s home. The same cannot be said of the calceophilic shoeaholic sneakerhead Frederick Titus Jacob Chiluba. Though he was never found criminally culpable, he was found in the London High Court to have defrauded the Zambian people of more than $40 million with his tandem of thieves (to borrow The Post newspaper’s phrase). Judge Peter Smith said Zambians should know that when the former president appeared wearing his trademark designer clothes, they were paid for with public funds (BBC).
It was President Rupiah Banda who saved Chiluba’s skin when his government failed to register the UK judgement in Zambia. History is repeating itself. President Chiluba used a ‘race’ card to spite the London judgement. Now people are using the ‘tribe’ card to pre-empt the fight against corruption. It will not work. There is no smoke without fire. Corruption did take place in the Lungu government. President Lungu himself acknowledged as much. He wondered about the huge amounts of money that were being banked and even promised, ‘Very soon, I will be firing some ministers.’ Unfortunately, the axe only fell on the one who had ambitions for the king’s crown. At a time when the economy was in the doldrums, Lungu enhanced his portfolio by leaps and bounds, from about K1 million to more than K20 million in 17 months! He needs to share this ingenious wealth creation method with the people!
The calls to prosecute former Presidents FTJ Chiluba and Rupiah Banda were muted. They came from a small part of the public. Most people did not think much about it. The surprising thing now, is that the calls against President Lungu are deafening. Lawyers will say, ‘It goes to character, your honour!’
No. Zambians want justice. If it means stripping Lungu of his legal immunity, so be it. Let us follow the money and let him have his day in court.