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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Advice to President Hichilema: There is a thin line between fighting corruption and witch-hunting

Columns Advice to President Hichilema: There is a thin line between fighting...

By Sean Tembo – PeP President

1. Corruption Fight -: The corruption fight that you are engaging in sir is very welcome. However, you must constantly remind yourself that there is a thin line between fighting corruption and witch-hunting. Currently your fight against corruption is losing credibility in the eyes of the general public because of the following reasons, among others;

(i) too much focus on the deeds of the past administration and no adequate focus to the deeds of the current administration. We need a proper explanation from your Government sir regarding the $50 million fertilizer contract which was awarded to the husband of one of your Ministers. We also need an explanation from your sir why the Deputy Provincial PS for Western Province was only fired and not prosecuted for failure to follow established procedures in releasing a payment, and yet Malanji and Yamba were sensationally arrested and charged for the same offense. Where is the consistency?

(ii) making too many arrests before securing any conviction. We all remember the sensational arrests that were made by Mwanawasa which subsequently culminated into the lifting of Chiluba’s immunity, and yet when the matters went to court, very few convictions were actually achieved by the State. Chiluba himself was only convicted for possession of expensive shoes. We do not want a repeat of that fiasco sir. Therefore, you should now concentrate on prosecuting the people that have so far been arrested and after securing some convictions, you may proceed with the next round of arrests. That will add some credibility to your corruption fight.

(iii) cases where you or your party members are directly involved. The Zambian people are happy if you can unveil the corruption that took place during the PF regime and recover the national assets that were stolen. However, the people are concerned when you start digging old cases relating to the political feuds that your party had with the PF during your time in opposition. Cases like the Mulobezi shooting incident involving Davis Chama, the Shiwangandu helicopter incident involving Kampyongo etcetera. Those cases are too personal to you sir and they smell of vengeance. If you keep pursuing such personal cases, you risk tainting your otherwise good fight against corruption.

For your own information Mr. President, there is no such thing as absolute justice in the world. You get the justice that you can manage to get and then you move on. That is why even the State occasionally turns some criminals into State witnesses and turn a blind eye to their criminal deeds. It is all because of the realization that absolute justice is simply impossible. So just bury the hatchet on all the personal cases and focus on genuine corruption cases. Remember that even your party committed a lot of atrocities while in opposition. You killed those two PF members in Kanyama, you killed the PF Provincial Chairman for North-Western Province and you have that mapatizya formula which Ackson Sejani always boasted about. So don’t try to portray a false image that you were saints and the PF were the only aggressors, Mr President sir.

2. Vice Presidential Gaffes in Parliament-: I like the energy and loyalty of your Veep. However, she makes too many blunders when answering questions in Parliament. The problem is that she tries to answer the questions off the cuff. No matter how intelligent you think you are, answering questions in which you are stating Government position on a particular matter should never be done off-the-cuff. She should note the questions and advise that she will come back with an answer, then go and sit down with the technocrats to couch the answer in the right language. Once the answer is ready, she can then come and present it to Parliament. And she should make sure she reads from the script. That is what former Veep Inonge Wina did, and she performed very well in Parliament. No need of trying to portray yourself as a champion who answers questions there and then on the floor of Parliament.

3. Culture of Condemning the former PF Regime: Mr. President sir, the people of Zambia know fully well that the PF administration failed to run this country. That is the reason why Zambians overwhelmingly voted them out and voted you and your party in, despite your party not presenting any tangible manifesto to the people. Therefore, this inherent appetite that you have to condemn the PF administration at every available opportunity is beginning to irritate most Zambians. You said you’d fix it, so fix it. By the way, you’re now even spreading the culture of using the PF regime as a scapegoat to all your Ministers and even senior civil servants. Mr. President sir, do not be a cry baby. Just get on with the job of fixing our economy. Focus on the work and not on the excuses.

4. Economic Turnaround-: Mr. President sir, l know that you have been holding the belief that the IMF is the solution to our economic turnaround from as far back as 2018 when l was still a member of your Alliance. I disagreed with you then and l still disagree with you now. This IMF route can never take us anywhere and the sooner you realize that, the better. It is never too late to make a u-turn. That staff-level agreement is just a tentative agreement pending final approval of the IMF board, and you can still jump ship. Besides the $1.4 billion bailout loan over 3 years is just too small to have any impact on our total debt or expenditure obligations. I mean the 2022 national budget is about $10 billion, so what tangible impact can $660 million have?

The key to turning around our economy lies in utilizing the resources that we have here in Zambia, and we are very lucky that copper is currently doing so well on the world market, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Any mining firm will want to invest in copper mining going forward. They do not need any additional incentives such as making MRT a tax-deductible expense in the calculation of corporate tax. No, they don’t need any such incentives to invest in our copper mining industry. The fact that copper has exceeded $11,000 per metric tonne on the world market is an incentive enough. No need for any additional incentives which will only cost out treasury. Mr. President sir, if you truly want to turn around our economy, kindly pull out of the pending IMF deal and also scrap off the tax holidays that you have given to the mines in the 2022 national budget.

If you do those two things, then you will be on a path of prosperity for our country. If however, you insist on your current chosen path, the Zambian people will undergo so much hardship in the next few years that you will soon have daily protests just like in Malawi. Take this as a timely warning sir.

5. Lack of Sincerity:- Mr President sir, the people are not difficult to govern provided you are sincere in your engagements with them. Never say one thing and do something else without being humble enough to explain why. You will recall that when you ascended to the presidency last August, one of the things l advised you on was that you had made just too many promises to the people during your time in the opposition and that you needed to have a tête-à-tête with the Zambian people by holding a press briefing at which you would list all the promises you ever made, then proceed to outline a timeframe in terms of when you will fulfill which promises. The people are not unreasonable provided you are sincere and honest to them. But you decided to just keep quiet and even made additional promises which you are also failing to fulfill.

Mr. President sir, you are on record saying that the IMF deal will not result in increases in electricity tariffs and fuel prices. You told us just a few months ago that the IMF has changed the way they do things and that people should not worry about price increases. But today you are telling us that you need to increase electricity tariffs and fuel prices, although you’re giving the excuse of removing subsidies. It is such a lack of sincerity and honesty which the people do not like. Similarly, you told the people that they will enjoy free education from 1st January 2022, and now you turnaround and say for those in boarding schools, they need to pay K1,000 per term which comes to K3,000 per year. Then what kind of free education is this where people still have to pay?

Mr. President sir, never try to outsmart the people that you are governing. Otherwise when they lose trust in you, then you will not enjoy your presidency. You may wish to know sir that so far you’re losing credibility in the eyes of the people very fast. Try to be sincere and forthright with the people going forward.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Could somebody advise Sean Tembo to pretend to start organizing his political party if at all he has one, this idea of becoming a political commentator is not helping him, especially that nobody takes him seriously in this country. If he was taken seriously was he going to get all those zeroes in the last elections and even beaten by rejected ballots every where. Not even a section chairman anywhere in Zambia and we should listen to his commentary, no ways

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  2. To create a better future and society, all cases must be followed aggressively by the new government, of course most people feel most of the cases will be lost due to incompetency and lack of integrity of some of the officers of the investigative wings, the fact that convictions were not attained in the previous administrations does not mean the fight must be discouraged by any one. The auditor general, FIC report and other reports were very clear on the scale of corruption in this country, the only thing of course is that plunderers were very good at covering their tracks and cases may be lost on technicalities as the case was with a former Minister of Health

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  3. Debate his point, not the fact that he lost elections badly.
    Lets learn to comment on issues.
    Why is corruption fight only worth recommending if it concerns PF and we should be silent when 50 million USD is single sourced?
    ACC isn’t inspiring at all, why investigate the 42 firetrucks now? And don’t give me that argument about there being a lack of will in the appointing authority.

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  4. Your ka small Party Sean will never rule this country, just chill and eat some beans, Nichan uti vuta, siyani tisemvenze.

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  5. TRY TO ORGANISE YOUR KA SMALL PARTY THAN CONCENTRATING ON OTHER PEOPLE’S PARTIES. AND BY THE WAY UPND IS BETTER THAN THE PF THIEVES WHO YOU ARE TRYING TO SHIELD.

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  6. Pleas , ST , can you work on the ground and get supporters instead of trying to get credibility through the backdoor of the Internet………

    Get on the ground and garner support……

    You are becoming an irritant………

    Same noise different day…….

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  7. My family has regretted having voted for new dark government.

    Sean, you are right, upnd is using PF for failure to honour what they promised their electorates before, during and after campaigns.

    You campaigned because you knew there were so many wrong things in PF government therefore work and fix. The problems caused by pf are not new according to the small God.

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  8. 1] Corruption Fight -: Given all that HH went through during PF rule, had HH been vindictive, he would have had massive support. But he decided not to be, so for you to accuse him of the personal hatchet in current cases, is an INSULT to HH. Zambian people raised issues with the Shiwan`gandu case, but was never investigated by PF, so what is wrong, or how that vindictive now that the police raises this case to provide answers? Refer your issues to the Minister of Home Affairs, and not to HH
    2] Vice Presidential Gaffes in Parliament-: How does this help HH and the economy? Why don’t you directly address Nalumango?
    3]Culture of Condemning the former PF Regime-: UPND is drawing a line, what PF did and What they are doing. If you cant name it, you cant fix it. Its not culture of condemning.

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  9. 4] Economic Turnaround-: Surprising the same measures you`re proposing are the measures that PF took, and Zambia is where it is economically. IMF injection is needed now to move the country from defaulting and help create an environment to attract foreign investment, including investment in Mining, thereby covering the points you are suggesting.
    5] Lack of Sincerity -: You should also be sincere in your rantings, YOUR Opinion DoES NOT REPRESENT at least the 3.8 + 1.8 that voted. But you make it sound as if, you are representing those people. NOPE. The majority of Zambian people BELIEVE HH, and the measures he is taking, only noisemakers like you are being insincere.

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  10. Hon Elvis Nkandu explained clearly that PF was dominated by the Bemba speaking and Easterner officials. So if they were the majority in the previous government, it follows that many from that grouping will be questioned more by police for the corrupt activities that was rampant under the ECL administration. Truth be told even President Lungu told us “among 10 thieves, 7 will be/are ……” They claimed he was using icimbuya but maybe he spoke his mind off.

  11. HH is wayyy better than what we had a few months ago. Be patient bane, the damage done by the previous regime was beyond repair.

  12. Sean Tembo the economy and the budget are two different animals.So sure a would-be expert who will likely do worse when his ka-briefcase party gets in the driver’s seat.

  13. This chakolwa Sean Tembo is proposing the same steps that PF took and got Zambia in economic mess.That’s just bonkers.

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