Copperbelt-based civil society organization called Break the Silence says Zambia needs to scale up the fight against corruption because people involved in the scourge are getting more sophisticated.
Break the Silence Chief Executive Director Richard Mweetwa has charged that corruption has gotten entrenched in all spheres of the nation.
Mr. Mweetwa expressed shock that some public officers want bribes to offer services such as acquisition of school places or an appointment with a medical doctor.
He said Break the Silence was aware that some teachers in selected schools were soliciting for bribes from parents seeking school places.
Mr. Mweetwa said the fight against corruption should not be mainly focused on politicians but the private and public sectors as well.
“The fight against corruption should not only concentrate on politicians but on all governance systems both in private and public offices in all the districts of Zambia. It has come to our attention that corruption is in almost all institutions, even as low as the registry’s personnel of different institutions, human resource officers etc,” Mr. Mweetwa said.
“We have observed situations where: If you want a transfer or a pay vacancy or to be upgraded. Worst still, to be promoted you have to bribe someone to get what you want. Things should not be like that. We therefore call upon the Anti Corruption Commission, Drug Enforcement Commission, The Police, intelligence officers to be vigilant and we call on citizens to report such activities to relevant offices,” he said.
“Under the previous PF regime, promoting workers, transferring workers and retiring workers in national interest was based on tribal lines, political attachment and corruption was the order of the day. We thank the New Dawn Government for restoring professionalism and for allowing those who were fired or retired under such grounds to be reinstated. We also demand that the Civil Servants in government and in Palastatal should be restructured because a lot of incompetent people were promoted based on the above reasons like corruption, we want qualified people in their right positions without any strings attached,” Mr. Mweetwa said.
Mr. Mweetwa said citizens should help the Government fight corruption by reporting suspected corrupt practices to law enforcement agencies.
“Corruption is a cancer which is getting more sophisticated by the people involved and therefore it must be curbed. We would like to urge the citizens to help the government with the fight on corruption. We also urge the government to put up strong measures when employing people, or promoting workers, transferring them to avoid people being transferred on political or tribal grounds like we witnessed in the previous PF regime,” he said.
Mr. Mweetwa further called for the prosecution of people who were repeatedly cited in the Auditor General’s report, Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) Financial Intelligence Center (FIC) reports for misappropriating public funds.
“Break the Silence organization is proposing the following ideals to the government: Institutions and individuals cited by the Auditor General’s report, Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) Financial Intelligence Center (FIC) should be brought to book, investigated, suspended, fined and fired if found wanting. We are tired of hearing the same reports involving the same people year in year out without any action. We demand proactive and affirmative action by the government,” he said.
Mr. Mweetwa added:”We propose that the Anti Corruption Commission offices should be decentralized and should be found in all districts of this country so that citizens should be free and encouraged to report corruption cases taking place in different institutions of both public and the private sector unlike it is whereby they are only found in provincial centers or some towns like Kitwe on the Copperbelt. We demand that officers engaged in corruption should be fired to deter others from committing the same crime. We suggest that anti-corruption integrated committees be set in all institutions composed of different people of integrity to look at issues of employment, transfers, and promotions in order to avoid corruption.”