UPND AND PF ARE SIAMESE TWINS IN THE CORRUPTION FIGHT

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CHINGOLA ACCOUNTANT CONVICTED FOR CORRUPTION

By Isaac M. Mwanza

ONE of the key promises that Republican President His Excellency Dr. Hakainde Hichilema made before and after forming government was his commitment to fighting corruption and other crimes.

In the fight to end violent cadrerism, President Hichilema has done quiet well although incidences of violent behaviour among his cadres still exist.

Given that the level that violent cadrerism and impunity had become widespread and a norm over the last 30 years, this may be understandable but he must not lose guard.

Last week, the corruption fight was a popular topic in the media, generated by discussions among opposition political figures, Government and civil society.

Patriots for Economic Party (PeP) President, Sean Tembo, questioned the basis upon which the anticorruption body and the courts arrive at a determination and verdict that a person had indeed property that is reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.

The prosecution formula of using market values of property, and attaching that value to known earnings of an accused person is not only flawed and laughable but also produces greater injustice.

An argument from those opposed to the law on “proceeds of crime,” is that our law enforcement agencies are engaged in lifestyle audit of those whom government is not uncomfortable with, to determine who gets to be prosecuted.

In simple terms, the work of investigators has been reduced to assessing an individual’s income, assets and investments in order to form suspicion that the property and gains could be a result of some unknown crime. But the catch in that crime is that suspicion ought to be “reasonable.” That, however, is a topic for another day.

During the week, Socialist Party President Fred M’membe has also raised eyebrows in government when he boldly alleged that President Hichilema’s administration is a “looting machine:”

“…we insist that there is absolutely no corruption Mr Hichilema is truly fighting and that the current fight against corruption is nothing but sheer hypocrisy and vengeance all of which serve to conceal current and ongoing, let alone expanding, corruption,” wrote Dr. M’membe on his Facebook page.

The social media posting attracted a sharp official response from Government with Chief Government Spokesperson, Hon. Chushi Kasanda writing:

“Government encourages and welcomes constructive criticism aimed at improving governance and eliminating corruption. However, we expect such discussions to be based on facts and supported by credible evidence.”

Like Siamese twins with the previous regime which dismissed corruption allegations, information minister adopted the coined “mfwiti, mfwiti” (witch-hunting) style of dismissing these new allegations. She further wrote:

“The claims by Dr. M’membe questioning Government’s sincerity in fighting corruption are without merit and lack substantive evidence (to find “mfwiti” in the village) …We have implemented comprehensive measures to strengthen anticorruption institutions, enhance transparency in public procurement processes and foster a culture of accountability across all sectors.”

In the belief of Hon. Minister Kasanda, some measures implemented by her government have resulted in the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) investigating several cases and securing a number of convictions.

Am aware that Dr. M’membe has comprehensively made a response to this statement, citing a number of cases bordering on alleged corruption. But there are also several other questions the statement by the Ministers raises.

What are those measures, if any, which could have been undertaken that have strengthened the anticorruption body? Apart from the alleged corruption and abuse of authority that happened under the previous regimes, how many new cases of corruption have been investigated and where conviction has been achieved?

If the Minister had done a little research, she would have discovered that 99 percent of the cases that have been investigated and taken to court are not connected with the alleged corruption that happened under the new dawn administration.

And the reason could be simple: the manner in which LEAs operate has always focused on alleged corruption in previous regimes and, in extremely rare cases, to wrongdoing in a present regime.

Commenting on the recent arrest of Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary Mukuli Chikuba, Civil and political rights activist Brebner Changala observed that Mr Mukuli was quietly arrested without drama associated with other arrests of persons in similar position because he is allegedly close to the powers and on the side of those in government.

Since time immemorial, this has remained the biggest problem in Zambia’s corruption-corruption drive. The Minister may no longer see it because she is now in government but ordinary citizens clearly see this kind of scheme.

There is always a powerful and well-connected group whom officers from these LEAs would investigate but cannot not dare bring to book.

Currently, we have an alleged corruption at the Water Management Authority (WARMA), reported by various media, where people in senior positions forged contracts of employment and services in order to gain illicit enrichment.

It has been alleged that some senior directors at WARMA got additional income, based on the contracts they forged when the WARMA Board had been dissolved by the New Dawn Government.

In another instance, these senior bureaucrats entered into some motor vehicle “agreements” which facilitated payment of monies directly from WARMA into their personal bank accounts.

Some inquiry with these local companies who purportedly supplied vehicles reveal that no such sale was made; there are no financial records to show that necessary taxes were paid to government by these motor vehicle dealers for the alleged “sale” of vehicles in question.

Question is why has there been total silence to deal with this illicit enrichment, fraud, abuse of authority and tax evasion at WARMA. Is it because persons under investigations have made themselves close to the powers that be and on the side of those in government?

According to media reports, the inertia is attributed to fact that WARMA allegedly pays allowances to some UPND members, without the knowledge of the President. But how is that possible that a government institution can be paying allowances to cadres?

Under the PF, there are some reports that known cadres were employed at ZESCO and walked away with hefty salaries, which some allege were being shared with some senior party officials without the President knowing.

In the current situation, the question is whether Government is aware that some cadres who hold diplomas are getting employed in government institutions, including WARMA, and are allocated salaries for degree holders. Could it be that they are also sharing these salaries with senior party officials in the UPND?

What does the WARMA Board know about what is going on in the institution they preside over? Is it that the Board is an accomplice to the wrongs or they prefer to have their board allowances in silence?

If there are lessons top bureaucrats in government can learnt from their colleagues who are now being pursued is that these cases which get swept under the carpet usually pop-up another day in future. These very institutions that look the other side today do magically wake up the following day to bite.

It is the belief of this author that President Hichilema has shown good intentions to fight corruption but his intentions are threatened by the systemic crippling of institutions by his powerful lieutenants.

Former Luapula Province Minister Derrick Chilundika was not bluffing when he said he was going to cripple the system. The evading and eventual arrest of officers and highly influential people connected to the Suglite scandal shows that it is indeed possible to cripple the law enforcement system.

As this author joins many in commending President Hichilema for taking a decisive action against his former Minister, some erring law enforcement officers and his own party officials, I urge him to listen more to public sentiments and tell his ministers to avoid being dismissive when issues are brought up.

Of course, society must treat all suspects as innocent until proven guilty by a competent court of law. These suspects or accused persons deserve to enjoy their rights, including the right to bond or bail and to be fairly tried in court than in the media.

There are many law enforcement officers and civil servants who still have trust in President Hichilema’s leadership to fight corruption and other crimes but these are getting resigned to help because the system is being crippled by powerful politicians and senior bureaucrats within his circles.

30 COMMENTS

  1. I will not blog again until Lusaka Times grow some balls and get rid of the troll wagner. I will also go into self imposed exile and fasting until my uncle is given a government job after all his sacrifices to help upnd win.

    Those that know me personally know how to reach me by mobile and email for my valuable comments on various national topics

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    • INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING ABOUT YOUR UNCLE THERE ARE OTHER PARTIES HE CAN JOIN
      WE WISH HIM WELL
      AND BON VOYAGE

    • Please delete Augustin Mukoka from Lusaka.
      Son-of-b!tch has destroyed careers of girls. They just girls for God’s sake, stop abusing them. What Augustine is doing is worse than molestation of girls, who just wanted to play football, they are not there to make money.

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  2. Tarino went to cry to LT and they are now blocking my comments. Remember the lgbt community is big. You can block me but others will take my place and fight on

  3. Lusaka times you are showing how biased and weak you are by blocking and deleting comments by the wagner fella. To ensure transparency and confidence in your website, you need to inform viewers why someone has been blocked. He has the right to express his views, be them weird or strange. There is lack of impartiality on this website and you will lose viewers and bloggers.

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    • Observer. I like your impartiality and often objective comments.
      However, would you be okay if I was campaigning for pedophilia to be legal in Zambia, saying how little girls are the best? Another example, would it be okay if I was proposing to make laws to kill non Christians in Zambia?
      Gay rights aside, we have laws in Zambia that criminalize it. I personally have no issues with what two consenting adults decide to do. However, this platform can be held liable for public comments here, in the same way that a radia station would be found wanting if they publish such.
      It is not about the views being weird or strange, it’s about the views being against the law.

    • Chiza thanks for your comment. I will answer your questions by asking questions. In relation to pedophilia, can you tell me if there is a country on earth that has legalised pedophilia? I doubt you will be able to name one. On the other hand, I am sure you can name countries that have legalised homosexuality. My point is that you cannot compare the two. Also you need to realise that no crime can be committed by a person calling for gay rights in a country that claims to promote and have freedom of speech and thought. Calling for equal rights for gays does not translate into partaking in homosexuality. Bloggers including Lusaka times are not a zambian registered business. You are overthinking

    • I can name three countries that have no age of consent. Examples include Iran, Qatar and Afghanistan. Age of consent in Japan is 11, should I go around saying girls of 11 are sweet and law enforcement agencies leave me alone?
      As concerns countries that have have accepted gay rights, simply because something is legal elsewhere doesn’t mean we should also struggle for it to be legalised. In some cases championing some legal acts elsewhere is an offence in Zambia. Bestiality is legal in Finland. If I go around fighting for that ‘right’ to be recognised in Zambia, an arrest wouldn’t be outside the law.
      Not sure about whether it’s registered in Zambia or not, all foreign registered companies operating in Zambia observe Zambian laws.

    • Chiza you are confusing morality and the law. Morality is your personal views which are subjective. Slavery was once legal and blacks and those who were against it, spoke about it regardless of whether or not it was legal. Today being gay is illegal in some countries but that doesn’t mean people can’t express their views or campaign to have those rights in zambia. South africa now has gay rights and yet many of us zambian still live and visit there. Many of you are based in countries abroad that have gay rights. Zambia receives aid from countries that have gay rights meaning that money has also been earned by gay tax payers. If you feel so strongly against allowing freedom of speech around gay rights why have you not spoken against receiving aid from such countries? Selective thinking

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  4. @ Tarino Orange
    I miss the Days when we had BR Mumba snr…MMD chiefbootlicker, Mwanawakwithu, The Engineer etc…these guys were super intelligent

    • Yes …a word of advice dont waste your time with the clone with too much time on its hands, I dont include any of my relations or any political party affliations in my comments. You should know that if your account has not already been copied.

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    • We can’t be talking about the same tarino all the time. Some people are addicted to attention that they will do whatever it takes to get it, even if it means clonning themselves. I suggest we ignore all posts from the tarino names. Lusaka times should block all tarino names here. It is irritating reading the same things over and over again.

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  5. Kabilo wa nsoni taputula milandu kabilo isabi ukubola lyambila ku mutwe. A shy adjudicator can’t settle matters and fish begins to rot from the head. That’s what Bemba adages teach us. You can’t divorce Mr Hichilema from the wrongs in his government. He’s aware of what’s going on and seems to support it. I’ll cite only one example. The Milingo Lungu immunity case that got Siyuni fired was reported to have been negotiated by people he works with everyday and are very close to him. What has he done about it? So don’t blame his assistants alone as they’re in it together

  6. The issue of morality and the law isn’t in discussion here. It has never been a valid argument for gay rights and let us please leave it out of the discussion. You are conveniently bringing up an issue that I haven’t raised. Whether gay rights are legal in SA or not is not relevant here. Whether we receive aid from countries that support gay rights is not relevant here either.
    But let’s focus on the original matter here. Which is whether freedom of expression should dictate that LTimes maintains all posts.
    What I strongly disagree with you is your statement that Lusaka Times must allow all posts in the name of freedom of expression. They can be legally found liable for allowing certain comments. There is a provision in the Penal Code as well as the Printed Publications Act.

    • I don’t know what law you studies or read. Lusaka times cannot be held liable for what an independent blogger says from no fixed abode. Don’t mislead people with your own biased analyses. There is no law in zambia that says campaigning for any rights, be it gay, is illegal. Go and read what the law says about homosexuality. You will find that it says “Same-sex sexual activity is prohibited” under the Penal Code, which criminalises acts of ‘carnal knowledge of against the order of nature’ and ‘gross indecency’. There is no where in the law that says discussing or talking about gay rights is illegal. You can deceive naive bloggers but not everyone.

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    • Chiza Chirwa – Please dont waste your time…I hope you dont think this is Independent Observer engaging with? I have told you countless of times to be observant or you will let the troll dictate the topic of discussion.

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    • Tarino don’t bring your childishness to me. I am not part of your gang of friends you play with. Continue playing clones with your class of friends. You are intellectually young to grasp mature debate. Leave that to us adults.

    • Ok I now see how this tarino is always attracting problems. You are in everyone’s discussions tarino give it a break naimwe. You are acting as if you have only just come across free Internet. You don’t have to involve yourself muma discussion yonse. To me it’s you who desparete for atention

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  7. Observer, an individual in Zambia can only be convicted for engaging in sexual activity with a person of the same sex, you are right.
    However, news media can and have often been found liable for utterances aired by their guests. Prime TV once hosted mukiokela and they were censured for failing to control his words when he described Dora Siliya sexually. The examples abound.
    You are naive to believe that online publication have no responsibility whatsoever for things users post. The law is well establish in the Cyber Security and Crimes Act. Furthermore, the Data Protection Act of 2021 places responsibility on the data controller to amongst other things, moderate content. S 53 of the Penal Code makes such publications a crime too, LOl.
    As always, a beautiful conversation with you sir.

    • Mulioleka and prime TV were not found with a case to answer because the state couldn’t find any law that applied to that. Again, a case of confusing morality for the law. You talk about cyber security act. Please refer me or quote the specific rule that states one would be found to have committed a crime for discussing lgbt related matters. If discussing gay matters is not a crime, then Lusaka times is not obligated to do a thing about people posting about lgbt. Case closed.

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  8. @ Chiza Chirwa I like the points you have put forward, brilliant!
    @ Independent Observer you always have very good points and I personally like to read your submissions but on this one I’m not with you.
    I wished bloggers would comment on the article instead of championing their agendas.
    Like someone has already pointed out, LT had very brilliant bloggers, mature and knowledgeable until a character called Mushota came in and so some people copied his/her way of blogging and spoil it.
    LT let’s be great again.

    • Nakulu I respect your opinion. I think the very nature of blogging means that we all analyse topics in our own ways and give our unique views on an issue. I have read through wagners posts and in some weird but clever way, this wagner fella has found a way to link the topics to his agenda. The only solution is for Lusaka times to come up with a list of topics that they don’t accept to be discussed, which is tantamount to censorship

  9. Some observations that need sober analysis. 1, If you publicly discussed how to commit a murder would or wouldn’t you be arrested even if you haven’t murdered anyone?
    2, A man was recently convicted for wearing a T-shirt that proclaimed he didnt vote for HH. If that is deemed to be conduct likely to breach the peace shouldnt everyone who participated in making the T-shirt be charged?
    3, In Zambia’s laws the publication/publisher bears responsibility for whatever is published on their website. Both the publisher and the source of the defamatory content can be sued. A publisher can defend itself by the fact that it moderated the errant comment.

    • There are no such laws in zambia. You have become used to societies where the rule of law is not followed. Now you think this is law or normal. We voted change but it seems the problem is that the people have endured many years of incompetent and autocratic regimes such that you think it is OK for your own human rights to be taken away from you

Comments are closed.