Elias Chipimo, president of opposition NAREP, says corruption in Edgar Lungu’s Patriotic Front government is deep.
“Imagine having a president who has taken a position and has endorsed corruption…We have the Malawian maizegate. Malawi is acting but here we are silent! What is Lungu doing about corruption?” asks Chipimo. “Government officials are implicated yet nothing is done because they are benefiting. People are flocking to him in large numbers because of the money and corruption. But Zambians will stand up and defend this evil act…2017 will not be easy for some corrupt people. This country is being destroyed because of corruption, thieves in the Patriotic Front. There will be hardships in this country. We are going to expose the corruption we see in this government. This evil in our society needs to be exposed and stopped.”
Indeed, corruption is a serious problem in Zambia today. People are not joining the Patriotic Front or getting close to Edgar for anything else other than for corruption. Even Edgar himself is not in public office for service. And we shouldn’t forget that in 2015 in a television interview, Edgar made it clear to everyone that no one should be cheated that there is anyone in politics for service; they were all there for personal benefit. And this explains why his net worth has more than doubled in a very short time. Where did the money come from? Let Edgar explain the source of his wealth that is far beyond his earned income as President of the Republic. Look at how rich Kaizar Zulu has become in a very short time of being at State House! They can try to cover up their corruption with small borrowings from banks here and there to try and pretend that what they have has been acquired through loans. This is very easy to undo. Anyway, it’s illiteracy or ignorance that is making them think that they can hide the source of their wealth. Who doesn’t know or can’t see the corruption that is going on in the oil procurement, exports of maize, and other government contracts or tenders!
It is easy for Malawian President Professor Peter Mutharika to fire his Minister of Agriculture and others who were involved in a corrupt maize purchase scheme with Zambia because he himself is not part of it. If he was part of it, he wouldn’t do it. Or if members of his family or friends were involved, he wouldn’t have the courage to fire anyone. Here, it is not possible for Edgar to fire anyone over that maize deal because he will be playing with fire and burn his fingers. Only a clean leader is capable of dealing with corruption. Edgar is running a very rotten regime, a regime that is corrupt to the core and in which everything revolves around corruption. And part of the intolerance of this regime can be explained by this corruption. Anyone they think will make them account for their corruption must be crashed. These are people who are in government to enrich themselves and do so very quickly. And indeed they have succeeded in enriching themselves. In terms of corruption, this is the worst regime Zambians have ever seen. Edgar’s regime is worse than those of Frederick Chiluba or Rupiah Banda that you thought were corrupt.
We have difficulties trying to understand how they think they will get away with this level of corruption. But what happens is that the corrupt are like people who have soiled themselves, they don’t want to stand up and leave. It’s clear why this regime will do anything to continue to be in office. If it means rigging elections, they will rig to stay in power; if it means changing the constitution to give themselves another term in office, they will do so. They will even force judges to make rulings that prolong their stay in office. If it means killing people to keep themselves in power, they will not hesitate to kill. Look at how vicious they go after those who try to disturb their hold on power!
A corrupt regime is only sustained in power by engaging in more and more corruption. And the deeper it gets into corruption, the more intolerant it becomes, the more despotic its rule becomes. And tyranny becomes the order of the day, its modus operandi.
But like all other corrupt regimes, the ending is always disastrous. Look at how Mobutu ended! Edgar’s regime will not be an exception. Its ending will be very bad.
This unbridled greed, this unfettered desire for money or power with no regard whatsoever to moral boundaries, will land Edgar in serious trouble. Edgar is not ashamed of any wrongdoing. For Edgar, anything goes with no regard to personal integrity. Personal integrity is not something Edgar values and this can be seen in the type of people he has picked to surround him and those he gives assignments to do this or that for him. Even his attempt to project himself as a religious person has not helped matters or given him the motivation to stay away from abuse of power and corruption. You cannot detect any ethical position or sensitivity on Edgar’s part. He has no sense of selfless public service whatsoever. For him, it’s all about personal enrichment. How can a person like without a true, service-oriented spirit avoid corruption? How can a person like this be expected to have the courage to denounce corrupt behaviour and situations conducive to corruption? This is a case of someone who is aware of corruption and stays quiet. Edgar is aware of the corruption involving the sale of maize to Malawi but he is quiet. Why? And his entire government is there to cover up corruption. Why? They simply cover for the corrupt individuals, perhaps thinking that it is not their problem, or perhaps out of cowardice, so as not to make their lives more complicated. Look at how this government treats those who try to promote a culture of denouncing corruption! Look at how they are protecting Sunday Nkonde’s corruption or stealing of K2.5 million belonging to the government from Tedworth! In this government, crooks are admired and are seen as smart people. Stealing has become acceptable behaviour and it is seen as something that everyone does – it is a question of “take advantage while you can; life is short”.