Is Lungu colour blind to corruption?

Harry Kalaba, in his New Year message, states, “The year gone by will most likely be famous and remembered for the rising tide of corruption and the seemingly falling standards of public accountability – a phenomenon which all well meaning Zambians should shun and endeavour to confine to the yester-year. The year 2018 is yet another opportunity for all of us to rally behind all the honourable men and women in government and outside government who have been championing the crusade against corruption and add our voices to those that have resolved to come in public office with clean hands. It is possible to make Zambia great if we all choose the country above self because we have seen the horror at play when self-interests are propagated and the collective will of the people is hashed. We can no longer fold our arms in silence and watch the impunity of those that make the essence of governing a mockery.

Those of us in public office who have let our people down must self-correct and yield to the will of the Zambian people. It is an honourable thing to do and when we have embraced this new standard of service to the people, we will be proud to stand and sing of Zambia and the era of consistent excellence will dawn upon us. 2018 brings forth this opportunity and promise or we can simply look away and accept to be men less of our mandate and beneath our calling…”

We agree! Only Edgar Lungu and his minions can, for very well known reasons, disagree with what Harry is saying or be offended by it. Indeed, impunity has been the order of the day when it comes to the corruption of Edgar and his league. They are getting away with everything. Even this mukula smuggling, no one will be arrested and prosecuted. Why? Again, it is not difficult to guess why! But their corruption and lack of accountability is starting to grate on many people, including their own members and supporters. It’s this frustration that is now making their cadres to expose their corrupt deals and other evils. This is not because these cadres stand on higher moral plane. It’s simply because they have gone too far to be tolerated and are eating alone.

They are quickly losing the respect of many people because of brazen way they are engaging in corruption and defending it. Look at the way they are handling this mukula smuggling scandal! It’s very easy to see who is involved in this deal. Look at the way they are handling the theft of Post assets! They are not even ashamed to get the Attorney General enter into clearly corrupt consent judgments to save their corrupt judge, Sunday Nkonde, from being made to account for his abuse of power. Impunity is indeed the hallmark of Edgar’s rule.

Edgar and his friends are increasingly being associated with corruption, impunity, intolerance and cruelty. And they are not doing much to try correct this perception. Why? It’s because it’s too true to meaningfully dispute or challenge. Yesterday, it was Chishimba Kambwili accusing them of corruption. Today, it is their own cadres accusing them of corruptly exporting mukula. And now Harry, who was Edgar’s own Minister of Foreign Affairs, is saying 2017 “will most likely be famous and remembered for the rising tide of corruption and the seemingly falling standards of public accountability”.

Why is Edgar failing to see what everyone else is seeing in his government? Is he colour blind to corruption? It’s very clear that Edgar cannot instill accountability in his government because he has none himself. Accountability is a key ingredient in any orderly and incorruptible regime. But it seems to be the one that Edgar has most difficulty with. When one accepts accountability, one puts oneself in a position where they can make the necessary changes to be orderly and honest, whereas when one, like Edgar is doing, looks to blame, it disempowers them.

The more accountable one can be, the more accountable one’s group will become and more can be achieved. Edgar will inspire accountability through having the ability to accept responsibility before he places blame.

Mahatma Gandhi said,

“It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts.” Accountability breeds response-ability. It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable.

Thomas Paine warned, “A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.”

It’s said that accountability is the measure of a leader’s height and that action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.

“The price of greatness is responsibility,” said Winston Churchill.

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