Edgar Lungu’s challenge to Harry Kalaba to provide the Anti-Corruption Commission the evidence of corruption he “claimed” to have witnessed when he was in Cabinet doesn’t make sense.
Edgar is not serious.
If the Anti-Corruption Commission was serious about fighting corruption Edgar and his minions would be in prison. Anyway Edgar has immunity, but that doesn’t stop the Anti-Corruption Commission from raising the alarm about his corruption.
Edgar has failed to explain the source of his sudden wealth which is far beyond his earned income. This is prima facie evidence of corruption. So what evidence should Harry provide the Anti-Corruption Commission?
What is being said about Edgar also applies to his minions who have amassed wealth far beyond their earned incomes.
The truth is it’s not possible for one to genuinely fight corruption if one is corrupt.
Akashambatwa Mbikusita Lewanika recently summed it up well, “Since the death of president Levy Mwanawasa, there is an unannounced ceasefire in the fight against corruption because those who should be announcing are the captains of corruption. One of the most unjust things we do to those who contribute to building good governance in this country is that even when they are dead, you are busy destroying even the little they managed to build. The fight against corruption; there’s actually been a ceasefire for about a decade!”
Accordingly, it doesn’t make sense to expect Edgar to genuinely fight corruption. This is a man who, as a lawyer, had stolen money belonging to the client of his law firm! The Law Association of Zambia, accordingly, withdrew his practicing certificate. But this is the man the Patriotic Front decided to make its leader and impose him on the Zambian people as President of the Republic!
Can anyone really expect Edgar to champion the fight against corruption?
Can anyone really expect Edgar to be incorruptible?
Today Edgar is failing to explain the source of his sudden wealth. Within less than a year of being President, Edgar’s personally declared wealth more than doubled. This was far beyond the salary and allowances the Zambian taxpayer pays him. Where did this sudden wealth come from? Whatever its source, this cannot be earned income; it is unearned income. And it is a well established principle that unearned income is prima facie evidence of corruption. Edgar has been challenged by many people to explain the source of this sudden and clearly unearned wealth but has failed to do so. What should be a reasonable conclusion from this? We are left with only one reasonable conclusion: Edgar is corrupt.
And can a corrupt president like Edgar really be expected to genuinely fight corruption?
Today State House is seen by many people in this country as the most corrupt state institution. Why? They see the corruption in him, with him and around him.
This man was your neighbour, friend or associate. You know what he had or did not have. But look at what he today has, his net worth! Where did all this sudden wealth come from? We know that money does not grow on trees! Its source can only be corruption – bribes, kickbacks, cuts and all sorts of abuses and thefts.
And look at the type people who surround your President! Look at how all of a sudden they have become so wealthy!
Is this a President, a government that can genuinely fight corruption?
What Edgar did was to ensure that those who exposed and fought his corruption were eliminated. Accordingly, Edgar ignored legal orders and ensured that The Post, a newspaper that had the courage and capacity to expose and denounce the corruption of his league, was closed and liquidated on an ex parte order from an equally questionable and corrupt judge.
As long as Edgar is President, Zambians should forget about a genuine fight against corruption. This corrupt president, government cannot be expected to genuinely fight corruption. Edgar may pay some little lip service to fighting corruption here and there. But that’s all. He can’t go beyond that. Edgar fighting corruption will be tantamount to fighting himself – suicide!
And because of this, Zambia today faces a wide range of challenges related to the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.
Since Edgar became President, rather than feeling better about progress in the fight against corruption, a clear majority of people in Zambia now say that things have become worse.
And we shouldn’t forget that corruption is not only about bribes, kickbacks and embezzlement: people especially the poor get hurt when resources are wasted, stolen. That’s why it is so important to understand the different kinds of corruption to develop smart responses.
Corruption is simply a symptom showing that things somewhere are going in the wrong direction.
The greatest challenge we have today in the fight against corruption is not a lack of institutions and laws. It’s a disregard for institutions and laws by Edgar and his minions. Look at the way they ignored the order of the Revenue Tribunal to reopen The Post and their criminal abuse of Sunday Nkonde to liquidate The Post with an ex parte order. And look at the corrupt way they are protecting Nkonde from being made to account for his corrupt decisions and actions!
Look at how they are abusing the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Drug Enforcement Commission and the police to protect themselves being prosecuted for corruption and other abuses! But look at how they are abusing these institutions to harass and humiliate political opponents!
In our view the issue is on the correct application of laws and the sanction against those who do not comply to these laws. If people firstly concentrate on the respect of laws and institutions and systematically apply sanctions against those who depart from these laws, corruption will disappear without any other additional remedy. We need to change the paradigm./