WE are elated by the Road Transport and Safety Agency chief executive officer’s decision to go on leave, says the Southern Africa Network Against Corruption. According to a statement issued by transport minister Brian Mushimba, RTSA chief executive Zindaba Soko on Tuesday asked for leave to pave way for investigations into allegations that he was involved in money laundering activities. In a statement yesterday, SANAC deputy director-advocacy, Darius Serenje, stated that he wished the same would be extended to senior government officials, especially those close to the Presidency.
He said fighting corruption must be a serious undertaking and not just talked about to create a veneer of political or spiritual legality.
“At the time when the Namibian Minister of Education and Arts (who is in court on allegations of Corruption and Abuse of Authority) has tendered in her resignation, we are elated by the decision made by the chief executive office of Road Transport Safety Agency to go on leave so that there can be a neutral ground for investigations. We wish this could also extend to the rest of the other senior government officials, especially those close to the Presidency,” Serenje said.
He said it was unfortunate that the current fight against corruption lacked consistency, let alone political will.
“When we say that we are against corruption, our actions and not words must characterise our pursuit. Certainly, the citizenry can not take the zero tolerance against corruption stance seriously if fundamental principles are being circumvented,” Serenje said.
Referring to infrastructure minister Ronald Chitotela’s continued stay in Cabinet despite having been arrested twice on several charges by the Anti-Corruption Commission, Serenje said there could never be success without consistency.
He said uniformity was the hallmark of achieving goals and the very foundation of trust.
“How is it that Mr Soko understands the importance of investigation devoid of interference and also public perception and confidence in the whole process and yet Honourable Chitotela and other ministers who are currently under investigations as revealed by the Vice President, don’t? This is a serious indictment,” Serenje said.
“The Minister of Transport and Communications is quoted saying: ‘As part of good corporate governance practice, Mr Soko wants the investigation process to proceed without any perceived interference from his office and allow the law to take its course’. How does his action to request for leave amount to good corporate governance and yet others seem taking a different direction despite occupying higher offices? Consistency lacks here! And these are the elements that erode public confidence in statutory institutions.”
Serenje insisted that the country was setting a very bad precedent and also laying a foundation on whose cradle the younger generation shall practice corruption without shame and remorse.
“Remember that when Mother Cow is chewing the cud, the calf watches keenly. We would want to reiterate that we are not insinuating that anyone is guilty yet but only seeking for a consistent approach to the way we handle matters of grave importance such as these,” Serenje said.
SANAC called on President Edgar Lungu to show consistency in his fight against corruption.
“It is high time our leaders learnt that when the curtain falls, it is time to get off the stage with dignity and an unquenchable legacy. And we’re calling on the President yet again to send his ministers (including those that the Vice-President revealed in Parliament) on leave ‘as part of good corporate governance’, let them get cleared and he can have them back working later,” said Serenje.
“Our call to the President is not for him to break friendship and relationships with anyone as he made it seem last time but to give the corruption the fight it deserves.”