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The corruption cloud over State House

Edgar Lungu says the corruption fight has been politicised.

In an interview with the Voice of America in a hotel suite in New York where he was attending the UN General Assembly, Edgar said he does not interfere with the work of the Anti-Corruption Commission.

He expressed his frustrations at the performance of investigative wings, while drawing a line between freedom of speech and criminality. Edgar singled out a series of appalling accusations labelled against him, including the mysterious 48 houses, the drug trafficking, among others. He said some people in his administration were accused of corruption and when he drops them, they champion the fight against corruption with insults and somehow attain hero status. He wondered how he got roped in the mysterious 48 houses.

“First, the houses were said to belong to me, then my special assistant, then my daughter and the case is concluded. I can’t fire anyone for failing to investigate, if I do I am accused of interfering in this case,” he said. He said what comforts him was that all Presidents in Zambia, from Dr Kenneth Kaunda to Michael Sata, were good people as long as they were no longer in office.

“So I don’t worry, I should just do my work and when my time is up, they will say he was a good man,” Edgar says.

Indeed, this administration, particularly State House, has been accused of being a nest of corruption but at no time has the occupant – Edgar Lungu – come clean of the allegations.

Instead, he defends his associates and aides and answers questions that no one is asking him. At times he goes to great lengths warning whistle-blowers.

On Friday 13th September 2019, Edgar delivered his State of the Nation address to Parliament.

Like, many, many times before he said, “I will not relent on the fight against corruption. I will not stand and see greedy citizens destroy the good fibre of our nation. Indeed, I will not expect government, under my charge, fail to provide for the people of Zambia.” Really? Is this a joke?
Well, Edgar you have been failing miserably, whilst right under your eyes, greedy citizens associated with State House and you have destroyed and continue destroying the good fibre of our nation. You are exhibiting unprecedented moral blindness.

And this is why we think so. Edgar assumed office on 25th January 2015 and soon the genesis of corruption at State House began with the awarding of fertiliser fuel contracts to questionable suppliers at very high cost. Later came the issue of the US$1 million fire tenders as well as State House dealings with one Valden Findlay. To date no action has been taken by the so-called investigative agencies on the Politically Exposed Persons mentioned in the last two Financial Intelligence Centre reports. In August 2019, the scam on the 48 houses broke and Edgar ordered an inquiry and the issue remains unresolved.
Recently UPND president Hakainde Hichilema even took a dig at the infamous 48 houses issue by tweeting, “We are reliably informed that the owner of the 48 houses will not be found, due to climate change.”
The dark cloud of corruption has been hanging over State House for a very long time.

Our citizens are left to come up with all manner of conspiracy theories while investigative agencies are quiet – so far the only thing we have seen is the parading or summoning of Kambwili to furnish them with more information on Findlay! Really? There’s too much rot.

There’s need to smoke out all those questionable groups associated with State House who are currently lying low before they become a flight risk and flee Zambia.

Edgar’s regime is connected with questionable characters who now own companies in Zambia, South Africa, UK and Dubai, which the Zambia Revenue Authority would do better auditing them.

There’s also an issue of the mushrooming of buildings all over Lusaka whose financier(s) no one knows. Are the ZRA and relevant agencies doing their work!

In a recent editorial, we said, “Edgar takes no responsibility, nothing at all. Take corruption. Just a few examples: Edgar’s contempt of the Financial Intelligence Centre report, the 42 fire tenders at US$42 million and procurement of fertilisers in 2015 that were overpriced by about $40 million. He takes no responsibility to explain how his own wealth has exponentially grown from the days in Chawama and after he lost his law practicing license for having stolen clients’ money. It would be good for Edgar to remember the words of Oscar Wilde who said, “No man is rich enough to buy back his past”. Edgar takes no responsibility for the economic chaos under his leadership, yet he says the buck stops with him. Worse yet, unlike other presidents, he doesn’t seem to care about winning majority support and is under the illusion that it already exists. Edgar seems to have talked to himself into believing he will make Zambia great again. The world of Edgar and his ministers is a world in which the ferocious scramble, in which greed and cunning reap the largest rewards. Edgar has no sense of sin. He has an over developed sense of self-preservation, mired in incompetence and sleaze. Moral blindness of this scale is unprecedented. Edgar, remember that when you have a vision, you create a landmark, but when you have the trust of your citizens, you create history. Who was it that said, “The truth is the greatest enemy of the state?” Ah, yes – Goebbels.

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