ZAMBIANS deserve better from those that govern and equally from those that desire to govern us, says Zambia Civic Education Association executive director Judith Mulenga.
Mulenga said UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa and his colleagues refusing to report PF MPs that attempted to bribe the opposition party’s MPs to vote for Bill 10 to the Anti-Corruption Commission because, according to him the ACC has become a ‘dry cleaner for laundering filthy politicians’, makes disturbing reading.
“We would like to remind Hon Mweetwa and his colleagues that they are duty bound to report criminal activities. Bribery is a crime and every citizen who witnesses a crime is duty bound to report to law enforcement agencies. Whether the agency is effective or not should not prevent a citizen from reporting the crime,” she said.
“If lawmakers such Hon Mweetwa and his colleagues refuse to be duty bound, how can they convince us that when they take up power they will respect such institutions? Yes, the ACC’s track record in terms of the rates of prosecution leaves much to be desired in a country with a very high corruption perception index but the Anti-Corruption Commission is what we currently have in place to fight the scourge of corruption. It is the only ‘dry cleaner’ for corruption in the country.”
She urged UPND to emulate the good citizenship demonstrated by lawyer John Sangwa who despite having strong reservations about the qualifications of the Constitutional Court judges still dutifully appeared before them.
“Hon Mweetwa informed the nation that he and his colleagues have evidence in form of recordings and text messages and we are keen as a nation to know the persons in the ruling party walking about ‘shamelessly with sacks of money’. Money in sacks does not come from legitimate means. We want to know who these corrupt ministers and MPs in PF are. We have a right to know them,” she said.
“They may not face the due process of the law as per our expectations or international standards but we will know them and end their political careers. Hon Mweetwa and his colleagues who resisted being bought should not drop the ball from their great gallantry on Bill 10 to become mere alarmists. We Zambians deserve better from those that govern and equally from those that desire to govern us. We are tired of being played by politicians. We need to build a culture of societal indignation against corruption.”
Mulenga said society’s unquestioning acceptance of instant wealth of politically connected persons has served to embolden these persons’ impunity where corruption is concerned, making Zambia, a poverty-stricken country a ‘looters paradise’.
She said what pains most ordinary Zambians was the knowledge that the same politically connected persons who use their connection to extract illicit wealth from national resources use the same ill-gotten wealth to buy patronage as claimed by Mweetwa and his colleagues and consequently grossly undermine Zambia’s democracy.
She said democracy was not about buying people.
“Our political leaders come from our society and nobody knows more about their pre-political power wealth than us Zambians. Therefore, ill-gotten wealth should become a source of social scorn for this vicious cycle to stop,” she said.
“The PF claimed that Bill 10 was the people’s bill. So if it was the people’s bill, why bribe MPs who are representatives of the same people? It defies logic. Did the people give the PF ministers and MPs the sacks of money? People who can hardly provide mealie-meal porridge with salt to their children because mealie-meal is now conserved for the one unbalanced meal a day!”
She wondered how people in the fifth hungriest nation in the world have ruling party ministers with K6 million to bribe members of the opposition.
“If they can reserve such colossal amounts to bribe opposition political parties, how much are they sharing among themselves? And a member of the biggest opposition political party and government in waiting says he will not bother to report this crime to a law enforcement agency,” exclaimed Mulenga.
“No, honourable MP. Please report this heinous crime. Since PF came into power, we the citizens of this nation have lived with this perception that the PF ‘buy off’ political opponents and now there is evidence presented to you lawmakers and you refuse to report to law enforcement agencies!”