BREBNER Changala has charged that President Edgar Lungu and Dr Chitalu Chilufya are in the same league, hence the ACC’s fear to arrest the health minister.
Last week, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) warned and cautioned Dr Chilufya on allegations of “possession of property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.”
However, ACC officers could not effect an arrest because a named provincial minister and some of President Lungu’s aides exerted pressure on the Commission to protect Dr Chilufya.
But Changala, a good governance activist, argued that probably Dr Chilufya committed the alleged crimes in the name of the President.
“Dr Chilufya is not Zambia, and Zambia is not Dr Chilufya. And Dr Chilufya is not a sacred cow, he must let the rule of law prevail in these circumstances. He must stay away because his principal, and that is the President, will not let him go because probably what he’s doing he might be committing these crimes on behalf of the Executive. And that leader of the Executive is the President of the Republic of Zambia,” he said in an interview yesterday. “And this is the challenge the Zambian people face. We are being led by people of questionable character. I must confess that we are living in very extraordinary times where some people are more equal than others. And when it comes to those who are not in good books with the State or with the government as it were, the Anti-Corruption Commission is very swift and it dramatises the arrests, and the information flow is very efficient.”
Changala said the ACC had always dragged its feet whenever a senior ranking government official was involved in corruption.
“When it comes to government officials, especially those who are in the inner circle, the wheels of the Anti-Corruption Commission develop rust and they do things under the carpet; knowing very, very well that they don’t have security of tenure in their offices. The impunity and the unprecedented corruption that we have seen in this country has been at the higher level in the inner circle of President Lungu and the entire Executive,” Changala said. “And the Anti-Corruption Commission has not been very helpful to curb this scourge. What is happening to Dr Chilufya and what happened to the minister of infrastructure then, Ronald Chitotela is a clear eye opener of the challenges and difficulties that the Anti-Corruption Commission faces, as it were, at the moment because all these crimes of corruption if they are effectively and religiously followed they will lead nowhere else other than at the door step of State House because State House is equipped with the intelligence system that briefs and informs the Head of State of what every individual does in this country. The secret service does inform the President as and when any crime or good is done in this country.”
He wondered why the ACC always dramatised arrests of opposition leaders.
Changala charged that the Commission was failing to act because Dr Chilufya was part of President Lungu’s inner circle.
“When we come to Dr Chilufya, if he was in the opposition today, the press and through them, the people of Zambia could have known a lot because the Anti-Corruption Commission was going to be efficient, swift, and to the core of their mandate. They are failing to act, and act swiftly because they don’t’ want to injure the Executive; because the Executive is sensitive, it will do changes and they will lose their jobs,” he said. “It has recently happened at the Auditor General’s office where the President has shaken up the top leadership. And I don’t think the Auditor General’s office will be the same thereafter, because they install puppets that allow corruption to flourish. Let me go further, and this is where our democratic institutions are highly cannibalised by the State. And this is where we experience the breakdown in the rule of law because the institutions mandated to carry out functions in order to fully pillar and support our young constitutional democracy are under siege. They are being eaten beneath by political termites that we elect from time to time.”
Changala challenged Dr Chilufya to resign for the sake of his integrity.
“Dr Chilufya must do what is correct. Out of his own personal conscious and integrity he must step aside and allow the full investigation to be blown out while he’s outside the administration of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu. His continuous stay in office is injurious to the Executive, is injurious to the people of Zambia,” Changala said. “And it also shows that these people do not respect the institutions of government. Once you are found wanting, in any viable situation, you are supposed to step aside and allow investigations. But, alas, Ronald Chitotela went to court and acquitted at a rocket speed without staying away from office. I see this thing happening to Dr Chilufya because this is a new normal under President Edgar Chagwa Lungu.”
And Changala described President Lungu’s legacy a hallmark of corruption.
“But what is so frightening is that the President of the Republic of Zambia is not ashamed to destroy institutions of governance; he’s not ashamed. And he goes in public pretending to be a humble man,” said Changala. “He goes to public showing the people of Zambia that he’s highly religious and he’s a man who is inspired by the rule of law when the opposite is the case. President Lungu’s legacy is littered with corruption, if I may put it this way. The hallmark of President Lungu’s administration is but corruption, breakdown in the rule of law, and a destruction of our national unity under One Zambia, One Nation.”