CANADA based lawyer Elias Munshya says all those who committed crimes against the people during PF’s rule should be investigated and prosecuted.
In an interview, Munshya who came to vote and has been in the country since, cautioned President-elect Hakainde Hichilema against forgiving those who hurt society with their criminal conduct.
He said there was a lot of lawlessness in the fallen administration, such that criminality became the order of the day.
“If the President-elect wants to forgive because they personally hurt him, and if he has a way to personally forgive them, that is good. He can do that. He’s a strong elder in the Seventh Day Adventist Church, also known as Chimpempe from Luapula. And so Chimpempes are very forgiving. So the President-elect can forgive in his personal capacity,” he told The Mast. “But when it comes to crimes that were committed, when it comes to theft that was committed, when it comes to the fraud that was perpetuated against our people, definitely we’ve got to have those investigated. Again, what we are saying is that they ought to be investigated. We are not going to assure the outcome, but at least there is going to be a process of investigation.”
Munshya said all those who promoted hate speech and tribalism should also be prosecuted because it is against the law.
“And particularly standing above the podium of a nation, national podium to single out a tribe; to single out the Tongas and say that this particular people when they rule, they will do this, they are bad people it fractures the unity of our country,” he added. “If these are held accountable, at least there is some acknowledgement that they were wrong. That they hurt and fractured our society. Then perhaps we could talk of any other thing. At the moment we ought to acknowledge that they really hurt our country. And if they are investigated and found wanting, they ought to be prosecuted because hate speech, tribalism is a crime.”
Munshya said forgiveness did not mean failure to punish those who offended society.
He said if they were left off the hook, a bad precedent would be set for the nation.
“I think those that committed crimes should be investigated and prosecuted in courts of law. The reason is this, you see, we are a country that is a growing concern,” he said. “And it matters how we handle this because what will happen today is going to set a pattern for what will happen tomorrow. If we would say that all that hate speech is going to end just by mere mention of forgiveness, what stops Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s presidency from going the same way?”
On corruption, he called for the arrest, prosecution and punishment of culprits.
“Forty-two fire trucks at one million dollars each! We all know that those fire trucks did not cost that much. So we want to find out what happened. Where did the money go? How did we come as a government, as a country, to allow somebody to come, a kelenka to come in and sell us a fire truck at one million dollars?” Munshya asked. “Every person that has seen a one-million-dollar fire truck, they will tell you that what they bought is not even close to one million dollars. Those are things that were just thrown away somewhere in a garage and they go pick it and come and sell it in Zambia at one million dollars. Those crimes must be investigated.”
And Munshya expressed hope that things would change for the better in the country.
“The election results present to us a possibility to begin afresh as a country. There Is a lot of expectation from our people on the new government to bring about economic development. But more than that, it’s not just about economic development but also collaboration of various actors in our society; civil society, political parties, churches, religious organisations, academic institutions; a collaboration that we were denied in the past,” said Munshya. “We hope that this new government will help us reunite and move together as a nation. I have read the manifesto, I heard what His Excellency President Hakainde Hichilema said. And I think I am quite satisfied he’s going to fulfill the promises that he made. He has promised that there Is going to be fiscal discipline in his government…He’s going to control the desire for debt because we entered into kaloba, we became a government of kaloba. And I hope that this new government is going to control itself and measure its growth.”