‘Some of these laws against corruption are very weak’

COLONEL Panji Kaunda says we need fast-track courts as soon as possible.

“We need these fast-track courts as soon as possible. Parliament must a come up with a law for the creation of these courts so that they start working,” says Col Panji. “In my view, some of these laws against corruption are very weak, so they need to look at them seriously and where necessary amend them. For example, somebody who brings in expired drugs and they know that drugs are expired are the same as somebody who brings a gun and shoots me. So, basically, they are killing people. Why should they go in (jail) for only one year and someone who shoots a person goes in for life? Those who bring expired drugs should be treated as murderers.”

We agree.

He who kills with a gun and he who poisons or cause to administer wrong, expired or defective medicines or medical products that lead to death are both murderers. Corruption kills innocents in their majority while enriching the few perpetrators. Putting a higher price for the corrupt should entail stiffer punishment. Let there be not only longer and harsher custodial sentences but blacklisting of companies involved. We should equally ensure individuals associated or involved in corruption are banned from seeking public office for a specific number of years. Corruption, indeed must be accorded the same category as a crime against humanity. Only then can we get nearer to curtailing the vice.

As Noam Chomsky noted, “The only way we can put a permanent end to terrorism is to stop participating in it.”

Short of radical measures, stringent laws, the corrupt will have the last laugh. They will continue with impunity to reap significant benefits where they didn’t sow. And our nation will continue to repay huge debts we have accumulated in the last 10 years most of which money has ended in individual – private – pockets!

But citizens must add fuel to this fight against thieving – corruption.

Again Chomsky warns that, “As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.”

An example has to be set on the perils of sin! It shall not rain in a desert, not even with climate change. Recovery of stolen property should be accompanied with banishment as a necessary lesson – indicator to would-be thieves! The nation must demand actualisation of these fast-track courts on corruption and economic crimes like yesterday. Let it rain judiciously for our country to harvest prosperity and sanity from her resources.

What has been annoying to Zambians is that when the corrupt amass wealthy they begin to mock the same people who put them into power. They begin to accuse their employers – the people – of witch hunt and call them ‘mfwiti, mfwiti’. Further, corrupt politicians create a cartel where they pardon each other. They also mobilise judges and magistrates of like manner so that they secure questionable acquittals. We saw this in MMD and we have seen this in the PF administration.

And it all comes down to the type of leadership we had in those times. The nation is witness to what transpired during the Frederick Chiluba, Rupiah Banda and Edgar Lungu government!

Was corruption fought or viciously defended the corrupt? In so doing, they expected the whole nation to eulogise them.

Speaking of such leadership, Suzy Kassem advises thus, “Pick a leader who will keep jobs in your country by offering companies incentives to hire only within their borders, not one who allows corporations to outsource jobs for cheaper labour when there is a national employment crisis. Choose a leader who will invest in building bridges, not walls. Books, not weapons. Morality, not corruption. Intellectualism and wisdom, not ignorance. Stability, not fear and terror. Peace, not chaos. Love, not hate. Convergence, not segregation. Tolerance, not discrimination. Fairness, not hypocrisy. Substance, not superficiality. Character, not immaturity. Transparency, not secrecy. Justice, not lawlessness. Environmental improvement and preservation, not destruction. Truth, not lies.”

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