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HH must ‘intervene’ in corruption fight Part 1

[By Austin Mbozi]

President Hakainde Hichilema shall, and must, ‘intervene’ in police’s, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)’s and Director of Public Prosecution (DPP)’s corruption fight. But not with courts.

To stimulate healthy public debate, I ‘solicit’ Professor Munyonzwe Hamalengwa, author of that informative book, Thoughts Are Free, to write a counter article against this article.

What is to intervene?

‘Intervening’ is pressing for quick good action. ‘Interference’ is pressing to stop good action. HH promised non-interference. But PF thieves and thugs think that he meant non-intervention. So, they are regrouping, using their types still in public offices, including in universities, to hide each other’s PF era deeds!

HH’s legal intervention includes giving officers corruption cases and pushing them to act, the way the praised anti-corruption president Levy Mwanawasa did. As vice-president, Mwanawasa ‘intervened’, reporting then heath minister Michael Sata to ACC for five counts of corruption that included instructing Medical Stoles Director General Dr Kamanga to employ his relative and directing a PS to pay rentals at his private Farmer’s House. Again, he ‘intervened’ by pushing ACC chairman justice Robert Kapembwa to take the cases to the DPP. When DPP Gregory Phiri delayed he ‘intervened’ by pushing justice minister Dr Ludwig Sondashi to push the DPP. The DPP wrote to Dr Sondashi that they would arrest Sata.

We voted HH to intervene. As commander-in-chief of police who underwent Zambia National Service training, he knows that commanders recruit mankulutu (recruits), give them orders to stop malingaling (aimless loitering) and ‘matching orders’ to the guardroom. Commanders may use courtesy and tell mankulutu ‘to work without interference’. But when they misbehave through indiscipline like PF thief-thugs are, the Commander resumes commanding. Attorney General Mulilo Kabeshya and solicitor general Marshal Muchende will help HH command within the framework of law.

And he will hopefully not be selective as PF thug leaders did.

Why intervene?

First, corrupt people are socially intertwined. Officials that did not arrest PF thief-thugs during the PF era are also corrupt by getting bribes. Their day-today lives are inter-connected, making corruption a culture, a pandemic. Read Chinua Achebe’s No Longer at Ease. Obi Okonkwo’s fellow graduate friend Christopher mocks him for not sleeping with the young lady that offered him her body in exchange for recommendation for a scholarship. He says she thinks he is sexually impotent. But when he tries to sleep with the next lady applicant, his fiancée Clara condemns him because it is better for him to get a bribe from her than sleep with her. Or read Achebe’s masterpiece, Man of the People! Odili Samasulu, a fresh graduate is fighting the corruption of the un-educated minister, Chief Nanga. Yet he stops fighting when the minister gives him a Servants’ Quarter to be having ‘privacy’ with a girlfriend called Esie. But Elsie sleeps with the minister, so Odili resumes the ‘corruption fight’ and joins an opposition party. Odili’s father gets bribes from the corrupt minister to give Odili so that he stops the fight. When Odili refuses his father ‘eats’ the ‘gift’, calls Odili ‘sleepy’ because ‘other tribes are eating’ and campaigning for Chief Nanga. Then Odili also gets money from ‘unhappy’ but equally corrupt ministers in Chief Nanga’s ruling party, buys himself a car and uses it to entice Chief Nanga’s young second wife-to-be, Eunice. But Eunice’s father mocks Odili for driving a ka ‘tortoise’ (small car), that cannot compare with his ‘real son-in-law’, the corrupt Chief Nanga. Achebe then asks, like Mwanawasa did, ‘where in this corrupt-minded society do you even start fighting corruption from? Can you fight everyone?’

Second, these oversight institutions are incompetent because they feared to arrest PF thugs. Any person who feared PF in order to protect his job is incompetent, an accomplice. And if junior officers were afraid of corrupt ministers, then they will be even more afraid of reporting their PF era corrupt bosses still holding public offices.

Third, PF thugs have tribal loyalties. Sata nearly beat Mwanawasa in 2006 by campaigning that Mwanawasa was arresting Bembas.

How to intervene with a reluctant DPP

A President cannot fire a DPP. President Fredrick Chiluba stopped Mwanawasa from arresting his ‘trusted’ minister Sata. Shockingly, DPP Gregory Phiri, to please Chiluba, denied trying to arrest Sata.

Mwanawasa had these lessons by the time he became president in 2001. In July 2002, he removed Chiluba’s immunity to prosecute him for allegedly stealing US $500,000, mostly from the Zanaco bank’s state ZAMTROP account. Fred M’membe, Dipak Patel, Edith Nawakwi and Bivan Saluseki were in court for calling Chiluba a thief. In January 2003, Mwanawasa formed the Task Force on Corruption chaired by Mark Chona, and Mutembo Nchito as its prosecutor. But opposition leader Sata called the Task Force ‘illegal’ while DPP Mukelebai Mukelebai was resisting Mwanawasa’s political ‘interference’ and demanded a different prosecutor. But Mwanawasa got his was by insisting on Mutembo.

Chiluba was prosecuted together with his loyal big shots: Dr Kashiwa Bulaya, former Army commander Geojago Musengule, former Airforce commanders Lieutenant General Christopher Singongo and Sande Kayumba, National Service Commandant Wilford Funjika, Intelligence Director-General Xavier Chungu and press aid Richard Sakala (maybe unfairly?). Meanwhile, Mukelebai was sidelined, frustrated, became ill and died in South Africa.

How to obtain hidden data from banks

Getting ZAMTROP details required political interventions. First, Zanaco bank managing director Samuel Musonda refused to testify; so only this presidential Task Force could obtain a court order to get them. Second, Mutembo had to obtain Mwanawasa’s permission to publicise ZAMTROP details, to avoid publicising national security.

So to succeed, HH will need a hard-hitting media like The Post, grudge-angry hard core Spartans like M’membe and Mutembo and snake-like charming diplomatic guru like Chona who could convince British government to facilitate a Peter Smith London Judgement that ruled that Chiluba stole US $40 million. Part Two will propose how to handle pro-corruption judges.

The author is lecturer of good governance at University of Zambia. Phone 0978-741920. Email:austin.mbozi2017@gmail.com.

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