The Post Says ” Zambia Has Too MANY CROOKS”

Cropped image of Levy Mwanawasa. description: ...

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APAKOMAILA nondo pali ubulema. So goes a Bemba adage, meaning where there is a weakness, one does not stop attempting to correct the weakness. Taken literally, we should never tire talking about problems and challenges besetting our nation, the serious problems that have plagued Zambia.

There are serious problems in this country that need to be resolved in order to make Zambia a more fair, a more humane society for all of us, our children and our children’s children.

Corruption is among those debilitating problems that require to be fought with all our strength. The face of corruption in Zambia is ugly. It has killed, it has trampled down on many weak souls.

We, as a country, have painfully lived with this scourge for a long time with little success in fighting it. It cannot be argued otherwise that corruption has affected the development process of this country, it has made the poor poorer, raised the cost of doing business, and made access to public services difficult, if not impossible, for the majority poor of our citizens.

And this is a subject we are willing to be boring about if in the end it takes us to a more acceptable condition, if it takes to the formulation of more effective anti-graft measures, if it leads us to uplift the downtrodden. We have stated before that corruption raises the cost of everything including governing the country.

If corruption is passionately fought, our people’s lives would be improved in so many ways – materially, socially, politically, spiritually and so on and so forth. We agree with Emmanuel Hachipuka when he says, “We need to cleanse this country and unless we can do that, we will never get back into serious development. Abuse of resources is a very serious crime and I feel we should deal with it now.”

And Hachipuka adds that, “Yes, people must be prosecuted and acquitted if found innocent but at the same time we must realise that this country has got too many crooks.”

Yes, we need to be resolved to fight graft, we must take action against corruption because it is an evil. The Bible tells that evil must be punished. Corruption as an evil, a cancer must be purged from among us because it kills if left uncorrected. The vile, the crooks of yesterday, and they are many, and of different shades and stripes, must be pursued and brought to justice.

We cannot think of a more contemptible citizen – our power of imagination fails us to bring into our minds’ eyes a more despicable citizen – than the one that steals or abuses his or her poor country’s very limited resources and by so doing destroys the hopes and lives of the poor.

Yes, we have seen how this country’s finances have been abused by corrupt elements. We have seen how, because of corruption, justice has been abrogated, thrown to the winds; we have seen how construction projects have stalled because funds have been abused, how the sick cannot get proper healthcare because resources have been abused!

And we should not cheat ourselves, corrupt elements are still living with us. We need a total cleansing and we have to do that today, not tomorrow, for tomorrow will be too late. We urge all our people to turn their backs on corruption. We have to struggle to free Zambia of graft.

And we are seeing signs of this fight being exhibited by Michael Sata and his government. Their commitment to zero tolerance to corruption has been made clear and we have witnessed some moves in bringing to account past leaders suspected of having ill-gotten wealth.

And as we have stated before, this should not be treated as witch-hunting. We want to know, Zambians want to know how the wealth was gotten, they want to satisfy themselves that it is not their money that was used to acquire that wealth. Zambians want to satisfy themselves that their money will remain safe and only used for those things beneficial to them, those things that improve their lot.

Anyone being pursued for suspected corruption has a duty to explain. Any honest human being would not take offence at being asked where they have gotten their wealth. If any of us, including our very selves, is suspected of having wealth of any sort that seems to be beyond their earned income, they must be pursued and made to account for that unearned wealth.

And this fight against corruption that Michael has resuscitated, from where Levy Mwanawasa left it, should not be seen to be targeted at the former government leaders only but all citizens regardless of political, social affiliation.

That is why we urge vigilance in this fight that we cannot afford to lose. Wherever and whenever corruption, in all its forms, raises its ugly head, we must strike it. We should not turn a blind eye just because one involved is close to me, is my relative, or did something for me. Let’s fight corruption like we fight any cancer.

We should not wait until it has grown to unmanageable levels for it will quickly and surely constrict the country to death. And this should be done at all levels, starting with the most basic unit, the family. Don’t allow your children to bring home things that are beyond their earnings or what you cannot afford to buy them.

When they do, tell them to return those things to their owners. This is how our previously honest societies were constructed. There was accountability at every level or stage. We are saying all these things mindful that the best government in the world, the best parliament and the best president, cannot achieve much on their own.

And it would also be wrong to expect the eradication of corruption from Michael and his government only. The fight against corruption calls for the participation of all of us.

Corruption will not disappear by itself – it has to be fought and defeated. Let us strive to plant honesty in all our dealings, let’s nurture honesty because it is beneficial to the individual and the collective.

It must start from the home, from the family and be taught to our children at school, college or university. Honesty is something that we should inculcate wherever we are, nurture it and, like all virtues, it must be nourished. We are not doing much as a nation to encourage or inculcate the spirit of honesty and accountability among our people, especially the young ones.

That is why we are having defensive reactions like retribution and witch-hunting whenever one is asked to account. But we are forgetting that accountability had been the bedrock of the development of our traditional society.

We need to embrace the culture of responsibility and accountability and to commit ourselves with dedication and sacrifice in creating an honest, just, fair and human nation.

We must utilise all arsenals at our disposal to assail corruption. All legal means should be employed.

Even the abuse of authority offence that was removed from the Anti Corruption Commission Act on the backdrop of corrupt minds should be reinstated as a matter of urgency.

It is clear that no genuine reasons or intentions were advanced in removing that progressive legislation. It was removed simply to shield crooks from being pursued.

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