TAYALI challenges Edgar Lungu on corruption and Nchito tribunal

Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda addresses Journalists at State House. Seated next to him are State House permanent Secretary Emmanuel Chilubanama (l) and Special Assistant to the President for Political affairs Kaiza Zulu (r) on March 9,2015 -Picture by THOMAS NSAMA
Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda addresses Journalists at State House. Seated next to him are State House permanent Secretary Emmanuel Chilubanama (l) and Special Assistant to the President for Political affairs Kaiza Zulu (r) on March 9,2015 -Picture by THOMAS NSAMA

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Zambian Voice, a pro-poor civil organisation, which encourages people to effectively participate in the governance of our Country to sustain democracy and bring about quality life, we are very concerned with corrupt activities going on among top Government officials.

Ladies and Gentlemen, corruption is simply the abuse of bestowed power or position to acquire personal benefit.

Corruption is one of the most difficult crimes to prove, because usually it involves two willing parties to mutually benefit, exclusive of all other parties. However, corruption can easily be detected by simply looking at people who are living way above their recognized earnings.

It is unfortunate my brothers and sisters that this corruption is happening in our Country at a high rate. Zambia’s corruption index rating, according Transparency International, stands at 38 out of 100. This figure has been constant for the past 2 years, 2013 and 2014.

Talking about figure like this, might not make sense to know who the corrupt people in our society. However, if you look around to see people living beyond their means, you can easily put a finger where corruption is.

Most of our professionals (Accountants, Lawyers, Doctors, Teachers, Nurses, Police, Defense, Journalists, Artists, etc) and businessmen are struggling to make ends meet in spite of our Country’s economic growth of about 7%. Most of them are barely surviving.

On the contrary, politicians from the ruling party and their associates are economically nurturing like pumpkin leaves near a broken sewer system. Within three years of being in power, most of these politicians have economically appreciated 0ne million fords. These politicians have properties that our ordinary civil servants would never dream of owning even if they had to renew their lives 10 times.

We have people who entered the political sine with nothing of their own, but the goodwill and chanting of unemployed youths, saw them into power. The youth and other Zambians put these people into power so that they can create employment for themselves and better the lives of Zambians. But today, they drive the most expensive vehicles and live in exquisite mansions in luxurious locations of our cities while the youths and women still wallow in poverty.

In January we got a new President after the demise of our Late President Michael Chilufya Sata. President Edgar Lungu appointed and reappointed a number of people in his government. Surprisingly, some of these people have drastically changed their way of life within three months. They seem to be in high speed to loot as much as they can within a year before the next elections.

These people have neglected the job that they were appointed for, instead they just want to take advantage of their positions to amass wealth for themselves.

As an organisation we have heard allegations of Mr. Keizer Zulu charging people to schedule appointments with the President and yet the President is still drinking tea with him at State House.

We have also heard that the same Mr. Zulu has acquired substantive shares in a new cement plant coming up in the Ndola. We would like The President to ask Mr. Zulu if this story is true, and if it is, where has he gotten the money?

Mr. Zulu seem to be very economically ingenious that he is also mentioned in a purchase of a number of houses with a recent one owned by Kapoko’s sister here in Lusaka. In the interest of transparency, we would like Mr. Zulu to confirm or deny this information.

It is a pity that since President Lungu went to State House, a number of his aides have been unprecedentedly linked to corrupt activities. Apart from Mr. Keizer Zulu, the State House Permanent Secretary, Mr. Chilubanama, has also been mentioned to have recently acquired a house in Olympia at an exorbitant price and he intends to move his Card Technology Company into the same property.

While most of our people are dying for lack of Medicare, Mr. Chilubanama is alleged to have taken a trip to France for a medical check-up. This can only be sign of having too much money. We hope our President will question Mr. Chilubanama on his return about the trip and report to the nation in the interest of transparency so that his image is not dented with corruption by association.

We are also interested to know about the alleged trip of Mr. Keizer Zulu and Mr. Chilubanama to Sasolberg town in South Africa when the President was in that Country for his operation recently. Sasolburg is named after a petroleum company: South African Coal, Oil and Gas Corporation (Sasol). We would like to know if the trip was a Presidential assignment or not.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in the last elections we spoke against political parties’ source of funding. We criticized those political parties that were getting funding from foreign nations. It has come to our attention that the Patriotic Front received money in the sum of USD$275, 000 from Dalbit Oil Company which is supplying fuel to this Country. It is alleged that this money was received by Mr. Keizer Zulu and the late Willie Nsanda.

We would like President Lungu to tell the nation how much he knows about this money and how they reconcile the awarding of contracts to this company when the same PF government labelled it company corrupt.

Further it would be good for President Lungu to give a report to the nation over the shortage of fuel we experienced in the recent past. The President issued a statement that the shortage of fuel was caused by some criminal elements. It is only proper that after such a statement a report follows. The statement by Chief Government spokesperson that the government has no obligation to release the report of the investigations concerning the shortage of fuel falls below the threshold of good governance where government is accountable to the electorates.

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to also express our views on the current Mutembo Nchito tribunal.

While we advocated for the setting up of a Tribunal to investigate our Director of Public Prosecution Mutembo Nchito due to various allegations by citizens, we did not condemn or judge our DPP. Rather we called for what is stipulated in our Constitution. We still reiterate that whenever any constitutional office holder is alleged to have committed an offence in the eyes of the public, such an officer must be subjected to investigations because no one is above the law.

However, it is sad to note that the Mutembo Tribunal seems to be marred with underhand methods which defeats justice. What has been revealed in recent past is appalling to continue with this process.

Our justice system is being brought into disrepute because of our vindictiveness, ego and malice intent (eg accusing him of planting of drags on a citizen and forging of a judgment) to deal with a once upon a time powerful man (a member of the cartel as he is usually described), who is alleged to have caused pain in a number of people’s lives.

Our view is that, even if a person is as bad as the worst wizard in the village, such a person is entitled to Justice without negotiations. The due process of the law must be followed to attain justice. This Justice should not just be done, but it must be seen to be done.

In the case of Mutembo, it is not happening. What we see instead, is persecution for the sins that those with power have seen in him. They are not doing this for the people of Zambia, who are the Tax-payers, but for themselves and their associates. Therefore as an organisation that aligns with the people especially the vulnerable, we want to see Justice done on Mutembo Nchito. Anything short of that, we will not hesitate to defend the DPP.

It must also be noted that, this process is not just about Mutembo Nchito but the office of the DPP which must enjoy security of tenure like other constitution offices. That said, we would like to warn other constitution office bearers not to get excited to pursue a political agenda, simply because they have just been appointed by President Edgar Lungu.

History has it that Mutembo Nchito was appointed by President Sata, notwithstanding the fact that some of us the appointment. However the same government bulldozed its way and anointed him as DPP and we as citizens respect Mutembo as a DPP and he must enjoy the privileges bestowed in that office. Government cannot continue flouting process to fit their political whims. We will not sit back and watch those with power abuse our justice system for political expediency.

In conclusion ladies and Gentlemen allow me to address you as journalists, not to side with insincere politicians who are only interested in using you as stepping stones into advance their political careers and agendas. You have a nation to serve. Let people know the Truth instead of allowing politicians to use you. Politicians come and go.

We also urge the President to bring the media close so that he can hear what is happening on the ground. The President should not relay on the traditional channels of interacting with people and receiving information. He should do something out of the ordinary so that he can reach the people. His aides will continue selling appointments if he does not overtake them in being available to the people.

In the same vein, we ask him to call for a Press conference to interact with the people through the media. Four months in office is long enough to sit with the media and interact on national issues. Even a dinner for the media would be good.

God bless Zambia and our leaders.

Source : The Zambian Voice