The Catholic Church, through its Agency the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection has called in the ACC to investigate President Edgar Lungu over the mansions he is constructing in Swaziland.
A JUST ZAMBIAN SOCIETY GUIDED BY FAITH, WHERE EVERYONE ENJOYS FULLNESS OF LIFE”
JESUIT CENTRE FOR THEOLOGICAL REFLECTION
3813 Martin Mwamba Road, Olympia Park
P.O Box 37774, 10101 Lusaka, Zambia
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +260 211 290410 | Fax: +260 211 290759
Is the Gift of Land to the Republican President a Moral or Legal Issue?
A lot has been said about the gift of land to the President by King Mswati of the Kingdom of eSwatini. It is
not the donation of land that is seems to be the issue to most people but the capacity in which the donee has
received the donation. The relevant provision in consideration is Section 21(1)(b) of the Anti-Corruption Act
which states that a public officer (whether the public officer in this context includes the President is subject to
interpretation) commits an offence of abuse of authority of office if the public officers uses one’s position,
office or authority or any information that the public officer obtains as a result of, or in the course of, the
performance of that public officer’s functions to obtain property, profit, an advantage or benefit, directly or
indirectly, for oneself or another person (paraphrased).
Pursuant to this provision it has been argued that the gift of the land to the Republican President is a legal
issue. In this respect, it has been argued that the President received the donation of land from Swaziland in
his capacity as the Head of State. This means that an offence under the Anti-Corruption Act has been
committed. It must be pointed out that legality and morality are not mutually exclusive. Corruption is morally
wrong. At the same time, it is a crime.
Corruption is recognized as an issue of serious political, economic and moral significance representing a cost
for growth and development. In a country like Zambia where we take seriously the fight against corruption,
the fight against corruption is lost the moment that our Leaders’ actions or decisions become suspect of
infringing some anti-corruption laws. This is because in a crusade against corruption, the country needs
leadership that spearheads the fight not only by words but also by example. Any indication of wavering in
the zeal or passion on the part of the President in the battle to rid the country of this vice can have devastating
consequences. This is because in our efforts to fight the cancer of corruption, the nation looks up to the
President for examples and inspiration.
The government of Zambia has declared zero tolerance against corruption. Therefore, the President must not
allow his actions to erode the public confidence and trust amongst Zambians in his leadership towards this
goal. The failure of leadership in this crusade will give negative signals and trigger a race to the bottom which
will have serious consequences on the development of our nation. Our concern is that it is the poor men and
women and the vulnerable members of our society who are going to bear the brunt of any reversals in the fight
against corruption in Zambia. We therefore urge the President to demonstrate leadership in this regard by
coming out to address the nation on this issue to assure the nation that the government is still committed to
achieving zero tolerance against corruption.
The conflicting justifications the nation is getting from the President’s staff and some traditional leaders are
not inspiring confidence in the Presidency. The reported allegations of corruption involved in this land
transaction including the alleged involvement of Inyatsi Construction Ltd are very serious to be left to the
rebuttal of traditional leaders and a few civil servants some of whom are probably not even familiar with the
transaction. JCTR is further asking the Anti-Corruption commission to redeem itself on this matter by
instituting thorough investigation in the allegation and clarify whether the President breached any provisions
of the Anti-Corruption Act.