Lusaka, 17 August 2020: The Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) is appalled at President Lungu’s utterances rubbishing a constitutionally established body, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), accusing it of a political ploy fighting for regime change.
Lungu should not hold Zambia at ransom for fear of losing power. He does not own this country. He was given its stewardship by us through our Constitution and he will leave power through the same Constitution. He cannot start dismantling the ACC or other constitutional institutions in order not to engender regime change. Regime change in a democracy is inevitable. Therefore, since article 4 part 3 of the Constitution establishes our nation as a multi-party democracy regime change is our constant and anyone who gets into power should be ready to leave. There is no other pinnacle to go to, but out, after getting into power. The President further swore to defend the Constitution and yet he is disparaging the same Constitution he swore to defend.
The ACC is constitutionally established by Article 235 under Investigative Commissions which includes the Drug Enforcement Commission and the Anti Financial and Economic Crimes Commission. Traditionally, in any institution including non-state institutions, the individuals that have opportunities to be corrupt and that are indeed corrupt are the ones with power and politicians everywhere have power and logically the investigative wings’ lenses are and should be focused on politicians. Only last week, one of Lungu’s favourite Ministers Bowman Lusambo bragged about 2 million Kwacha being shopping money when teachers who retire upon reaching retirement age get an average of K400,000. Where is the service record of Tasila Lungu, Bowman Lusambo and the other corrupt politicians to have a paper trail of their earnings?
We are still mindful that President Lungu has never explained to us Zambians how his net worth jumped from K2 million in 2015 to K23 million in 2016. These are historical facts that will not be wiped away or glossed over. The President is very slick but not that thorough. He says different things to different audiences but on the same issue. We know the audience he said this to, the marketeers at Chifubu Market who had just received a new market so they were very receptive to viewing the President and his ministers as ‘victims’. If the President believes strongly and suspects bias on the part of the Anti-Corruption Commission, as CiSCA we contend that a marketplace does not constitute the right place and audience for his evaluation of the Commission. Corruption thrives in a society of instant gratification in which hard work and thriftiness is frowned upon. Hence, we have someone coming from being a mere overall-wearing violent die-hard cadre to a wealthy minister.
From the way the President has been speaking for corruption first encouraging ‘ukulya mwibala’, then labelling the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) Report as ‘mfwiti, mfwiti’, and now vilifying the ACC, it is clear that President Lungu has probably given up on leaving a clean legacy in Zambia. He has clearly thrown caution to the wind, but he should not dismantle our country. Leaving power is normal and one can either make it a noble exit or be taken out kicking, punching and screaming. Otherwise the time to leave will come.
Earlier this year, on Friday 6th March 2020 during his address to Parliament on progress made in the application of the national values and principles as provided for in Article 8 of the Constitution, the President said, and we quote, “My government remains committed to the fight against corruption. With regard to prosecutions, the Anti-Corruption Commission secured 17 convictions and recorded 7 acquittals during the period under review. I urge individuals, the public sector as well as non – state actors to continue partnering with government in the fight against corruption. We must all hate corruption in order to fight and eradicate it because corruption is number one enemy in sustainable development and good governance. Remember corruption is a two-way vice that requires concerted effort to curb. Join my government in fighting corruption: join us in developing Zambia, without leaving anyone behind”/. Five months later he changes his tune and becomes the defense lawyer of politicians suspected of corruption instead of waiting for the law to take its course. Why is President Lungu consistently changing his stance on national issues depending on where and with who he is with? What are we Zambians supposed to infer from his contradictions, all documented? Is this why in his ‘do or die’ Bill 10 they have elected to delete Article 10 clause 4 which read together with Article 16 on protection of property and which provides for pursuit of proceeds of a crime at international level using customary international law? By deleting this clause Bill 10 seeks to quietly allow illicit financial flows from Zambia to outside the country which successive governments cannot constitutionally pursue and retrieve as Bill 10 now suggests that what should remain on our Constitution is, ‘Subject to Article 16, the Government shall not compulsorily acquire an investment.’ That is all!
By disparaging the ACC Act Number 3 of 2012, Lungu is going against the very spirit of his beloved Bill 10 which he claims will provide empowerment to youths, women and persons with disabilities based on a vague constitutional provision that speaks to future unknown subsidiary legislations and yet he is disparaging current and known subsidiary legislation? Bill 10 is proposing in Article 47 (2) that elections to the national assembly shall be conducted under a mixed member electoral system as prescribed. As prescribed meaning subsidiary acts of parliament. Lastly, who employs the Director General of the Commission? Who nominates the Commissioners? Who ratifies the Commissioners if not the majority PF MPs in Parliament? It is therefore clear that the ACC dragnet is going after politically connected individuals who are scared cows in the eyes of the President.
CiSCA Vice Chairperson