Former justice minister in the PF government Sebastian Zulu says he is disappointed with President Edgar Lungu’s first 100 days in office because he has embraced corruption in his administration. And Zulu, who is also state counsel, says President Lungu and the PF are scared of losing the 2016 general elections, given the slender victory the party recorded in the January 20 presidential election. In an interview, Zulu said there was no way President Lungu could be expected to fight corruption because in his first 100 days in office, he had embraced corrupt individuals. “I am not impressed with the President’s 100 days [in office] because of the fact that he has embraced corrupt elements in his government and corruption must be fought earnestly.
If you remove a DPP so that certain people who are being prosecuted can have a way out, what do you call that? At the height of a prosecution of somebody you say, ‘You DPP [go] out’, this is in the middle of a prosecution!” he said. Zulu also questioned President Lungu’s decision to allow corruption-accused candidates to stand on the ruling party ticket in parliamentary by-elections. “In the parliamentary elections, there were these electoral petitions and some of the candidates lost their [seats] on the grounds that they were involved in corruption. If the [ruling party] takes the same candidate whom the court found was involved in corruption to be your candidate, are you serious about fighting corruption?” he asked. “He is not serious about fighting corruption at all. How can he come out to say ‘I am fighting corruption’ when he has embraced corruption? I am not impressed because there is no will to fight corruption.” Zulu, who was the first justice minister in the PF government, recalled that the party condemned former president Rupiah Banda’s rule and wondered how President Lungu could embrace him in his administration.
“You will recall that in 2011 before the election, I denounced president Rupiah Banda on the basis that he had embraced corruption. You will find the headline, your headline was that, ‘Rupiah must go’, but now there is no will by the government to root out corruption because they have embraced corrupt elements in this government,” he said. Zulu said it was not logical for President Lungu to claim to be fighting corruption when he had embraced Banda as his godfather, a man who was facing corruption charges in court.
“If a person is being prosecuted for corruption or abuse of office relating to corruption and is your advisor or is your godfather, what is your take on the issue of corruption? You embrace such a person as your godfather or advisor and you think that you can fight corruption? No!” he said. And Zulu said the PF would not stand a chance of wining the 2016 general elections under a new constitution. “If the government in power has a will to bring in a new constitution which the people want, they can do it, but politicians don’t want to lose power, that’s the bottom line. They don’t want to lose power and they will use every trick in the book to delay this whole process,” he said. “The people should know that the government in power has no intention of holding a referendum and the reason is, they will lose power. Look at the last presidential election! They were very close, isn’t it? Now if it was a 50 per cent +1 [threshold requirement], what was going to happen? The opposition would have supported HH and the PF wouldn’t get the 50 per cent + 1. With the 50 per cent +1 clause, there’s no candidate who can win outrightly. It means that there will be a re-run and the government in power knows that there is no way it can win this election without holding a re-run.” Zulu said it was unjustifiable for the PF government to claim that it did not have money for an expensive undertaking such as the referendum. “When the government says it’s expensive, I agree it’s expensive, but when you are dealing with human rights, the international community would come in and assist to provide the resources. They are very interested in enhancing human rights; they will come on board,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zulu said the PF had failed to fulfil what it promised the people during campaigns before the 2011 general elections. “When the PF came into power or before it came into power in 2011, their manifesto, I think it’s article 22 of the 2011 PF manifesto, indicates that this process, [the] constitution-making process would be subject to a technical committee which would look at the previous recommendations of the commissions of enquiry and the process will end up with a referendum. That was a campaign issue, they were telling the people, ‘We shall give you a new constitution by way of a referendum,” Zulu said. “When the late president Sata addressed Parliament in September 2011, he informed the House that the constitution-making process would end up with a referendum. When he appointed the technical committee drafting the constitution, and I was a member at that time of that technical committee, the terms of reference of that technical committee indicated or stated that this whole process would end up with a referendum, it’s there.” He said it was law that the nation holds a referendum if it intends to amend any part of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution. “In the present Constitution, there are about 17 articles dealing with human rights; in Part III of the present Constitution. It is mandatory to hold a referendum if you are to amend any part of the Bill of Rights. Those are the points on which it is absolutely necessary to hold a referendum,” said Zulu.