By Antony Bwalya
Let’s be very clear: Mr. Hakainde Hichilema is the epitome of the kind of ethical leadership Zambia requires in order to regain the faith and trust of our Bi and Multilateral partners, as well as restoring the confidence of private sector investment partners; as a prerequisite to kick-starting a fast dying Zambian economy.
Ethical leadership is all about trust, honesty, fairness and consideration and clarity of purpose. And when ethical leadership fails, no credible investment partners, either local or foreign, will have an appetite to do business with you.
The failure of ethical leadership under the Patriotic Front (PF) has occurred at organizational level, to the extent that the leadership and general membership of the PF has failed to hold itself up to the highest standard of public leadership integrity and morality.
While high ranking members of the PF establishment and government have repeatedly failed the ethics and integrity test of public leadership, the organization has applauded and defended acts of grand corruption, deception, manipulation and bad judgement of it’s high ranking members at the expense of safeguarding the wider interests of the Zambian people.
The PF, as a political establishment, has build and entrenched a culture of defending impropriety while attacking the ethical conduct of our public institutions of governance.
When the FIC report of 2018 revealed staggering acts of political grand corruption involving K5 billion, as well as revealing how the PF received K10 million as a kickback payment for the award of public contracts, the chorus to attack the integrity of the report was led by President Edgar Lungu himself, while ALL his lieutenants, either joined in or remained SILENT in this matter.
No one person in PF stood up to defend the ethical standing of the party by condemning this blatant theft of public resources.
When government Ministers connived to steal over $30m in the fraudulent procurement of Fire Tenders, the entire PF was unanimous in defending the cost of a Fire Tender at $1m each.
When Dr. Chitalu Chilufya paid out $288,000 for each ambulance that NEVER arrived, the entire PF applauded and defended his actions!
When $4m of social cash transfer money was stolen and diverted to stealing By-elections across the country, the entire PF defended this thuggery and said no money had ever been stolen, even when international development partners issued independent reports to the opposite.
The country remembers most recently, when high ranking government officials were mentioned in a dirty scam involving the illegal cutting and export of Mukula trees in which over $38m in bribes were paid, while the country lost over $1.5bn in revenue over 7 years…the PF and it’s members defended their paymasters and dismissed the report as innuendo, despite other international reports corroborating these findings.
In 2016, we all remember when government refused to obey the legal advice of the Attorney General and illegally allowed Ministers to remain in office at the height of a general election. These people not only abrogated the Republican Constitution, they also stole from the Treasury by illegally drawing salaries and allowances.
The PF establishment was again unanimous in defending the illegal assault on our constitution.
Today, Zambia sits on close to $13bn worth of very expensive, non concessional debt. All the debt contracted after 2016, close to $8bn, has been contracted without parliamentary approval and thus illegal.
The PF establishment defended this act of constitutional lawlessness and now want to legitimize it by removing parliamentary oversight around debt contraction, using another illegal avenue called Bill 10.
And how can we forget the marriage of ZNBC and TOPSTAR – over $100m stolen in this scam.
Today, we have senior members of the PF, wanting to oust President Edgar Lungu and become President when they are ALL complicit and beneficiaries in the destruction of our country.
Can any honest Zambian, put their hand on their heart, and cite one member of the PF, senior or otherwise, who PUBLICLY, TIMELY and CONSISTENTLY condemned these acts of sabotage by the PF against Zambians?
Those who are “speaking out now” against the collapse of ethical leadership in the PF are doing so because it serves their own personal interests, and it’s understandable.
BUT, this is not patriotism. This is deception and manipulation of the Zambian people.
Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, on the other hand, has consistently spoken out against ALL of the above crimes in defense of the Zambian Republic; and history has vindicated him.
Mr. Hakainde Hichilema has better served the collective public interest in opposition, than those we have actually elected and entrusted power and authority to govern.
In 2021, Zambians have an opportunity to make Mr. Hakainde Hichilema President.