By Nicholas Phiri
Let us for once stop condemning our national leaders for their shameless daylight robbery, plunder and abuse of resources they hold in trust of 16 million Zambians. This is all our faulty!
These leaders don’t fall from heaven. We put them in those positions. They are a reflection of our society, one that hates hard work and cherishes easy money even if that “easy” meant pushing the majority into deprivation. One that embraces instead of reprimanding thieves.
We encourage government officials to steal from us by giving them our vote to remain in power despite their long fingers which we know very well. We care for such trivial things as tribe as opposed to character. We like poor Lazarus, love to beg for crumbs under the table while politicians are chewing our own hard earned income and God given resources. Truth be told, politicians like underwear must be changed often all for the same reason. As it is now, we are useful idiots in hands of politicians, that is why they can dream to be in power for 100 years!
The Financial Intelligence Centre has released a damming report citing grand financial theft by those in public offices. For example, over 6.3 million (billion in old currency) was lost in corruption through politically exposed persons while 4.5 billion (trillion in old currency) was Lost through tax evasion, corruption, money laundering and fraud. If this money was invested into education and health, public universities would not close unnecessarily and no woman would die from pregnancy related complications. We would not have had cholera outbreaks.
Not surprising though, instead of getting outraged with the level of theft in government, we have people among us who have chosen to rubbish this report and question the legitimacy and motives of the FIC. This is Zambia for you. We defend and honor thugs! Wait for results of the by elections and prove me wrong. Who has bewitched us that we have eyes but can’t see kashi?
It reminds me of 2015 when his Excellency the President declared his humble net worthy in assets just around 2.5 million Kwacha. His campaign team went in overdrive selling him as of ‘one of us the poor’ while other zealots went to town to pour scorn on the richer Presidential aspirants despite their traceable business trajectory, as if getting genuinely rich was a sin.
However, 15 months or so later, his Excellency President Lungu stunned the world and defied economic theories. He grew his net worthy from 2.5 million in 2015 to million to 23.7 million in 2016, exactly 15 months down the line. Supposing he did not touch his salary because everything at Plot One is free, he would only have had about ZMW 671, 338.50. But his Excellency had increased his net worth by 21.2 million within 15 months when his monthly salary was only about ZMW 37, 296.58.
Nobody took this as a red flag and those who saw and questioned it were verified. What did we do? We praised his Excellency as the humble great leader of this great nation for growing his personal financial position by over 800% in just 15 months while the national economy was shrinking. We went ahead and showed faith in his leadership by voting in favour of what was clearly a questionable presidency. Questionable in the sense that the President did not and has never accounted for such an increase in wealth which in my opinion is only possible through graft or miracle money! And then today you are surprised by Eswatin scandal?
This is what we have given ourselves and we should not cry for choosing to burry our heads in sand when we had an opportunity to stop the rot. The list of questionable deals is swelling: Mukula, Top star deal, Fire tenders, ambulances, digital migration, Ndola dual carriage way, Eswatin, Stage saga……
Dear reader, If you thought we are going through tough times, wait until one day you wake up and find that you have no country to call home because your country has been actioned to foreigners we owe Kaloba.
If that happened, please don’t blame politicians. Blame yourself for handing the country to the jackals. How long are we going to be useful idiots in the hands of politicians pilfering public resources?