The media briefing by the toothless Anti-Corruption Commission the other day was of very little or no substance. Apart from patting themselves on the back for being accessories to the looting of this country, there was nothing new they told us. It was also interesting that they started by quoting a slogan attributed to Edward Lungu that went something like ‘A corruption-Free Zambia Begins with Me’. Yeah right!
Lungu is well known for paying lip service in general and on corruption in particular. How can we expect the ACC to fight corruption when top government officials and ministers under Lungu’s leadership are all involved in it? It is these officials at different levels of government that should set the standard for others to follow. Instead it is the exact opposite. They are the most corrupt. As long as those in top government offices, (and we mean starting from the very top) remain corrupt, the rot will continue. Government resources will continue being channeled into selfish and greedy individual’s pockets instead of being used for national development.
Corruption is a cancer in our country and until a leader with the political will takes the reigns and tackles it head on, the fight will be in vain. Zambia has the unenviable shame of having a corruption perception index of 38 in the world which is not too much higher than Somalia, Angola, South Sudan, Libya and DRC. (The lower the index the more corrupt). This is compared to our neighbors Botswana who are at 68 and are considered to be the least corrupt country in Africa.
The ACC therefore, should take a very long hard look at themselves before they start patting each other on the back. There are a lot of high profile cases at the moment that need to be investigated and if they are claiming to be effective as a commission, they need to look into them as a matter of urgency. They know which cases we are referring to. Instead they prefer to band around figures that are a drop in the ocean compared to the large sums of money being looted on a daily basis.
Looking at the cases they have enumerated, they seem to be after the ‘small fish’. The bulk of the looting is being orchestrated at the highest levels. It is with interest that we note of the investigations into the so called Maizegate scandal and we look forward to their report, not in 10 years, but in a few months’ time. Corruption needs to be tackled and uprooted from the top down and vice versa and a lot more needs to done, not this window dressing they ACC keeps fronting.
It is also of note that the mandate of the ACC seems to preclude the Zambia police service. Transparency international have cited the Zambia police service as the most corrupt government entity in this country followed by the education and health sectors. These are all areas that the ACC should be looking into. As far as we can see, there were no stats giving us insight on what they are doing to tackle these government corrupt entities. Whether they care to admit it or not, the ACC are toothless and corruption remains a serious issue in Zambia affecting the lives of ordinary citizens and their access to public services and they are doing precious little about it.