Rupiah’s stance on corruption unfortunate, says Kabimba

RUPIAH Banda is saying there is no corruption in Zambia in order to justify the graft practices his government is engaged in, says Lusaka lawyer Wynter Kabimba.

Reacting to President Banda’s recent remarks in Ndola that there is no corruption in the country, Kabimba, who is also PF secretary general, said it was shocking that a President could issue such an unfortunate statement.

Kabimba said the question of corruption in this country was not debatable, not only to the Zambians but also the international community.

He said therefore the statement from President Banda was unfortunate and inappropriate.

“What it means in effect is that the man is not serious with the fight against corruption. Mr Rupiah Banda served in late president Mwanawasa’s cabinet under a president who was very, very serious with the fight against corruption,” Kabimba said.

“For him to trivialise the levels of corruption in our country now that he has become President is not only an insult to the Zambian people.”

Kabimba said there were various reports from international organisations which had ranked Zambia as one of the most corrupt countries in Southern Africa, saying President Banda could not dispute these reports.

“There is a report now that came from the US State Department to the effect that the Zambian government is interfering with the independence of our judiciary. We didn’t hear the Zambian government dispute that statement.

That is part of corruption,” Kabimba said. “So our appeal as PF to the President is that he must get serious if indeed he’s committed to working for the Zambian people and arrest the cancer of corruption that has afflicted our country, especially under his government.”

Kabimba said the nation had seen corruption levels rising under President Banda’s government than under late president Mwanawasa because the two stood for different ideals.

“The only reason why President Banda would make that statement is that he wants to justify corruption and he knows that his government is engaged in corrupt practices. That is the reason why (a) they repealed or amended section 35 in the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Act,” Kabimba said.

“That is the reason why they removed the provisions in the Act dealing with money laundering to prevent financial and banking institutions from asking the source of the money that lands in people’s accounts.”

Kabimba said all this was being done to encourage corruption because those provisions were put in place to arrest corrupt activities.

He said the nation had witnessed obnoxious amendments under President Banda which actually encouraged corruption rather than arresting it.

“If indeed that is the policy position of government (that there is no corruption in Zambia), let him go ahead and disband the Anti-Corruption Commission.

What is the Anti-Corruption Commission doing, being paid money appropriated from government if there is no corruption in the country,” said Kabimba. “Let him disband DEC, ACC then we will take him seriously that indeed he has achieved zero-tolerance for corruption.”

During a presidential luncheon at Mukuba Hotel last Saturday, President Banda said Zambians should not listen to people who say there was corruption in the country.

“Let’s not listen to doom speakers who say that there is corruption in the country. I feel the enthusiasm of the people when it comes to the movement of the country forward,” he said.

President Banda urged the people to prove those that were saying there would be problems in Zambia after the elections wrong.