The fight against corruption has for many years failed to yield results in Zambia, with the most gains recorded under President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa’s New Deal government when he centred his administration on zero tolerance to corruption”.
The fight against corruption in Zambia found another hurdle after President Mwanawasa passed on.
Sadly, all the gains in the fight against corruption were eroded under the Patriotic Front (PF) regime when grand corruption reached alarming levels and the perpetrators received heroic recognition.
The corruption cancer spread to all government institutions under the PF regime including the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) which even today is still in the cleansing process.
It is refreshing today to see the ruthlessness with which the New Dawn Administration is fighting corruption.
The Government has been categorical that it will not protect United Party for National Development (UPND) officials who are allegedly abetting corruption and other illegalities such as illegal land acquisition and allocation, illegal harvesting and transportation of the mukula tree and illegal mining and selling of minerals such as gold, lithium and sugilite.
It appears corruption or theft of public resources of any form is not condoned under President Hakainde Hichilema’s administration.
Mr Hichilema has said his governance style shall be anchored on order, respect for the rule of law, and a fearless and fair corruption crusade.
He has also consistently warned his UPND members that perpetrators of illegalities would be on their own.
He has always warned that his administration will never condone corruption or any other illegality, no matter who the perpetuators are.
To this effect, many senior government officials have suffered the wrath of the law.
What is so inspiring in the fight against corruption is the government’s determination to fight past, present and future corruption.
The lawlessness that characterised the previous regime where the then-president Edgar Lungu seemed to protect criminality among his PF party officials is no longer there and this luxury has been completely eliminated .While Mr Lungu was on record pleading with his party and government officials to be mindful not to over-steal, Mr Hichilema finds himself on the extreme end despising all forms of corruption and seeking equality before the law for all those found wanting.
The arrest and subsequent dismissal of a Luapula Province deputy permanent secretary, along with Nchelenge and Mwansabombwe district commissioners for allegedly involvement in the transporting of suspected stolen sugilite is a clear message that the UPND administration is blind to political affiliation in fighting crime.
The arrest gives a message that not even ruling party officials will be shielded from the law when found wanting.
Had it been under the PF regime, the public would not have even heard about the sugilite scandal and no one could have been arrested.
In fact, those reporting the crime would have all been arrested by now as the case was in the infamous mukula and Kasenseli gold scandals.
Mr Hichilema ought to be commended for the path he has taken against corruption.
It is also imperative for law enforcement agencies to up their game in order to actualise the aspirations of the head of state who clearly wants to see transparency, accountability and prudence in the utilisation of public resources.
It is up to the security wings to professionalise the fight against crime in the country and restore public trust.
The author is a public and economic policy analyst