Opinion

LUNGU AND ACC

PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu is right to lay open his concern at the manner in which the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) operates, that contrary to his detractors, he is not against the institution.

It is a fact that the ACC has not endeared itself to the public in recent years because of the manner in which it has been operating. 

For as far as the public is concerned, the ACC has only been investigating and prosecuting cases that in- volve those in the government leadership. 

That is the biasness that the public demand must end. It must operate in a transparent manner in which no one will feel they are being victimised. 

The ACC is an important institution in the governance of the country and President Lungushould not be criti- cised when he complains about its operations. 

Like the President said in Chipili recently, he was not fighting the ACC but was against its selective way of fighting corruption. Mr Lungu was in the district during which he toured the incomplete Mwenda Boarding Sec- ondary School which had stalled at over 60 percent completion. 

He said ACC was his ally in the fight against corrup- tion but as a custodian of the constitution, he would not hesitate to point out ills in the manner investigations were being handled. 

“I am not fighting ACC. I support ACC but if you do wrong things and ACC is looking elsewhere, I should be able to tell them off. If anything, they are my allies but if they fail to perform to people’s expectations, it’s not my fault,” the President said. 

According to the President, the project stalled be- cause it was awarded to a contractor who did not de- serve to get the tender. 

Mr Lungu said he was saddened by corruption and lack of transparency in the awarding of contracts, while ACC was paying a blind eye to the scourge. 

He noted that some undeserving contractors were awarded contracts at exorbitant prices just because they were related to some people involved in the tender process. 

This is not the first time that President Lungu and other people have spoken out against corruption in the awarding of contracts involving public works. 

Complaints have been raised in the road construction sector but we are yet to see any action of investigation by the ACC. Yet examples abound of shoddy works. 

This is the bone of contention. Fighting corruption is not just going after political leaders in the government but in other sectors of the nation’s life. 

No one is happy, for example, with the manner in which the ACC has bungled cases involving so-called “big fish” by rushing to prosecute in court before carry- ing out thorough investigations. 

We have in mind cases involving Tourism and Arts Minister Ronald Chitotela and the most recent, against Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya, who should never have been hauled before the courts in the first place. 

Although there have been calls that the ACC should be disbanded because it has been infiltrated by oppo- sition moles, we feel it is not too late to salvage what is left of the institution. 

It needs to get back to its core role of being the num- ber one agency to fight corruption without looking at one’s political credentials. 

Crime is nonpartisan.

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