By DR. DANIEL MVULA
THE “New Dawn” administration, has started with a blazing zeal, in the renewed fight against corruption, for those alleged to have stolen State resources.
During the Patriotic Front regime, the; Auditor General’s Reports, Parliamentary Accounting Committee Sittings, Financial Intelligence Centre, and other State Security Agencies like the; Drug Enforcement Commission, Anti-Corruption Commission, all bear testimony that graft, was rampant in the procurement of government goods and services, by various controlling officers of government.
Whereas, fighting corruption is important, to satisfy the demands of the citizenry, who want their resources back from those who perpetrated corruption, it is vital to establish the correct framework of the said fight.
Zeal without accurate knowledge, is dangerous. One of the marks of authentic transformative leadership, is the capacity to solve complex problems, such as corruption. A vindictive approach, and revenge-driven impunity, are not the criteria for fighting corruption. An urgent amnesty, is the answer.
By common definition, an amnesty, is a general pardon, especially for people convicted or accused of political crimes, or corruption. I t is also a period of time when people can admit to crimes, hand in weapons or money, in knowledge that they will not be prosecuted.
Therefore, this in no way means to excuse wrongs done, in this case corruption, but to wisely save the perpetrators and victims of graft. Admission, is the starting point, and law enforcement agencies must thoroughly investigate cases of graft, and provide accurate computation of what each accused is worth.
This definition, speaks to two sides of the same coin. A commitment to pardon, and forego prosecution by the State, and a commitment to hand back money and property of graft, by the perpetrators, sincerely. This is a constructive compromise. This is a win-win objective proposition, for all.
Time, say three months or more, can be allocated by the State, in which time handing back “stolen” money, property, and assets to the State by those accused or convicted of graft. The following factors, can help in this amnesty approach:
Firstly, to resolve this difficult problem, is to understand the historical context. During the Kebetg Kaunda administration, corruption was hidden under the autocracy of the One Party State undue controls.
During the Second Republic, of the late President Frederick Chiluba, he came on the premise of fighting corruption of the One Party State.
The Third Republican President late Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, with the “new deal” government, targeted his predecessor in the graft fight, which failed, because the Task Force on Corruption was vindictive, vengeful as well as manipulative, and recovered no money in the process.
No case was won in any competent court in our legal jurisdiction. This is not the path to take today. Late President Michael Sata came to power ousting out the MMD government, on the premise of being grossly corrupt in 2011. After almost 10 years, the
very Patriotic Front came tumbling down, because of graft, and now stands the risk of prosecution, including the removal of immunity of the sixth President, Mr Edgar Lungu.
This is not necessary now after a smooth transition of power. An amnesty after computing each case of graft, is the only answer. Therefore, the new President, Mr Hakainde Hichilema, must act decisively, but with caution, and wisdom.
Secondly, the Spiritual Biblical Context. The Bible is the only book that deals with corruption, as a spiritual problem. In (Genesis 6:1-13), God clearly states to Noah that; Corruption, violence, and homosexuality, are corruption in the flesh before God.
These are against God’s principles and values in a Christian nation. Article (8) of our Republican Constitution, sets out the transformative Christian values, upon which our society is anchored and developed.
That is why, the western Countries, must not seek to secularise Zambia. Social-imperialism, will not work in Africa. Any government pushing this, will be rejected by the Zambian people.
The Church in Zambia, has a bigger role to play in the fight against corruption. All the alleged corrupt former government ministers, come from existing churches.
Church leaders must teach the Word of God, to curb the vice of graft. When Church Leaders compromise, by being beneficiaries of graft; morals, the prophetic, and apostolic voice, is silenced in a nation.
Thirdly, the legal framework context. Zambia has enough laws, to deal with graft. Fast –track courts to expedite corruption cases and recovery of stolen national assets and resources, by those in the previous government, is a very welcome move.
However, laws alone, cannot deal with the fight against graft. It is more important to understand the spirit of the law, to foster real justice, and social- order in our society.
Law fare, is an abuse of the law, to fix political opponents. Both the perpetrators of corruption, and victims of graft, the people of Zambia, must have justice. Freedom, is a rare commodity.
That is why an amnesty, is the only possible way of solving this issue of corruption. A vindictive approach of prosecutions, and jailing people, will not work.
It will take transformative leaders, to think outside the box, beyond conventional outdated systems of thought. The voice of reason, must be heard, with sobriety in national matters, such as dealing with graft.
The late former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, shocked the world, when he pardoned the brutal apartheid regime of crimes against humanity, by establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, headed by Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu.
That is transformative leadership. Mandela, stands taller over his peers, because of his spirit of extraordinary leadership. The new dawn President must not do the ordinary thing of pursuing his political opponents, directly or indirectly. He must stand tall, on a higher moral ground of leadership. Only the amnesty, makes him that kind of leader.
Fourthly, the law enforcement context. Law enforcement, must do thorough investigations, before arresting citizens wantonly, and vindictively. The Drug Enforcement Commission, Zambia Police, Financial Intelligence Centre, and the Anti-Corruption Commission
(ACC), must all refrain and restrain themselves from being partial, and selective in the application of the law.
The law must be enforced equitably for the benefit of building a healthy society free of graft, in both the public and rrivate sectors, respectively.
Fifthly, the working ethics committees’ context. state – actors, and controlling officers, must be disciplined, and ethical. Government, must create working ethics committees in the civil service, as well as private sector, respectively.
These could be existent, but not effective, and may need just a face lift, to operationise them in the public and private sectors. This can help in the fight against graft going forward.
These five propositions will help to create an effective amnesty, and save the country from the graft-vice, panic, adversarial politics, and abuse of process in courts to create a new dawn momentum, for a unified and prosperous better Zambia.
We must make Zambia a beacon of peace, stability, national security, and democratic institutions that work, for the good of all. The new dawn administration has this opportunity, to rise above the average. Will they surmount, the ordinary and obvious, to build a better unified Zambia in the fight against corruption?
SHIMUNZA MNT FOUNDER PRESIDENT