That the United States of America has finally broken its silence and spoken about the new dawn administration’s fight against corruption should make Government take stock.
The United States and other Western governments have been the most vocal in supporting the fight against corruption heralded by President Hakainde Hichilema.
What has changed now is that they appear to have realised that the crusade against corruption is flawed – it has been more about arresting those who served in the Patriotic Front regime and ignoring the rising cases in the new administration.
United States Ambassador to Zambia Michael Gonzeles says the crusade against corruption as well as the investigations and prosecutions on graft should not only be focused on former government officials while ignoring credible allegations of corruption against current government officials which has continued to rise.
In his opinion captioned; “Corruption is a cancer, you are the cure,” Mr Gonzales said meaningful and impartial accountability were crucial to curbing corruption by making the risks and costs of corruption unbearable.
Yes, corruption has been a heated topic in the country since the United Party for National Development swept the August 12, 2021 tripartite elections.
President Hichilema was ushered into office promising to fight corruption and ensure that those who abused public trust by engaging in corrupt activities are taken account for their actions.
Thus the country witnessed a flurry of arrests of former government officials who served in the Patriotic Front administration being visited by the investigative wings on suspicion of having engaged in corrupt activities.
The new dawn administration defended the investigations and arrests saying those targeted were in charge of the country’s resources and should therefore be made to answer for their activities.
To date, there is yet to be any substantive conviction with most of those arrested and facing corruption charges still appearing in courts of law in what could take years of litigation.
This time round, the narrative has changed with the new dawn administration being criticised for not fighting the alleged corruption amongst its officials.
The new administration has been cited for among other things promoting single sourcing – a most suspect way of awarding contracts to cronies – particularly in the procurement of fertilizer and medicines and other medical supplies.
The confusion that this has brought in the agricultural sector has seen the delayed delivery of farming inputs to farmers throughout the country, threatening the country’s food security.
The health sector is in shambles because Government wants “regime-friendly suppliers” for medicines and other medical supplies as opposed to open tenders.
We all detest corruption in whatever form or shape it comes. It is immoral for it enables some people to reap where they did not sow.
And in most cases, it is the poor who suffer the most as resources that are meant to improve their lives are stolen by a privileged few.
While Government can be commended for its robust fight against corruption, it is important that the cleansing process should not ignore those in the system.
The new dawn administration cannot claim it has taken a zero tolerance stance against corruption when people can see the open abuse of the system by the very people supposed to defend law and order.