EditorialOpinionOPINIONS

Botched corruption fight

IT should not come as a surprise that more people are now speaking out over the new dawn administration’s perceived fight against corruption.

That the fight has been discriminatory as it has only targeted Zambians associated to the former ruling Patriotic Front.

In addition, the Judiciary has also been indicted in that those facing prosecution are not getting fair judgements from the judicial system.

No one wants corruption to be a way of life in the nation and it is only fair that those suspected of engaging in corruption are prosecuted.

President Hakainde Hichilema won the presidency based on his promise that his administration would not condone corruption – and Zambians agreed and gave him an overwhelming vote.

But it is common knowledge that the fight against corruption has been one-sided, targeting only those who served in the PF administration.

The impression given is that corruption was only rife during the PF tenure and does not exist in the government of the United Party for National Development (UPND).

In this one-sided fight, the Judiciary has come under the spotlight, that it is not helping to fight corruption.

Gregory Cifire, the Southern Africa Network Against Corruption (SANAC) executive director has at least come out openly and spoken about the manner that the judicial system is being abused.

Mr Cifire has accused the Judiciary of being corrupt, claiming that citizens who are affiliated and connected to the previous government were not getting fair treatment from the justice system.

He has also observed that corruption cases are taking long to prosecute in the courts of law and often without securing convictions of the accused because of the corrupt system in the judicial system.

The cry among Zambians has been that the fight against corruption should not be discriminatory, based on political loyalty.

It is in the public domain that there have been a lot of concerns raised in the manner in which for example tender procedures have been compromised involving the procurement of fertiliser, drugs as well as oil.

Single-sourcing, which has been identified as one of the most susceptible to corruption in the procurement chain appears to be the most favoured in the UPND government.

How else could one explain the fiasco that marked the tenders for the procurement of fertiliser when tenders were cancelled countless terms so as to accommodate the preferred bidders?

Calls to the powers-that-be to promote transparency were ignored. In the end, farmers could not access the fertiliser on time while in the health sector, drug shortages were the order of the day.

But as Mr Cifire has noted, the UPND was not made up of angels and that State investigative wings should be allowed to pursue current corruption cases being perpetrated by the new dawn administration.

We agree with Mr Cifire that the best way to fight corruption is to be transparent throughout, from investigations to prosecution.

He has observed that corruption cases are taking long to prosecute in the courts of law and often without securing convictions of the accused because of the corrupt system in the judicial system.

This, we believe, should be food for thought particularly for the Chief Justice, Dr Mumba Malila when Mr Cifire says there must be fair application of the law by the judicial system.

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