Tag: Corruption

Corruption: Even their friends have realized they’re stealing big

Corruption: Even their friends have realized they’re stealing big Featured

The Swedish Ambassador to Zambia has joined the many voices that have raised alarm over the rampant cases of corruption in the country.

We are not surprised that even their friends are also coming to the same conclusions that we have drawn, that corruption is high under Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s puppet and tribal UPND regime.

We have said it before, and we are saying it now that these people are stealing big, and they do not have what it takes to wage a genuine fight against corruption.

This UPND government is corrupt to the core; it is reeking with corruption in every pore. It’s rotten from the bottom to the top, or rather from top to bottom. It’s a very corrupt puppet tribal regime, and they are not even as clever and sophisticated as they seem to think. These are shameless gluttons who don’t even care about the people who voted for them.

Mr Hichilema is fully aware that he is leading a rotten government, and the rot starts with him. No wonder people like Mr Stanley Kakubo can have the luxury of resigning from government instead of being fired. Mr Hichilema shielded the disgraced Mr Kakubo from taking a walk of shame because he knows that he is not the only corrupt person in this administration.

To this day, Mr Kakubo has not been arrested and prosecuted for his suspected involvement in corruption, and nothing has been seized from him as proceeds of crime.

When it comes to fighting corruption, Mr Hichilema is paralyzed by the fact that he has no moral right to condemn or even take decisive action against his lieutenants in government because everyone is literally involved in some illegal activity in one way or another.

The endless corruption scandals that have rocked this government are a reminder that the country is in corrupt hands and needs a breather. It is clear that this is a government of the thieves, for the thieves, and by the thieves.

So, how can Mr Hichilema be expected to genuinely fight corruption when there is so much grand corruption and looting surrounding him, and involving him?

We have said before that any meaningful fight against corruption in this country has to start with an investigation of Mr Hichilema’s own dealings in almost every sector of our economy like mining, fuel, fertilizer, insurance, grain imports and exports, property and real estate, construction and manufacturing, among many others.

There is a need to investigate Mr Hichilema. He should be able to answer questions about his dealings. Without doing so, the fight against corruption becomes hypocritical, a facade and meaningless.

Any meaningful fight against corruption must start with an investigation of Mr Hichilema’s business interests.

Mr Musa Mwenye, the chairman of the Anti Corruption Commission and the US ambassador to Zambia, Mr Michael Gonzales, have emphatically demanded that Mr Hichilema declares all his assets. Why?

The day Mr Hichilema is made to fully disclose all his business interests, without being able to conceal anything, will mark the beginning of the end of his presidency and the beginning of his journey to prison. Even Mr Hichilema knows this too well no wonder the resistance.

The amount of systemic corruption and plunder that is being facilitated by State House is terrifying and confirms the sad reality that this presidency is a disaster and a failure!

The truth and the reality currently, is that most of the bribery, embezzlement, illicit enrichment, trading influence and all manner of abuses and white- collar financial and economic crimes that we are witnessing are engineered by State House.

The presidency is the command post of grand corruption and looting of public resources. Under this presidency, procurement procedures and regulations have been totally paralyzed and they are going about their daily business with impunity, and without any oversight or regard for the moral, political and economic effects of their actions. This presidency is the most corrupt in the history of this country, and the presidential aides are the most incompetent, shady, and pathetically dishonest and corrupt.

With the presidency organizing and perpetuating this cancerous culture of corruption, it is wishful thinking to expect this regime to wage a relentless campaign against corruption and succeed.

Crooks of all shapes and sizes have been assembled and unleashed on the people and the state coffers by Mr Hichilema.

This is not a way to govern a country.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

A response to Hichilema’s corrupt corruption fight response

A response to Hichilema’s corrupt corruption fight response Featured

Mr Hakainde Hichilema appears agitated by our insistence that his UPND government is a looting machine and is rotten with corruption to the core.

Yesterday, Minister of Information and Media and Chief Government Spokesperson, Ms Chushi Kasanda accused us of making false narratives and unsubstantiated claims about Mr Hichilema’s fight against corruption, which we still insist is driven by hypocrisy and vengeance.

Ms Kasanda further said our observations were without merit and lacked any substantive evidence claiming that this government’s commitment to fighting corruption was not mere rhetoric.

We have taken note of Mr Hichilema’s response through Ms Kasanda and we would want to make it clear to him that we are neither concocting any intrigues nor maliciously attacking anyone but merely stating facts as they are. It requires little intelligence – if a little is all one has – to figure out what is going on. That is why we are fully aware of what is happening in this government and can confidently state that under Mr.Hichilema’s leadership, corruption in Zambia has not gone away, it has simply migrated to new players.

In fact, we can categorically state that this is a government full of shifty and money- grabbing individuals whose primary aim is plundering or immoral accumulation of wealth. These are shameless liars who are busy misleading our people that they are restructuring the economy yet all they are doing is to reconfigure business and our politics to suit their crude thieving methods.

The truth is there is no genuine fight against corruption under Mr Hichilema and all that is happening is just deception. But what they don’t know is that to fight corruption or indeed any other vices in government, it requires a great sense of values, integrity and a genuine desire and patriotism for a more humane, fair, just and stable nation. And Mr Hichilema’s government does not represent any of this.

For Mr Hichilema, the purported fight against corruption is but another drop of incense on the altar of political expedience. It seems to be a fight that is more structured to puncture holes in the political fortunes of those he doesn’t like. It is an idea driven by blatant hypocrisy and excessive vengeance. Zambians must know that if this crusade was genuine, it would have been pursued with a strict adherence to the rule of law and the fundamental rights of those accused and not this poorly choreographed performance we are witnessing.

Further, a genuine crusade against corruption has nothing to do with fixing those you want to politically obliterate. It ought to be anchored on a solid abhorrence for the vice and its attendant consequences. What we see is a smoke screen! And since we have been challenged to base our criticism on facts we shall argue our case with specifics.

  1. On corruption in Zambia, the recent US Report stated as follows:
  • There were numerous reports of government corruption.
  • The law also provides for declaration of assets by members of parliament and ministers when entering and leaving public office, but there is no subsidiary legislation providing for sanctions for breach or for failure to declare assets. There is no verification system, and asset data were not available to the public.
  • Other senior public officials, including permanent secretaries, heads of state-owned enterprises, and officials involved in public procurement are not required to declare. Although some institutions have institutionalised mechanisms for asset declaration, no one has ever been sanctioned for failure to declare, TIZ reported.
  • Although the government collaborated with the international community and civil society organisations to improve capacity to investigate and prevent corruption, anticorruption NGOs observed the enforcement rate was low among senior government officials and civil service, and there was concern that the corruption fight was focused primarily on corrupt practices of the previous administration.
  • There were also reports of corruption in the sitting administration. For example, there were allegations of corruption in fertilizer procurement by the Ministry of Agriculture, the procurement of 75 motor bikes by the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services at a total cost of 9,885,010 New Kwacha ($588,000), and the issuance of mining licenses by the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development involving the sitting administration, TIZ reported.
  • In July President Hichilema fired the Ministry of Health’s Permanent Secretary George Magwende, ostensibly over a corrupt tender involving the construction of seven prefabricated COVID-19 isolation hospitals in Lusaka worth nearly $100 million, which was signed by the previous administration in 2020 but never executed. According to media, officials of the Attorney General’s Office and the Treasury had signed off on the legality and financial feasibility of the tender.
  1. The dismissal of Luapula Province minister Derricky Chilundika and his subsequent arrest is but an insignificant scapegoat because there are other key leaders of this government – big dealers- involved in the illicit mineral dealings, especially gold. They are doing it with impunity. Why is Mr Hichilema silent on illegal gold dealings in the country?
  2. We have real corruption in fertilizer procurement. A company styled as Alpha Commodities is increasingly stamping its authority as the ‘alpha and omega’ of fertilizer procurement in this country. Not so long ago, questions were raised about how this company bullied its way to a contract to supply fertilizer at highly inflated prices – single sourced and authorised by Mr Hichilema himself. This is the company under the control and ownership of the husband to Ms Kasanda, the Minister of Information and Media, who is also the Mr Hichilema’s close associate. Again nothing will happen.
  3. An audit report that discloses the grand corruption that attended the fertilizer procurement in the recent past has been frustrated and swept under the carpet. Is this how you fight corruption?
  4. Despite public demands from the chairman of the Anti Corruption Commission, Mr Hichilema has refused to publicly make declaration of his assets and liabilities. Why? What is he hiding? Is this the attitude of people who are determined to uphold the highest ethical standards as Ms Kasanda claims? Mr Hichilema’s snub to declare his assets as provided by the law and demanded by decency and transparency, justifies the concerns raised in the report by their friends in the US Department of State – on the mischief surrounding asset declaration and how some leaders in this government, including Mr Hichilema, who is the principal culprit are getting away with trying to evade the corruption radar.
  5. There is serious uncertainty and turbulence in the petroleum sector owing to what is currently obtaining at the Tazama – Ndola Fuel Terminal. Can this government tell the nation how the deal to clean the TAZAMA Pipeline was awarded to Agro Fuel Limited? Also, can this government tell the nation how Agro Fuel Limited was extended another deal to manage the TAZAMA – Ndola Fuel Terminal? Can this government tell the nation who owns Agro Fuel Limited and whom they are closely associated with in this government, if any?

There are loads and loads of suspicious and dirty deals currently taking place in Mr Hichilema’s government but for now, we shall stick to the issues raised above and wait for the government’s response before taking the corruption discourse to the next level. Like we said, we are not afraid to call out this government’s dirty and corrupt schemes because we speak from our vast experience in investigating, detecting and exposing corruption. And it’s this same experience that has sharpened our ability to articulate these issues and to collect and collate as well as corroborate evidence of complex plunder matrixes.

Again, we repeat our message to the Zambian people that they should not be under any illusion that they have a decent leadership in place. The people they elected as leaders are nothing but vengeful hypocrites who operate under a system of rule that is anchored in the ‘It’s Our Turn to Eat’ principle. Accountability, transparency and human rights does not matter to Mr Hichilema and his government. But as the Yoruba proverb goes “everyday is for the thief, one day is for the owner”. Zambians are not fools, they can see through it all and they are waiting to see where this corrupt corruption fight of Mr Hichilema is heading.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

The real fight against corruption should start with Hichilema and his league

The real fight against corruption should start with Hichilema and his league Featured

As the US Department of State 2022 Country Report on Human Rights Practices: Zambia correctly observes, there are very, very serious issues of corruption and lack of transparency in this UPND government of Mr Hakainde Hichilema.

And it will not be possible for Mr Hichilema to achieve, or aspire for, high levels of transparency in his government’s dealings because of his many undisclosed or undeclared business interests. This is a recipe for grand corruption.

We saw how Mr Hichilema failed to come out clear and clean on the obviously questionable Alpha Commodities fertiliser deal in which Zambians lost almost US$16 million in super profits due to over pricing in a single-sourced contract authorised by Mr Hichilema.

Today, there are legitimate questions being asked about who the supplier of materials is for making fertilisers to Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia, a state-owned enterprise. Again, due to a lack of transparency and disclosure or declaration of his business interests and those of his associates, fingers are pointing in his direction.

A very high degree of disclosure of business interests and transparency is required from Mr Hichilema and his associates. Combining such very high levels political power with a huge appetite to become the richest Zambian will lead to a series of very serious corruption problems for Mr Hichilema.

While Mr Hichilema’s control of Zambia’s fiscal policy is without limit, his business interests also seem to be without limit. And herein lies the conflict of interest. This conflict is a recipe for corruption.

And with Mr Hichilema so conflicted there cannot be a meaningful fight against corruption in this country under his leadership. What we are seeing is not a genuine fight against corruption but vengeance and an attempt to financially cripple his political opponents and those who in the past have tormented him.

A serious fight against corruption should start with Mr Hichilema himself and his league. What we are witnessing is nothing but a mock engagement, a deception.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

Zambia needs a new type of politics

Zambia needs a new type of politics Featured

Over the next eleven weeks, you will hear, from my opponents or competitors, how our country is flourishing, how happy we all are, how we trusted our government, and what bright perspective are unfolding before us.

I didn’t accept to be the presidential candidate of the Socialist Party so that I, too, would lie to you. Our country is not flourishing. Zambia is 123rd in the overall Prosperity Index rankings. Since 2010, Zambia has moved down the rankings table by 12 places.

A country once proud of its educational standards now spends so little on education that it ranks so low in the world. Our country which used to rank so low on the corruption index today is among the world’s most corrupt nations.

Today we live in a highly contaminated moral environment. We have lost our values, principles, standards and common aims. We learned to ignore each other, to care only for ourselves. In Zambia today love, friendship, compassion, equity, justice, solidarity, fairness and humility have lost their depth and dimensions.

When I talk about the contaminated moral atmosphere, I am speaking about all of us. We have all become used to a corrupt and intolerant system and accepted it as an unalterable fact of life, and thus we help to perpetuate it. None of us is just its victim; we are all its co-creators.

We urgently need a new type of politics based on morality, principles, values, standards and common aims. We need to teach ourselves and others that politics should be an expression of the desire to contribute to the happiness of the community rather than of a need to cheat or rape the community. Let us teach ourselves and others that politics can be not only the art of the possible, especially if “the possible” includes the art of speculation, calculation, intrigue, secret deals, and pragmatic maneuvering, but that it can also be the art of the possible, that is, the art of improving ourselves and the country.

We have a duty to struggle for a more just, fair and humane society. We should dream of such a Republic.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

Zambian women, stand up for genuine change!

Zambian women, stand up for genuine change! Featured

Today, as Zambia joins the world in marking International Women’s Day, the Socialist Party issues this call to the women of Zambia: stand up for a genuine change!

For so long, the overwhelming majority of Zambians have suffered from poverty, hunger, unemployment, lack of government support for farming, expensive social services, and repression of the most basic civil and political rights.

Today, our situation has further worsened: highest prices on foodstuffs, longest load shedding hours, lack of water services and proper sanitation, expensive health services amidst a pandemic, and the steepest decline of the Kwacha against major currencies.

There has also been corruption scandal after corruption scandal, involving top officials of the land.

This year, we mark Women’s Day amidst news of the country’s richest becoming even richer fast, while the majority who are poor are becoming even poorer. The majority of Zambians – workers, farmers, unemployed, urban and rural poor – are suffering. But the women who belong to these sectors – the overwhelming majority of Zambian women – are suffering the most.

Who is burdened with budgeting the little income for the day’s meals, if not with finding that income in the first place? Who ensures that there’s water in the house? Who ensures that kids go to school, that the sick in the family is taken care of?

This Women’s Day, let us recognize the labor of Zambian women. While the Zambian poor and people are burdened with the country’s problems, Zambian women bear an additional burden. They work so hard and give so much of themselves – often without recognition, rest, or remuneration.

This Women’s Day, let us recognize this added burden of women and commit to reducing it.

Happy Women’s Day!

Nancy Busiku Mpongo

Socialist Party

Mandevu Constituency Secretary.