Sending people to early graves is totality evil, and corruption is not new, and since it is a global phenomenon, it is not peculiar to Zambia. However, corruption is pandemic in Zambia (and in many other African and Asian nations); all political leaders including the president and ministers as well as the followers are corrupt. Consequently, it has defied all the necessary medicines. If there is a lack of control of corruption in every sphere in Zambia, it is then like the old saying: When water chokes you, what do you take to wash it down?
Every Zambian, home and abroad are all in universal agreement that our country is corrupt because of Zambian thugators we have been always voted and elected to ruled Us. This people are evil and dirty and the whole world knows this too, and this is no longer news.
The stigma of corruption by this Zambian thugators follows even the ordinary Zambian, home or abroad everywhere like a shell to a snail. To say this stigma has greatly impeded our progress as a people and nation is putting it lightly. It could even dismantle the country if not appropriately tackled and brought to a level that one can live with. After all, political corruption is not particularly unique to Zambia or Third World countries, we know it happens in every country in the world, yet Western countries have found a way to deal with it or to limit it and it has not stopped their progress. It is no exaggeration to say that political corruption jeopardises the very future of the country and our children and great grand-children. It does not give hope to Zambians because everyday we wake up with corruption; it grows and eats deeper and deeper into our psyche, morality and fabric and becomes even more and more difficult to exorcise. It is not a pretty thought. And getting rid of it will not be pretty either or instantaneous. Twenty five years of unchecked corruption will probably take thrice as long to get rid of, but then only if we have people and leaders with strong political will and commitment to, and unafraid, to do this task.
Whilst there is no single definition for corruption, common definitions include:
Corruption involves behaviour on the part of persons in which they improperly enrich themselves or those close to them by misusing power with which they have been entrusted. In short, corruption is the misuse of public power for personal gain.
In broad terms, corruption is the abuse of public office for private gain. It encompasses unilateral abuses by government officials such as embezzlement and nepotism, as well as abuses linking public and private actors such as bribery, extortion, influence peddling, and fraud. Corruption arises in both political and bureaucratic offices and can be petty or grand, organized or unorganized. Though corruption often facilitates criminal activities such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and prostitution, it is not restricted to these activities. For purposes of understanding the problem and devising remedies, it is important to keep crime and corruption analytically distinct.
I do not intend to write a thesis on corruption. A lot of learned people and organisations have done that . What I am trying to do here is highlight, and probably impress on our Zambian leaders and people, what that monster called corruption is doing to Zambia. The fact remains that our so-called political leaders or Zambian thugators , past and present have put us into this mess and they should and must be held accountable and punished for wasting a whole lifetime of chances, just because they are greedy. As of today, I have little or no respect for any of our so-called political leaders or Zambian thugators, save a few. I do not hold these “execu-thieves” in any esteem. How do these people sleep at night, knowing that they are abusing their offices and voiceless innocent people are dying across the country ?
Some studies have taken a holistic (broader) approach in the discussion of corruption by dividing it into many forms and sub-divisions. As mentioned earlier, I do not intend to do a thesis on corruption, but please permit me to briefly quote the following:
Political Corruption (‘grand’) takes place at the highest levels of political authority. It occurs ‘when the politicians and political decision-makers, who are entitled to formulate, establish and implement the laws in the name of the people of Zambia, are themselves corrupt.’ It also takes place when policy formulation and legislation is tailored to benefit politicians and legislators. Political corruption is sometimes seen as similar to ‘corruption of greed’ as it affects the manner in which decisions are made, as it manipulates political institutions, rules of procedure, and distorts the institutions of government.
Bureaucratic Corruption (‘petty’) occurs ‘in the public administration” or ‘the implementation end of politics.’ This kind of corruption has been branded ‘low level’ and ‘street level.’ It is the kind of corruption the citizens encounter daily at places like the hospitals, schools, local licensing offices, police, taxing offices, government secretariats, etc.
Electoral Corruption includes purchase of votes with money, promises of office or special favours, coercion, intimidation, and interference with freedom of election [Zambia is a good example where this practice is common. Votes are bought, people are maimed in the name of election, losers end up as the winners in elections, and votes turn up in areas where votes were not cast]. Other forms of corruption include:
Bribery: The payment (in money or kind) that is taken or given in a corrupt relationship. These include kickbacks, gratuities, pay-off, sweeteners, greasing palms, etc.
Fraud: It involves some kind of trickery, swindle and deceit, counterfeiting, racketing, smuggling and forgery
Embezzlement: This is theft of public resources by public officials. It is when a state official steals from the public institution in which he/she is employed. In Zambia the embezzlement of public funds is one of the most common ways of economic accumulation, perhaps, due to lack of strict regulatory systems.
Extortion: This is money and other resources extracted by the use of coercion, violence or threats to use force. It is often seen as extraction ‘from below’ [The police and custom officers are the main culprits in Zambia].
Favouritism: This is a mechanism of power abuse implying a highly biased distribution of state resources. However, this is seen as a natural human proclivity to favour friends, family and any body close and trusted.
Nepotism: This is a special form of favouritism in which an office holder prefers his/her kinfolk and family members. Nepotism, [which is also common in Zambia], occurs when one is exempted from the application of certain laws or regulations or given undue preference in the allocation of scarce resources.
From the above, it is evident that ALL forms of corruption are manifested deeply in Zambia, and have seriously hampered our development and progress as a nation and as a people. As long as these are present and we are not doing enough to tackle it head on and taking the bull by the horn, we are doomed.
Corruption is a form of genocide. It has been the bane of Zambia for decades. It is what has brought us into this present mess and under the prevailing and very difficult, hostile circumstances that we are now. Zambia today is like an Aegean stable. It would take Herculean efforts to clean the stable of corruption that has been rooted in the polity, culture, psyche, socio-culture and economy of this once great richest copper producer country. And don’t let us delude ourselves, cleaning it wont be a an easy task. The result would also not be easily and quickly manifested. As our elders used to say, a bad disease requires a very bad medicine. This is a reality we will have to face, because the corrupt few holding everybody, a whole nation of 14 million people in perpetual slavery, underdevelopment, and lack of progress is akin to genocide because of Zambian thugators / corrupted political leaders greedness, heartlessness, selfishness, lack of concern, ego and arrogance. These people need to be finished off, because they will not let go easily. It is not in their interest to let go. They are feeding fat from the proceeds of their corrupt practices, while the people they are entrusted to take care of are dying by the thousands on a daily basis. In fact I am always surprised that our population is supposed to be increasing every time, considering the genocide that is being perpetrated on us for decades. We Zambian really are die-hards.
This fools they call themselves leaders, yet leaders are supposed to serve the people they lead. Not our Zambian leaders. They serve themselves and their families and friends, not their fellow Zambians – these so called “Execu-thieves”, Legis-looters”, ” Zambian thugators” and “Dis-Honorables” Even the Local Governments harbour the most corrupt of these politicians and officials. We should be happy now that i have entered into this issue for possible solutions and to see to it that this evil activities are completely dismentled and disapeared from our nation as a result to save life’s of people.
I have never seen a country where its government actually really hate the citizenship. That could only be the explanation, because the resources are there to develop the country and provide all necessary services to the people, but the people charged with this responsibility, that is, the various governments, politicians, civil servants, etc are bent on not doing what they should do to alleviate the plight of their people. Our political class are totally impervious and blind to the suffering of their people. They do not care about the suffering and deaths they directly or indirectly visit upon the people of Zambia.
I had not viewed this problem of corruption this way, but believe me, it does make sense.
Our Zambian leaders hate us. The past and present political leaders hate the governed. That’s the only explanation for their greed, indifference and corrupt practices. They want the governed to be in perpetual and eternal slavery and bondage to them and their children.
The unnecessary deaths in our neglected hospitals, deaths due to sickness and diseases that should never have occurred in the first place if our leaders had been concerned about our good health, deaths caused by fake drugs, bad roads, corrupt policemen and traffic officers, insecurity of both life and property, and death, trauma and misery at the hands of rapists and armed robbers, etc. All these, and more others, arose as a result of the selfishness, ineptness, mismanagement and gross negligence of corrupt officials, politicians, civil servants, high and low. And their corrupt practices are still going to kill more Zambians everyday until we turn it around.
Corruption is a consequent of greed, not poverty nor power. There are many indigent people in the world, yet they are not corrupt. When you are greedy, you become corrupt, because you always want more, no matter how much you have. You are never satisfied. So when a greedy man inadvertently finds himself in power, he uses that power to be greedier and acquire more than he needs, not considering the consequences to the people he is supposed to help with his power. It is a sin in the eyes of God and Man. It can never be forgiven or forgotten or excused. When God gives a human being power, He expects that human being to use it to protect, to make life better for his fellow man who does not have that power. Power, especially political power, is not meant to be used brutally or to oppress. Its purpose is for the good of other people who are not in the same strong position as you. Use the power given to you by God to help other people who are weaker than you, who are poorer than you, and who, without their consent and goodwill, would not have enabled you to wield that power in the first place. Whether you got the power by hook or crook or deservedly, you owe the people and God your power. They can take that power away from you, no matter how long you hang on.
The governments in Zambia must start investing in their people – through education, security of life and property, transportation, food, health, communication and other aspects of human development. This is crucial in the struggle to raise living standards and reduce poverty. Investing in people means helping people invest in themselves and their children. It means empowering households, especially poor households, to increase the quantity and quality of investments in children. For people to break the cycle of poverty, insecurity, desperation and improve their lives, they must have access to adequate social services delivered by honest and sincere politicians, civil servants and other public officials. After all, we are paying them to do this.
No public official in Zambia can ever admit to being corrupt. This is a normal phenomenon all over the world anyway. In recent times, especially in this season of political campaigns and politicians lining themselves up for political offices, all of them, in and out of the government are feigning innocence. Zambian people know what they have done and what they will do when they get there. We all know they live beyond their means. We all know they are stealing us blind. What we have here is the “Dariye Defence” or “Atiku Syndrome”, which is, “Well, other people are stealing money too” or “I am not the only one stealing, others are too”. A totally inexcusable and indefensible defence.
It is disheartening to now hear politicians all claiming to be above the law of Zambia. If they are all not corrupt, what then has happened to all the mismanaged billions of kwacha’s and dollars? Incredulous as this may sound, it is also an insult to the ordinary, suffering Zambians, because these people are playing on our collective intelligence. Let us call a spade a spade, 100 percent of serving presidents, ministers past and present in Zambia have profited illegally from their offices.
I was in Zambia years ago, in fact after the so-called by elections. The amount of money being spent by politicians either seeking to remain in office or to get into office is beyond belief. If this money is spent judiciously on the well-being of Zambians, we will not be here talking about corruption. The standard of living of Zambians might have been better than most European countries. But, no, our political leaders prefer to steal money and use it to fight elections. We all know the result, don’t we?. Lord have mercy on us. You want a free for all, my people? Anything goes? Who will suffer? Me and you, and our unborn generation.
It is no surprise to me that everybody on that Anti-Corruption Commision (ACC) list of corrupt candidates is feigning righteous indignation. Yes of course, ACC has to prove they are corrupt, but honestly, we know that this is near impossible. These people are very clever. Why can’t we provide evidence that Chiluba, Mwanawasa, Banda, and Sata stole billions from the Zambian treasury? It is simply because they where very clever not to leave loose evidence around.
The day we Zambians start being honest with ourselves and being realistic is the day the nation will be on the true path to greatness and progress. The fact, I have always maintained, is that in Zambia, the war against corruption cannot be fought in a conventional way, that is, going through the process of law and what have you. Corruption is a threat to our security and our very existence and development as a nation. It is a national security threat and it must be treated as such.
We therefore must employ some unconventional and guerrilla tactics to deal with it. The corrupt are very rich – take a look at Banda’s wife and children, Mwanawasa and Chiluba wifes, Sata’s wife and children, new elected president Lungu and family, and they can take on the ACC forces and hold them at bay for as long as they like. “Our leaders are very adept at creating loopholes to undermine anti-corruption campaigns. As a matter of habit, Zambian administrations, both past and present, usually show an amazing creativity with the culture of aiding and abetting corruption in the nation”
Zambia must elevate anti-corruption campaign to a cabinet level position. There is absolute need for an anti-corruption seat in Zambian cabinet meetings (say ministry of Anti-Corruption). Anti-corruption program needs to have a constitutionally mandated budget vote. This is because corruption is the number one threat to national security in Zambia today. If Zambia could get a handle on corruption she will have more than enough money to tackle her myriads socio-economic problems like unemployment and provision of infrastructure”.
Zambian people shouldn’t be expecting a saint in government? All over the world and in history, saints do not occupy political positions. They don’t get elected nor do they participate in governance. War against corruption is that it is half-hearted and is window-dressing. We seem to expect miracles, probably because we go to church too much. Of course, there have been problems along the way, as this is an entirely new experience and initiative for tackling this monster, and getting it right the first time, especially under such hostile and un-cooperative environment, will be very difficult indeed.
All the opposition political parties like to portray the ruling party, PF, as a party of thieves, etc, but realistically, the only difference between the PF and the rest of the parties is that the PF is in power. They are birds of the same feather, and will act the same way if they get to power. (By the way, I do not belong to any political party in Zambia apart of having my own and only Party Adedo-Zamucano). All of them are devoid of any vision, ideas or ideology or plans for Zambia. All of them are in there for selfish and corrupt interests.
Thereto, good governance, transparency, accountability and the rule of law are the keys to tackling corruption in the society, as corrupt leaders cannot wage an effective war against corruption. This is very true. All the political parties in Zambia at present are loaded with corrupt politicians who want to be our leaders and who do not have the will, the morality and the commitment to wage the war against corruption. Do not let me be fooled or hypocritical about this fact. They are all the same, albeit with different names and fighting to be in power or to stay in power to further oppress Zambians through their corruption. They are full of the same old incorrigible, corrupt and degenerate cabal who have been clinging on to political power for the past thirty years. No ideologies, no visions, no plans, no principles, no ideas to alleviate the problems and plights of the suffering Zambian people and masses.
Zambians are not asking for much. All we are asking for is openness and accountability in government. We are asking that the fabulous wealth that God has bequeathed Zambia are used for the benefit of all Zambians, and not a few greedy and selfish cliques. According to reports, Zambia has made over billion of kwacha’s and millions of dollars from tourism industries, revenues and taxations from minning sectors and imports, but where the hell is this money? What have they done with such a monumental amount of wealth? The answer is known to all of us. It has gone to buy mansions in South Africa, Asia and Europe , secret Swiss bank accounts etc.
Shame, isn’t it? A sad reflection of our times. But we cannot afford to let these corrupt cabal have their ways everytime. Zambian have got to find a way to take the fight to them and on their own terms. It is time we take OUR country back
By Honourable Brown Chibale Katooka Kapika
President for Adedo – Zamucano Political Party – Zambia
President for ‘Partij voor de Burgerlijke-en Mensenrechten’ Political Party – Netherlands
International Political Expert (IPE)