1. Zambia is a stunningly beautiful country. However, the more things change, the more they stay the same. My strong sense of fairness may be my greatest undoing. Everyone, in my opinion, deserves to be treated fairly. By the way, being fair to someone does not imply favouring them. Simply put, it means following the rules of natural justice. People’s expectations are obviously high as the new administration takes office. Each person has their own vision of the change they wish to see. Others believe that all those who were associated with the former PF regime must be lynched. But then, what kind of society would we be building if we did that? My belief has always been that we need to live in harmony as brothers and sisters if we are going to build this country into the great nation that it deserves to be.
2. That is to say those who served in the last administration need to be treated with dignity and respect. Of course the ones that erred and committed criminal offenses need to be charged and subjected to the due process of the law. But that should be done with dignity and humility. There is a thin line between persecution and prosecution. A few days ago, l complained about the high appetite by President Hakainde Hichilema’s administration to be sensational in their corruption fight. In recent days, we have seen the disclosure of intimate details of on-going corruption investigations such as the alleged purchase of a bank for K300 million by a former Councillor and more recently the alleged discovery of K65,330,000 cash and some dollars in a house in New Kasama, Lusaka. And yet no arrest has been made in any of these cases. As a former Police Officer, l can tell you that there is no decent investigative wing out there, worth their salt, that will disclose intimate details of an active investigation in which no one has been charged and arrested yet. Even if a case was to leak to the media, the standard response by any decent investigator is “No Comment”. Until such a time that the investigation has been concluded, the perpetrators and their conspirators of any, have been arrested and the case is ready for trial.
3. But what we are seeing under the new administration is totally different. We have investigative wings that are calling press briefings every day to update the public on the intimate details of ongoing major investigations. The question then becomes; to achieve what? It’s definitely not for purposes of building a strong case that can stand in court. A strong case cannot be built by sharing intimate details of an investigation with the public. By so doing, our investigative wings are simply arresting the co-conspirators to either run or destroy evidence. The end result is that these cases will be bungled and may not stand on all four when presented to the court. Guess who the biggest losers will be when that happens? You and l. Or in short, the Zambian people. Whatever money was stolen by members and associates of the former PF regime needs to be recovered and taken back to the treasury. But that can only happen if sober and professional investigations are done, and not this playing to the gallery that we are seeing.
4. The pattern that l am seeing here is that HH and his Government appear to be more in the business of portraying to the world how corrupt the PF administration was as opposed to prosecuting those specific members of the PF administration that stole and recovering the money. And here is the point fellow countrymen and women; when President Hichilema allows professional investigations to be undertaken which resulted in the arrest and conviction of perpetrators as well as recovery of stolen money, that is of benefit to the nation. It benefits you and l. However, when President Hichilema engages in grandstanding by merely portraying the former PF regime as corrupt through the media and ends up compromising these cases in court, that does not benefit you and l. It only benefits HH and his political fortunes. And my point here is that President Hichilema needs to act in a manner that puts the national interest first and not his personal or partisan political interests. We know that HH fought the PF for 15 years, and now that he is Head of State, he needs to focus on the national interest as opposed to continue with his fight against the PF, albeit now using state resources.
5. I know that some readers out there are asking to what end President Hichilema would decide to allow his law enforcement agencies to engage in grandstanding against the former PF regime as opposed to pursuing genuine cases in court. Well, my take is that HH wants to lift Lungu’s immunity and so he is trying to create a narrative for his next move. He is trying to inflame the emotions of the Zambian people and the surest way is to release sensational details of active investigations to the media. Details such as the purchase of a bank and its assets for K300 million by a mere Ward Councillor. Details such as that the coffers are empty even though there is US$2.9 billion. Details such as K65.33 million recovered, even if we have not seen pictures of the actual loot as the only pictures shown to us were downloaded from the internet. In other words, President Hichilema appears to have no intention to secure an actual conviction and recovery of stolen assets in court. Provided the emotions of Zambians are sufficiently inflamed to support the lifting of Lungu’s immunity, HH will be happy and he would’ve achieved his objective. In other words, you the Zambian people are being used as pawns in HH’s personal fight against Lungu, with no benefit to the nation.
6. And the worst part of all this drama is that we have seen it play out before. I for one remember vividly that day in 2002 when late former President Levy Mwanawasa addressed Parliament and made grandiose claims of criminality against late former President Fredrick Chiluba and his associates. We the Zambian people cheered and clapped for Mwanawasa at that time. But when the cases were taken to court, what was the end result? President Chiluba was vilified for owning expensive suits and shoes. Meanwhile Mwanawasa made his lawyer friends stinking rich as he paid the billions of Kwacha of taxpayers money for the private prosecutions against FTJ. And a lot of people’s lives were needlessly destroyed. People such as Faustin Kabwe and Aaron Chungu who had worked their butts off building a prosperous indigenous Zambian company; Access Financial Services Limited, had their company forfeited to the State for no sound reason whatsoever. All because Mwanawasa wanted to settle his personal beef against Chiluba? The question that each one of us must answer honestly today and now is; how much destruction of innocent people’s lives is acceptable as President Hichilema embarks on this familiar journey of settling his personal scores against former President Lungu? Fellow countrymen and women, I submit that President Hichilema should restrict himself to prosecution of alleged wrongdoers and not persecution.