WHEN THE COMMANDER GOES ROGUE: PRESIDENT LUNGU, ACC, AND THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION
By Elias Munshya
President Lungu’s trip to the Copperbelt this last weekend did not just end up spreading COVID-19 to the innocent masses that attended his rallies. Still, it was also the opportunity for the President to say the darndest things. If the President and his handlers want us to accord some respect to his high office, he must behave and speak like a person in the land’s highest office. Dr. Lungu cannot go to Ndola, barret and insult the Anti-Corruption Commission and expect us to remain mute about it and play nice. He is not pleasant to the security and investigative wings under his command. How can we, as a people, then have confidence in this gentleman?
If the President is sick and tired of being in power but wants to be an opposition leader, he is welcome. He can exchange with Dr. Chishimba Kambwili, or Mr. Hakainde Hichilema – some of the gentlemen who wish to rule. But President Lungu cannot have it both ways. He cannot be President and yet behave like a frightened little man scared of the Anti-Corruption Commission. The ACC as an agency under our constitution is directly under the command of the President. The ACC investigate and prosecute cases under the name of the head of our republic. The ACC is held together by the highest office in the land. Each subpoena they issue is done in the name of the President. How then can it be justifiable for the President to claim that the ACC is somehow trying to undermine this President by investigating his close collaborators?
The ACC is doing an excellent job under the circumstances. However, they are facing resistance from no one other than their commander in chief. The ACC cannot prosecute and properly investigate cases if our country’s chief law enforcement agent – the President – is the person keen on shielding his closes thieves. It matters whom we elect to the presidency. If we as a people elect a person who is unwilling or unable to fight corruption, all the institutions that fight corruption will fail. The buck stops at the President’s door.
The President claimed in Ndola that the ACC is somehow trying to undermine him. He complained that the ACC is only interested in fighting politicians – and by politicians – the President meant the ruling party kelenkas. We have heard of the ACC prosecuting magistrates for K1,500.00 or a security guard for K750.00. Where did the President get this lie that they are only interested in arresting his closest collaborators? If indeed the ACC is closing in on the President’s closest allies, it is because the President does keep an awful company – a company of thieves, kelenkas, and alleged drug dealers. One particular individual is rumoured to offering the state the rare opportunity to buy a piece of useless real estate from him for a meagre $18 million. The thieves are jumping the highest under this administration because they have found a president, a commander who is amenable to their manipulation. We can only conclude one thing – these thieves are having their day because at the end of the end – balya nabo, banwa nabo, nokwiba kwibe beeba nabo. There is no better way to put it.
What about this rampant idea we hear of that the ACC is supposed to be independent of the President? This is a misnomer. Under our law, the President is still the commander in chief of all security and armed agencies. He is supposed to command their compliance with the law and the constitution. Each law that empowers the ACC to investigate and prosecute the corrupt empowers the President to provide the necessary resources and the command to follow the law. The ACC is supposed to be encouraged by the President; it must not be condemned or intimidated by the President.
In all this – something is obvious – Zambians will have a big choice in August 2021. And that choice should be natural – to vote out this cabal of corrupt thieves once and for all. This PF corrupt cabal’s very undoing is its lack of faith in the very institutions that our constitution has provided to enhance the rule of law. Dear Zambians, – the choice is yours.
The author, Elias Munshya, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.