Opinion

Lungu’s Promiscuous Relationship with the Truth

Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu is one of the good lawyers in Zambia, but the learned colleague is exhibiting signs of cheap political patronage going by the statements he has issued of late.

Last week, Lungu said that corrupt suppliers of goods and services to the Ministry of Home Affairs were approaching him with huge bribes with the view to entice him to award contracts immorally.

This week, Lungu has ordered the police to bring to book, people who are criticizing President Michael Sata’s tribal stance in appointing people to serve in public institutions.  Not to be stopped there, Lungu also claimed he had deported a former Zamtel executive to Uganda for being an “undesired person,” but it turns out to have been a bald-faced lie:  the former Zamtel managing director left the country eight months ago.

However it’s the statement issued by Lungu on corrupt suppliers of goods and services is perhaps one of the most outrageous utterances since the PF went in government. This characteristic has become endemic of Ministers in the Patrotic Front government.

The revelation cannot convince anyone about the Patrotic Front (PF) government’s true commitment to the fight corruption.

The minister should have been more careful before making statements on corruption in his ministry. He should not have defied logic because every Zambian knows what to do when faced with corruption or any crime.

For my observers, the minister’s revelation is a milestone in justifying that actually, there is a lot of corruption, which is being swept under the carpet in the PF government.

It is incredulous for a man of such legal brains to go on national television and announce that he was being bribed. This allegation is very serious and the challenge is on the minister to prove to the people of Zambia that he was truly enticed with huge sums of money. It would be interesting also to know how much must was involved in the bribes he turned down.

Lungu is not an illiterate. He has a strong legal background and if he is really serious about fighting corruption in the Ministry of Home Affairs, he would have taken the necessary legal procedures to deal with the so called corrupt suppliers of goods and services to the government.

For instance, he would have reported the corrupt suppliers to both the police and the anti-corruption commission for onward investigation and possible arrest.

The fact that Lungu chose to reveal to the media that he was being enticed by corrupt people indicates that he is a corrupt man. If Lungu is not corrupt, then there must be someone who is corrupt in that ministry. He has not shown any commitment or seriousness to the fight against graft. Why would he shield individuals who have openly showed corrupt tendencies instead of reporting them to the relevant government wings?

If Lungu was genuinely serious about fighting corruption, he would have at least announced the names of corrupt suppliers so that he can justify his words into deeds.

Lungu is trying to obtain some political mileage by using sensitive matters such as the fight corruption.

The minister’s allegation is a very serious matter in as far as the people of Zambia are concerned because the PF government promised to clean all systems and institutions.

During the week, Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) executive director Goodwell Lungu challenged his namesake Edgar Lungu to report to the anti corruption commission so that this government wing could investigate and arrest corrupt people.

The TIZ executive director said in Lusaka that merely announcing that the minister was being enticed into corrupt deals was not enough to end graft in Zambia.

“It would have been decent for the minister to tell us who approached him and he should have also been a whistleblower by reporting the culprits to the investigative wings,” he said.

Member of the MMD Alfred Ndhlovu has said corruption was the most misunderstood phenomenon in Zambia.

He said the current crusade against graft was being fought in arrears, targeting former leaders and oblivious of the wrongs being committed now.

Minister Lungu must address conclusively the matters he raised about corruption in his ministry.

He has raised another serious matter of probing critics of tribalism in the PF government.

He is jumping from one tree to another. The best is to handle one item at a time and this is the only way the people can see fruitful results.

Lungu must not sway our minds into discussing other subjects before he can deal with people who wanted to corrupt him because this is the only logical way in which graft can be dealt with.

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