The statement/proverb/idiom, whichever is applicable, was/is in bad taste and very irresponsibly in as far as fighting corruption and bribery is concerned especially uttered by the Head of State who is supposed to be number one caretaker of the nation’s resources and Soldier number one in the fight against corruption, misappropriation and abuse of public resources.
In light of sprawling allegations of corruption and bribery, misappropriation and abuse of public funds which have gone uninvestigated and ignored by himself, the President, it would have been lovable for President exercised restraint from issuing such uncensored statements.
This vindicates many of us who have been saying that the current President is not serious with the anti-corruption crusade but has instead, encouraged corruption and bribery to flourish right in his eyes and at his doorstep and among his ministers and government officials with impunity.
The statement above opens doors to the commission of acts of corruption and bribery by those working in various mwibala [fields]. This is why some of us are of the strong view that this can only end when the immunity clause in our national laws is removed. It will help nurture responsible leadership which fears to “eat” from fields they are employed to guard.
President Lungu and his people are entrusted with nation’s resources, facilities and property and are paid for guarding them jealously. They are not volunteers but employees on a public salary and allowances.
They are our security guards guarding our resources, as citizens who are the employers, and for him to start encouraging each other to “eat” from the entrusted resources they are guarding even after being paid only monthly basis, is extremely unfortunate.
The President has acted like an irresponsible head teacher at a co-educational or girls school rocked with teacher-pupil illicit love relationships or an irresponsible Bishop at a Church rocked with sexual immoralities.
Instead of issuing a stern warning to the culprits, when parents to the pupils or church members complain about these immoral acts at a school or church respectively, the head teacher or Bishop goes to address the teachers or priests involved in such acts that “ubomba mwibala alya mwibala as long as they don’t touch the small girls [seeds] at the school or in Church” for future use.
Would that mean discouraging illicit activities at the school or church, of course not? How would those culprits feel with such an encouraging statement from their supervisors, of course, very encouraged to misbehave further?
This is what the President has just done to his ministers, DCs, traffic police officers, civil servants et al through this phrase “ubomba mwibala alya mwibala”.
His actions and his rhetoric on corruption, bribery, misappropriation of public resources, et al do not coordinate. There is need for the President to offer hope and enthusiasm in the fight against corruption and in preservation of public resources by those entrusted to do so
Otherwise, at the rate the President is issuing statements on corruption, the Anti-Corruption Commission is made vulnerable and inept and citizens rendered hopeless.
The statement should be retracted and a warning be issued to all public officers that the law will visit them if they engaged in “eating” from mwibala when they are paid salaries and allowances.
Written by McDonald Chipenzi