Chief government spokesperson and information minister Dora Siliya has described as highly erroneous and misleading a comment by journalist Kwangu Liwewe on an eNCA report that each Zambian minister owns 40 houses through corruption.
In a statement, Ms. Siliya stated that much as the government recognized the big challenge corruption posed in the country, sensationalism and failure to cross-check facts with relevant authorities would remain a liability in the fight against the vice.
“Government finds highly erroneous and misleading a story attributed to South African’s eNCA news channel in which the station in an interview with a Zambian journalist from Lusaka alleges that each Zambian Cabinet Minister owns 40 houses through corruption.
Government is unaware of a report from any of its investigative wings to this effect…If a Zambian journalist, a Ms. Kwangu Liwewe, had bothered to go to the Ministry of Local Government and get facts, she would have offered a more substantiated story. I restate Government’s unwavering commitment to the fight against corruption in the delivery of development to the people,” Ms Siliya stated.
“On the yellow card campaign that occurred at the weekend in the capital Lusaka, this is normal and it is not the first time citizens are coming together to express their views on an issue as it is within their democratic right to do so. People are free to organize such demonstrations just as others are equally free not to join as what happened with the yellow card campaign at the weekend where out of a population of 4 million people in Lusaka city, barely 100 people turned up to participate.”
She stated that government was not naïve to the reality of corruption and the harm it has on society if allowed to thrive.
“This is why Government under the leadership of His Excellency President Edgar Lungu has, and continues to put in place stringent measures to fight corruption in which there are no sacred cows. The establishment of the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and more recently, the Financial Intelligence Center (FIC), attest to this. This is coupled with Government’s hands-off approach to the media which is free to report on corruption and other issues of national interest. This has enhanced the visibility of the country’s governance system including the fight against corruption not only locally but also at the international stage,” Ms Siliya stated.
“Government is proud that as a result of these and other measures, for the first time in the history of the country, the anti-corruption crusade is not only visible but also bearing the desired results as can be seen in the many arrests and prosecution of suspects regardless of their status in society. I further wish to state that the fight against corruption is not only targeted at politicians but all Government and private sector players as corruption can only be fought if we stop those who induce it and benefit from. This is why Government introduced transparency in the procurement systems which stakeholders can check even in the procurement of fire engines referred to by the media in question.”