Zambia Raises the Bar

‘If President Michael Sata misbehaves in the same manner, the law will take its course’

Zambia’s Deputy Minister of Communication, Colonel Panji Kaunda, says the PF government has raised the bar of accountability in its governance system.
And Abel Chambeshi, the former Minister of Transport and Communication, says Patriotic Front leaders should be commended as brave men and women who may be without many equals in Africa for lifting ex-President Rupiah Banda's immunity.
Chambeshi served as minister in the MMD administration led by Former Presdient Banda.
Featuring on a radio programme last week, Col Panji – a son of Former President Kenneth Kaunda – said there was no vengeance in lifting Former President Banda's immunity and prosecuting him for alleged corruption.
Col Panji said Zambia’s Founding President, Dr Kaunda, did not hide behind immunity when he was being investigated by the Frederick Chiluba administration.
“What we had done is that we have raised the bar of accountability much higher, this is not against Rupiah Banda or against Chiluba but against us, our own government. We are saying to ourselves, we are in government we must behave!
“If President Michael Sata misbehaves in the same manner, the law will take its course, if his honour the Vice President Guy Scott misbehaves, it will do and if Panji Kaunda misbehaves, the law will take its course,” he said.
Col Panji said Zambians should not accept corruption.
“The law is the law, if Mr Rupiah Banda is found innocent, he is a free man, if he is going to be found guilty, the law will take its course, simple as that,” he said.
Speaking on another radio programme, Col Col Panji said no one was above the law and that government would continue prosecuting people who break it.
“As I said earlier on, no one is above the law. Once the law is broken by whoever it is, action must be taken.
“I was listening to BBC … the Former President of France (Nicolas) Sarkozy is under investigation, he is alleged to have gotten money for the campaigns against the law. So there is nothing new we are doing here,” Col Panji said.
And former minister Abel Chambeshi said the removal of the Former President's immunity should send a strong message to leaders across Africa who have a penchant for theft of public funds.
He said this would serve as a warning to all political parties not just those in opposition.
“As a private citizen and especially one who once occupied a senior government position not so long ago, I have to make a statement on this matter now because I know how tempting it can get for officials at that level to try and create an oligarchy of rich families for many years into the future,” Chambeshi said.
“The fact that the government may be laying traps for itself to fall into later, is neither here nor there.
What is instructive is that they have gone ahead and drawn the lines of the corruption fight.
“For that they should be commended as brave men and women who may be without many equals in Africa, well done gallant patriots.”
Chambeshi said running a government in Africa was a precarious but highly profitable occupation as other institutions of democracy were feeble to provide checks and balances.

March 2013
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