Thursday, 17 January 2013

Political Corruption Stinks like Shit


When it comes to politics, the media are like bush pigs that will attack you when your pants are down as you shit (defecate) in the bush. As you pull your pants to run away, do not forget to also pick up the doves you just shot from your ass. If you do, the pigs will remain feasting on them

By Nyalubinge Ngwende 
You can take a secluded path and sit yourself among the shrubs and do the foul call of nature, or go to the ivory tower and relieve yourself, wipe out the backside using a newspaper that is politically on your side, but the fact is that shit still stinks and at one end it will foul the air and attract flies.

This is also true about how our politicians steal public funds. Their predecessor, the MMD government, may have taken a secluded path in the trail of committing corrupt acts while, the current Patriotic Front government, may choose to openly commit those acts and use government papers and elected representative to try and legitimise the wrongs, but the fact remains: theft is theft!

Theft means taking something that is not legally or legitimately yours, whether by writing it in the government books or not. There is no way an office that is not established by the constitution of the country can be appropriated public funds. There is also no way a government can allocate funds to build a retirement home of a President who is barely one year-old in office for a five-year term.

This is the position the Patriotic Front government in Zambia finds itself in. It has been trying to justify its actions that border on moral wrongs; using parliament to allocate K1.5 billion to the office of the First Lady Christine Kaseba and another K1.4 billion for the retirement home for President Sata.

To justify the misallocation of public funds to Kaseba’s office in the 2013 budget, government and the chain of blinded Nongovernmental organisations claim that the move is meant for transparency and accountability which was absent during the Movement for Multiparty Democracy regime.

Inarguably, the abuse of public funds on the first lady could have happened in the previous administrations—maybe more conspicuous under the Rupiah Banda regime.

However, these are issues that raised public outrage during the Rupiah Banda administration. The private media, led by The Post Newspaper that implicitly declared battle to expose the Movement for Multiparty Democracy scandals and bring down the Rupiah Banda government, followed every stinking actions of the then ruling party. Like the wild pigs the media arrived at every point MMD leaders were trying to squat to foul the legal requirements of contracts and so on.

But the MMD continued to live in denial. The Patriotic Front, then in the opposition, promised the people of Zambia to bring to stop such excesses once elected. But that has not happened.

When it comes to politics, the media are like bush pigs that will attack you when your pants are down as you shit (defecate) in the bush. As you pull your pants to run away, do not forget to also pick up the doves you just shot from your ass. If you do, the pigs will remain feasting on them.

Mind everybody in the opposition, PF may still be considered clean and there is no media feast as yet. Maybe its pants are still up as they approach the shrubs or the pigs have not just smelled the shit in PF because the thickets are still obscure.

But with the goings on lately, flies seem to be buzzing over the shrubs of the Patriotic Front and it is known that corruption, like rotten meat or excreta, attracts flies.

Wynter Kabimba already showed how in the middle of corruption allegations implicating him, he can use his position as justice minister to put himself above the rule of law. When he was summoned to the anti-corruption commission for interrogation, he refused to go in and get questioned. Putting up drama, he demanded that ACC officers interrogate him in the presence of PF cadres and the media that had turned up.

To date Wynter Kabimba has not gone back to ACC, but he has been claiming in the public media that he is ready to be interrogated and in no way will he undermine the process of the law as justice minister.

Then there are also suspicious policy changes that have taken place, giving individual ministries to be handling their procurement—a recipe for corruption because ministers will override the permanent secretaries technical advice and seek pecuniary gains from such contracts.

This has happened when there are no safeguard laws to ensure that government procurement is put above any forms of abuse by ensuring that government leaders have no business in handling contracts for public infrastructure.

And what it means is that the Patriotic Front administration legitimised the ministers to do wrong things, including interfering with award of contracts and engaging in deals. It means that the  kind of corruption cases that former MMD leaders like Dora Siliya are facing, for influencing the award of contracts against the expert views of the Zambia Public Procurement Authority, have ended with her. Should a minister under Patriotic Front find themselves doing the same things that Siliya did, they will never face the law.

President Sata has also taken over the administration of the Roads Development Agency, bringing it under State House. This means the President is interfering in the business of road contracts and, should anything go wrong, no single law enforcement agency shall question any wrong doing until after five years; that questioning will only happen if he loses power then.

But 10 years of abuse in government is not long enough to bury one’s shit. The flies followed every corner in which Second Republican President Frederick Chiluba had squatted and did all that polluted the morality of public office at his time.

The person who exposed Chiluba’s corruption did not come from outside the MMD, but Levy Mwanawasa, the heir Chiluba appointed to take over from him used to be his vice president in government and political party.

Dr Kaseba and her husband must know that sending the Patriotic Front MPs, and managing to corrupt a few from the oppositionto support wrong things in the budget, raises questions that they will need to provide both moral and legal answers when time comes for their stay at State House to expire. It will expire.