Corruption has permeated all sectors in Zambia – Lifuka
By Staff Reporter
Transparency International (TI) Zambia president Rueben Lifuka has expressed concern how much corruption has permeated all sectors of society in the country.
Lifuka said it was usual in Zambia to find a corrupt policeman, pastor, student, lawyer, doctor, teacher, politician, civil activist and businessman.
Launching the 2018 Corruption Perception Index at Cresta Golf View in Lusaka yesterday, Lifuka said Zambia had scored 35 of out of 100 points, translating into a drop by two points from 37 out of 100 scored in 2017.
He explained that Zambia was now ranked 105 out of 180, showing a drop by nine places in the rank from the 2017 CPI of 96 out of 180.
Lifuka said it was the first time Zambia had dropped by two points and nine places in one year.
He said the CPI analysis meant that between 2016 and 2018, Zambia dropped two places, with 17 countries ranking higher in sub-Sahara Africa.
Lifuka however said Zambia performed better than 31 countries in the region.
“It is evident that corruption has become a major challenge for Zambia and we have a choice to make, to do something about this or continue with the business-as-usual approach. We should get serious about investigating and prosecuting all cases of corruption. There should be no sacred cows. We need a strong leadership, starting with the Head of State and cabinet ministers leading by example. We should also strengthen the law enforcement agencies, create an independent media and allow civil society to operate freely,” he said.
Lifuka said until citizens together with leaders realise the insidious effects that corruption had on people’s lives, Zambia would continue to be in a permanent state of denial that the scourge was real.
He said the country was living on borrowed time because the seeds of corruption that are being planted today shall germinate in the near future and the harvest would be a legacy ashamed of itself.
“Our findings suggest that to control corruption, governments need to strengthen institutions that provide democratic checks and balances, bridge the gap between law and enforcement, support a free and independent media and promote citizens’ engagement in government. More generally, our analysis outlines how countries with high levels of corruption can be dangerous places for political opponents. Practically all countries where political killings are ordered or condoned by the government are also rated highly corrupt on CPI,” said Lufuka.
And All People’s Congress president Nason Msoni said the latest ranking of the country was an indictment on the President Lungu lead PF administration with regards to the fight against corruption.
In a statement, Msoni placed the burden of changing the status quo on President Lungu.
“The reported increase of corruption in Zambia as highlighted and depicted in the latest released rankings of the global corruption index makes extremely sad reading and is a serious indictment on the Presidency,” he said. “In view of the seriousness of the indictment it is now incumbent upon himself (President Lungu) to come clean and demonstrate that these sustained accusations against him and his administration are baseless and unfounded”.
He added that the high level of corruption vindicates former Foriegn Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba who resigned due to high levels of corruption in President Lungu’s government.
“The lack of the political will to fight corruption is apparent by the lack of action on individuals accused and cited by the various institutions such as the Auditor General report and indeed the Financial Intelligence Centre report,” Msoni said. “Clearly, the report has effectively vindicated the two former Cabinet Ministers in the PF government who alleged corruption in the PF led government which is presided upon by President Edgar Chagwa Lungu.”
“In the circumstances President Lungu bares the highest responsibility as the custodian of public trust and citizens are expecting him to start addressing these embarrassing international indictments against him and his government,” said Msoni.