TIZ seeks repeal of presidential immunity law to allow criminal prosecution
By Staff Reporter
Transparency International, Zambia president Rueben Lifuka has challenged parliament to repeal the law on the Presidential Immunity to exclude criminal activities.
Speaking on Hot FM Frank on Hot radio programme on Tuesday, Lifuka stressed that although immunity was important for a serving and former president because of certain sensitive decisions they make when they are in office, this should not extend to criminal activities.
“Where criminal activities arise, the various laws should take action and the president should not be immune from being prosecuted for actions taken of a criminal nature,” he said.
Lifuka said people no longer had respect for public goods, public assets and public money and as a result values on corruption had been eroded.
“Previously what was saving this country was that the public servants had high respect for public money. Elected leaders had that respect for public money,” he said. “Today we’ve lost all that, political impunity has settled in to a point where people are not even scared of the repercussion of the law or any authority. Unfortunately society has also played a role, society continues to hold in high esteem those that are corrupt. In fact the corrupt in the communities are heroes”.
He said Zambians had normalised corruption and given the corrupt the red carpets in the communities outlining and the people did not feel the anger of someone using public resources for private gain.
“The PF came into power on a strong anti-corruption platform. We had a number of laws in 2010 when president Rupiah Banda was in office. But MMD was kicked out of office on account that corruption was high. This in itself demonstrates that merely having laws in place without having strong leadership of dealing with corruption is not good enough,” Lifuka said.
He gave an example of how beneficial it would be if the president would go through the auditor’s report.
“Let’s imagine a situation where president Lungu picks up the Auditor General’s report, Ministry by Ministry, parastatal by parastatal and he says ‘I do not want to see this picture next year and my directive is do whatever is necessary to clean up the act, and we are going to set milestones where I will be checking. That leadership is needed”.
He said the president has to take centre stage in leadership but everyone needed to be on board at different levels including the private sector.
“It’s supply and demand. Private sector should ensure that from their end, they do not become the source of corruption. Civil society also have a role to play, the church and so on. Corruption has infiltrated every sector of society. We find corrupt political activists, corrupt teachers, corrupt doctors, corrupt lawyers. So we can no longer all just sit in comfort and say the only corrupt one are the politicians. We all need a role to play” he said.
He said they could take up leadership by implementing the asset declaration as stipulated in the parliamentary code of conduct and lead the charge by providing these declarations.
“There has been a cry for lifestyle audits and we keep saying this as TIZ. If our leaders could demonstrate that they are living within their known earnings and they demand for everyone else to live within their known earnings this could go a long way,” he said.