10 December 2012

Zambia: 'PF'll Fulfill Promises'

PRESIDENT Michael Sata says the Patriotic Front (PF) Government will fulfill its promises made to the Zambian people and its partners by ensuring that corruption which has become so prevalent is stamped out.

President Sata reiterated that this undertaking was not an afterthought but one of the platforms on which the PF campaigned and were elected by the Zambian people.

Mr Sata said the Government had made tremendous strides in fighting corruption in the past one year.

"As clearly demonstrated in the 2012 and 2013 national Budgets, My Government has increased funding to the Anti-Corruption Commission and other law enforcement agencies to enable them operate effectively and timely in our bid to significantly reduce corruption in this country," he said.

The President said this in a speech read on his behalf by acting Vice-President Wynter Kabimba during this year's United Nations Anti-Corruption Day celebrations at Government Complex in Lusaka yesterday.

Mr Sata said in response to Part two, Article six of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the Government has promised to grant the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) necessary independence for it to perform its mandate without any external pressure.

Mr Sata said this was the reason the tenure of office of the Director-General in the new ACC Act, number 3 of 2012, had been strengthened and re-emphasised.

"I therefore, wish to assure the nation at large that my Government will not interfere in the operations of the Anti-Corruption Commission but will instead create an environment for them to execute their mandate independently until corruption is significantly reduced," he said.

The Government had also created an enabling environment for the media and Civil Society to operate freely without intimidation or interference.

He said this would to a large extent assist in having an informed citizenry and expose corrupt individuals.

Mr Sata said the Government had further realised the importance of bringing young people on board in the fight against corruption.

The President said the Government had therefore developed and introduced anti-corruption topics and themes in the primary and secondary school levels.

He said the Government was also working towards introducing themes on corruption at tertiary level.

Mr Sata said corruption impedes democracy and the rule of law and that it distorts political participation or competition and reduces transparency in society.

The impact of corruption often manifested through poor standard of work, unfairness in service delivery and depletion of national wealth, the President said.

ACC Chairperson Justice Timothy Kabalata in his remarks was hopeful that with the prevailing strong political will, support from cooperating partners and all anti-corruption stakeholders, the country would continue registering strides in the fight against graft.

Mr Justice Kabalata said the theme for this year's commemoration "Act against Corruption Today" continues to challenge all not to condone corruption and compels everyone to do something about it today and not wait for tomorrow.

And Transparency International Zambia vice-president Joepeh Kalungu said the fight against graft needed strength of character and courage to do the right thing.

Mr Kalungu said the fight against corruption required political will demonstrated in form of support for the independent functioning of the judiciary, law enforcement agencies and watchdog institutions.

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