10 December 2012

Zambia: Let's Stamp Out Corruption

ONE of the challenges that Zambia is currently grappling with is the eradication of poverty, a developmental challenge which is much promoted by the impact of corruption.

Corruption undoubtedly has been a retrogressive vice which has led the country to lose colossal sums of money which would have been otherwise channelled towards projects aimed at bettering the living standards of the people.

Many Zambian have been wallowing in poverty 48 years after independence partly because of greedy individuals who have been pocketing the country's resources for personal gratification.

We therefore commend the Patriotic Front (PF) Government for seriously sticking to one of its campaign promises of stamping out graft.

During the last one year of being office, the Government has shown strong political will in ensuring that the country's resources are not abused by selfish individuals who are entrusted to run public affairs.

The Government has made tremendous strides in fighting corruption in the past one year as evidenced by a number of measures which have been put in place to stop graft which need to be supported by all stakeholders.

One of these measures is the reintroduction of the abuse of authority of office clause in the Anti-Corruption Act.

This has so far sounded a bell in the minds of people who go in public service to amass wealth at the expense of the poor Zambians.

The abuse of authority clause and many other very progressive clauses have been handy in deterring public officials from mismanaging and stealing public resources.

Zambians were in the past subjected to shoddy services because the meager resources ended up in the pockets of some people. We see the country prospering in the next few years as the monies intended for development projects would properly be utilised under a watchful eye.

Secondly, Government's move to increase funding to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and other law enforcement agencies in the 2012 and 2013 national Budgets is a huge leap in the right direction in trying to fight corruption.

These important institutions have been failing to undertake their critical roles because of poor funding which has been hampering investigations and operations.

But with increased funding, the ACC and other law enforcement agencies would be able to operate effectively and timely in the bid to significantly reduce graft in Zambia.

Another important milestone scored in the fight against corruption is Government's willingness to grant the ACC necessary independence for it to perform its work without any external pressure.

President Michael Sata has time and again reaffirmed and assured the nation that Government would not interfere in the operations of the ACC but would instead create an enabling environment for them to execute their mandate independently.

These and many other interventions are key in helping fight corruption which has seen our country lagging behind in terms of development.

However, all these efforts would remain fruitless if all Zambians are not involved in the fight, and the fight must start now.

There is no better time than now to push the crusade against corruption forward by putting into practice this year's theme, "Act against Corruption Today."

The fight against graft requires patriotism among all Zambians and should not just be left to the Government and law enforcement agencies.

We should all be alert and be whistle-blowers. It is by doing so that these law enforcement agencies will operate effectively and reduce the scourge to a bare minimum.

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