Zambia Reports (Lusaka)

Zambia: ACC Under Attack After Kabimba, GBM Reprieve

Following the dropping of investigations into alleged corruption allegations involving senior Patriotic Front members and President Michael Sata's close ministers, the Anti Corruption Commission in Zambia is coming under heavy attack.

Civil society, politicians and private citizens are condemning the ACC describing the body as unprofessional and a tool for vindictive operations.

Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) leader Andrew Ntewewe has since urged the ACC to be professional in the exercise of it's duties.

Ntewewe and two other members of the civil society are also opposing the proposal to lift former president Rupiah Banda's immunity without substantiated ground.

Ntewewe said during a Face the Media programme on Radio Phoenix this morning that there was no professionalism in the law enforcement agencies under the Patriotic Front regime.

He said this in response to a caller only identified as Andrew who told civil society representative on the panel, "It doesn't make sense to push for the removal of immunity of president Banda if there are ministers [Wynter Kabimba and Goeffrey Mwamba] who are involved in corruption but can't be investigated."

The caller said the ACC had earned itself a new title of "Commission of Corruption" after they cleared justice minister Kabimba and his defence counterpart Mwamba commonly known as GBM of corruption charges.

He wondered how Kabimba, accused of receiving kickbacks in oil deals from Trafigura, and GBM, accused of undue influence over a Zesco tender using a company managed by his wife and children, were cleared.

The caller demanded that the panel explains when Kabimba and GBM had appeared before ACC and were found without any charge on the matter.

Although none of the panelist, which included NGOCC's Beatrice Grillo and Daniel Mulenga from Jesuit Centre for Theological Refletion, directly addressed the caller's concerns in their closing remarks, Ntewewe branded investigative wings of government as unprofessional.

"The reason these things (clearing Kabimba and GBM) are happening is because there is no professionalism. We have to be vigilant and hold the government accountable. Our call to these institutions is, please be profession," he said.

Ntewewe also said Inspector General of Police Stella Libongani should stop behaving like a cadre by siding with politicians but instead offer a credible operation of the law to all citizens on equal terms.

He appealed to President Michael Sata not to take Zambia back to a One-Party state and work towards improving the country's image on the international scene.

Ntewewe said President Sata should not ignore the issues raised in the recent Pastoral Letter and the Coalition for the Defence of Democratic Rights (CDDR) report submitted to the Commonwealth highlighting human rights abuses.

"Our call to the President of the Republic of Zambia is to lead us on the path of love, not of hatred and vegeance," he said.

Grillo also said a meaniful corruption fight can only succeed if it was not vindictive and done professionally.

She said her organization was looking forward to the enactment of a constitution that will stand the test of time and strengthen structures in the country.

"Seperation of powers through a new constitution is critical," she said reminding the Patriotic Front government that running the country was only for a certain period after which their actions would also be called into scrutiny.

"Whatever they are setting now, they are laying a ground. Let them do things properly. Politics of victimization lead to civil war."

Mutale said the perception that the civil society had gone to sleep, probably to bed with the Patriotic Front, was real and urged those in the field to step up with courage and hold the government accountable.

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