Sometimes negative forces do our job for us. Earlier this week, Luapula Province was reported to have gone into jubilation following reports that Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba had resigned, with some PF cadres taking to the streets in celebration. However, his resignation was allegedly meant to preempt an imminent reshuffle by President Edgar Lungu with several big names facing the chop.
Ironically, the PF cadres’ jubilation is a help because it crystallizes what is at stake in a ruling party that has been ripped apart by war of words since the demise in 2014 of the founder leader late Michael Sata and the ensuing presidential succession wrangles. Let no one think that the firing of Chishimba Kambwili, Lucky Mulusa and now the resignation of Harry Kalaba is an obscure little internal cabinet conflict that has no bearing on the rest of the ruling party.
On the contrary, the struggle for stability and unity in PF represents the frontline in the national fight against corruption. If the PF top leadership fails to take this on board, the consequences could be dire. This sort of reported corruption among the PF top honchos is like a virus. Unless dealt with decisively – with all possible means and resources – it spreads.
This is why it is so important to defeat the false accusers of corruption in government who hide behind the perverted banner of opposition, freedom of speech and offer nothing but unsubstantiated graft allegations, name-calling and populist political rhetoric to the people of Zambia. Corruption has nothing to do with the people’s aspirations and everything to do with indiscriminate plunder and sheer theft of the national treasury, by those vociferous loudmouthed politicians included.
The nation is gratified by the progress the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has made since its new Director General was nominated and ratified by Parliament in 2017. The ACC is now able to provide a wide range of future prosecutions subject to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s advice. However the gains the ACC has made has not been without pain and sacrifice. In the past, it had been accused and ridiculed of being toothless and selective when dealing with high profile cases of corruption. This has been the high cost of sacrifice.
Turning to future prospects, the nation looks forward to seeing the ACC’s field officers’ levels increase from the current status. A more robust deployment would allow them to enhance the struggle for a graft-free environment by empowering the ACC field officers to reduce the corrupt individuals’ room for manoeuvre, and reduce the climate of fear among whistle-blowers that is pervasive in areas in which they operate.
Meanwhile, the quicker the PF top leaders provide leadership in weeding out corrupt elements within the party’s rank and file the more they would enhance their functional capability and enable themselves to prevail over this alleged nefarious and venal situation. Nonetheless, a somber warning to the governing party is that the seemingly fragmented opposition given more time would evolve into a tougher, more resilient force.
Defectors from PF, MMD, UPND and elsewhere into NDC are providing Chishimba Kambwili’s party with funding and logistics. The PF needs to know that it cannot stand idly by and allow the NDC and its support to entrench in the country unchallenged. The disturbing question is: Who will create this desirable situation? Of course, this mission must properly be coordinated and resourced.
By all accounts, PF has been suffering from its own presidential succession tragedy for almost 3 years caused by individuals in the party with presidential ambitions wishing to challenge the incumbent all the time. Let the party ensure that it enables PF grassroots leaders to bring this haemorrhage in its strongholds to an end before it becomes a tragedy for the rest of the country. In the end, stability in PF is quite important to the nation.