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Zambian President’s Anti-Corruption Commitment Questioned

  • Peter Clottey

Zambian President Rupiah Banda, left, toasts with Chinese President Hu Jintao after a signing ceremony for a wide range of mining, trade and cultural agreements, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Feb. 25, 2010 (file photo)

Zambian President Rupiah Banda, left, toasts with Chinese President Hu Jintao after a signing ceremony for a wide range of mining, trade and cultural agreements, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Feb. 25, 2010 (file photo)

The executive director of Zambia-based Transparency International (TI) has questioned President Rupiah Banda’s efforts to root out corruption ahead of this year’s general elections.

Goodwell Lungu said his organization will keep up pressure on President Banda to continue the graft fight the late President Levy Mwanawasa began a few years ago.

“We are quite amazed and disturbed with the fact that he (the ex-intelligence chief is) still campaigning for the current president. And, also, he is on record as praising the Zambian judiciary, that it is one of the best judicial systems in Africa. For us, we feel that this is a ploy to win sympathy from the judiciary, as well as the head of state,” said Lungu.

“We have expressed our displeasure over the way the current president has been handling the fight against corruption.”

President Banda has come under increasing criticism after former intelligence Chief Xavier Chungu began openly campaigning for the incumbent leader’s re-election bid.

Chungu reportedly fled Zambia to avoid prosecution after he was charged with graft, along with former President Frederick Chiluba.

Chungu, former Director-General of the Zambia Security Intelligence Services (ZSIS), still faces graft charges while serving under former President Chiluba.

Lungu said there are indications that Zambians are disappointed that President Banda seemed not to be doing enough to fight corruption.

“We are seeing quite a lowered level of the fight against corruption and we have concluded from a variety of facts that the current president doesn’t seem to be very much committed to the fight against corruption in comparison to the late President Mwanawasa,” said Lungu.

“Our position is reaffirmed by the recent (poll) index that Transparency International Zambia conducted, which showed that, comparatively, most respondents who are citizens of the republic of Zambia did indicate that the current (president) is not so much committed to the fight against corruption compared to the late president.”

Lungu, however, said President Banda still has enough time to, in his words, rekindle the fight against corruption in the country.

President Mwanawasa gained international recognition for his anti-corruption crusade after former President Chiluba, who was charged with graft while in office from 1991 to 2001.

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