Zambia’s Justice Minister Vows to Fight Corruption

    James Butty
    Zambia’s new justice minister, Wynter Kabimba, said the government of President Michael Sata will leave no stone unturned when it comes to fighting corruption.  

    He also warned foreign investors that the government is not interested in those who come to Zambia to engage in acts of corruption.  

    Kabimba said, while the government does not wish to engage in witch hunting, it was elected to correct what he calls the wrongs of the previous government.
     
    “One of the things that we made fundamentally clear during our campaign was that we were going to fight corruption and that, in fighting corruption, any transaction that was entered into by the previous [government], which was tainted with corruption to the detriment of the interest of the Zambian people, we shall reverse that transaction because it is not the job of any government to engage in acts of corruption against its own people,” he said.

    Kabimba said the Sata government was elected to serve the interest of the Zambian people and not to serve the interest of what he called foreign powers or foreign elements.

    He said the fight against corruption is not a witch hunt, but rather to right the wrongs under former President Rupiah Banda’s government.

    “This also is a clear message to any investor coming into Zambia that we are not interested in investors that come here to engage Zambian citizens or Zambian business people into acts of corruption,” Kabimba said.

    Sata earlier this year appointed Malawian judge Lovemore Chikopa to head a tribunal to investigate alleged misbehavior by three High Court judges who have since been suspended.  They are Justices Philip Musonda, Charles Kajimanga and Nigel Mutuna.

    Butty interview with Kabimba
    Butty interview with Kabimbai
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    It is alleged that the suspended judges interfered with a case involving the Post newspapers and the Development Bank of Zambia in relation to the now-defunct Zambian Airways.
     
    Sata appointed Chipoka to ensure that the tribunal proceedings are conducted in an impartial manner.  Kabimba denied that his predecessor, Sebastian Zulu, was fired because of the tribunal.

    “The decision to bring an outsider to head the tribunal was to ensure that we have a tribunal that is going to command the confidence of the Zambian people, because the constitution says that the person to be appointed to head the tribunal must be somebody who qualifies to be a judge, or who has served as a judge, and, therefore, we had to follow the provision of the law.  But, in order to enhance the impartiality of the tribunal, it was decided to [bring in] a judge from outside to become head the tribunal,” Kambimba said.

    Sources said Chipoka is in Zambia, but Kabimba said the tribunal will begin its work once the case, which has been appealed to the Supreme Court, has been decided. He rejected opposition criticism that Sata’s government is trying to kill the opposition by encouraging opposition members to switch sides.

    “If the opposition wants to become a strong opposition in Zambia, they must take a lead from the way the Patriotic Front was built and how it constructed itself in order to get into power, and they may have an opportunity using those historical lessons to get into power themselves,” Kabimba said.
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    Comments
         
    by: James
    September 10, 2012 8:27 AM
    Any claim by Mr. Kabimba about "fighting corruption" can only be taken with a grain of salt. This is not a government that respects independence of the judiciary - and it is highly unusual for a party to appoint their Secretary General to head up such a Ministry. The result will be an increase in politically motivated cases against leaders of the opposition.

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