Zambian Vice President Lupando Mwape is calling for a comprehensive national policy and an effective strategic plan to fight corruption. The measure will provide information that will enable Zambians to partake in programs aimed at corruption reduction. Since gaining independence, the country has not implemented a clear anti-corruption policy. Zambia?s Deputy Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Benny Tetamashimba spoke with English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey about the vice president?s call for a national policy in the country.
?I can tell you that the evil on earth and in Zambia has been corruption. And that is why when president Mwanwasa took over office in January 2002, his desire was to make sure that corruption was at least reduced and then maybe eliminated. And therefore the comprehensive national policy on corruption means that when a child starts from grade one the child will start knowing that corruption is bad. So that every Zambian will even be afraid to talk about trying to bribe another person, so this is what the government is trying to do and I?m very excited that our president has continued to put policies that is going to make sure corruption is erased out of our country.?
Tetamashimba says implementing this policy has been time-consuming and that the president and his administration has only been in office for four years. He says corruption in Zambia has deep roots and that a careful head-on approach is essential to ending the problem. ?You maw wish to know that corruption in this country was from the least office to the highest office in the land. And that is why when president Mwanawasa decided to fight corruption anybody who had immunity in this country, the immunity was removed so that corruption can be eradicated. And you are aware that the second republican president goes to court because of that fight. So having started four years since the government came into power, to me is a good start because Zambia is not going to end in the next one thousand years.?
Tetamashimba reacts to assertions that the government move is a political ploy to galvanize votes in this years elections. ?When you talk of corruption, I can tell you that president Mwanawasa and his government are fighting a very very big battle. Because many people who are fighting him including leaders of the opposition, they actually want to remove president Mwanawasa because they want corruption to continue. And that is why when we brought in the new electoral act which for the first time gave the anti-corruption commission power to arrest a candidate who is involved in corrupt practices during the time of campaign and so on. So in this case I can safely say we in MMD [the ruling party] are the only ones who are fighting corruption and our friends out there are not fighting corruption.?
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