THEY’RE LOOTING BIG TIME…right now it’s free for all, charges Kalaba

Harry Kalaba believes “right now it’s free for all” to engage in corruption among senior government officials because “the only time that the President fights corruption is where he is reading a speech written for him on corruption.”

Kalaba, a 2021 presidential contender, charged that: “these people that we have are here to loot and they are looting big time.”

The former foreign affairs minister, who featured on Question Time programme on KNC TV in Kabwe on Sunday, lamented that Zambia was not attaining worthwhile development.

“We keep on getting retarded in our development and that is not right,” Kalaba said.

On some senior government officials’ assertions that the country’s economy was being badly affected by selected opposition politicians’ negativity, Kalaba responded that what was weakening the economy “is a failed leadership. Period!”

“What is making the country not to tick is a leadership…. Where I come from, they say mukolwe amina akamulingile (a rooster swallows what it can manage). Someone knows [that in] this position I can’t do well, I can’t fit. But simply because he wants to make money out of it, he wants to propagate his own agenda out of that portfolio, they want to stick to those portfolios. We should learn to resist certain things, ukukana (refusing). What is wrong with just saying ‘the economy is not doing right, please, I have surrendered? Help me run this economy,” Kalaba said.

He said amid entrenched poverty among majority Zambians, national leaders seemed to be more interested to construct the Lusaka – Ndola carriageway.

Earlier this year, President Edgar Lungu launched the construction of the 321-kilometre Lusaka – Ndola carriageway that would cost a confounding US$1.2 billion.

In August this year, China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Cooperation, the main contractor for the project, pledged to execute works of high quality and consequently deliver “a world class standard road” to Zambians.

“[When] people complain, ati ‘we have reduced; it will be US$1.1 billion’ and when people complain further, [they say] we will go for US$900 million. Now I hear it has reached US$780 million [and] maybe when we push, it will come to US$400 million. So, it tells you that these people that we have are here to loot and they are looting big time,” Kalaba noted.

Reminded about the many assurances from the presidency that it was committed to fighting corruption, Kalaba said a realistic fight against graft would result into normalcy in governance.

“The only time that the President fights corruption is where he is reading a speech written for him on corruption! If we are fighting corruption, where is the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) report? Mary Tshuma (FIC director general) had clearly said we had lost close to about seven per cent of our budget; money was being misappropriated, there were outright thefts that were going on and up to now we have not heard any story,” he said.

“So, don’t tell me that people are serious with fighting corruption. If there was a serious fight of corruption in this country, we would have seen normalcy in the way things are done. [But] right now it’s free for all! You will find that this minister is busy tendering for that project, that director is busy doing that project. When I become a President, that will be a thing of the past! There would be zero-tolerance to corruption.”

And Kalaba reiterated that Zambia deserved serious, visionary leadership.

“We have leaders that respect money so much. [But] among my 10 priorities in life, money doesn’t even appear. The people of Kabwe have been lied to and I’m telling them that it is important for them to stand up and say ‘we have seen enough jokes,” he said.

“You ‘launch’ that Mulungushi Textiles there [but] no individual has been employed, no single trousers has been manufactured there because there has been politics going on. So, I’m saying please spare the people of Kabwe. Right now there is nobody talking for Kabwe and Central Province.”

Kalaba asked what had changed in Kabwe ever since “these people calling themselves leaders” assumed power.

“Nothing! What has only changed are their [leaders] bank accounts [and] the taste of the wines that they are now taking….” he charged.

“The situation is very bad! I realise that things are bad because people are failing to make ends meet. Ask a taxi driver today in Kabwe if in his own home he can afford to have three meals in a day.”

Kalaba also observed that the civil service in the country was currently fraught with frustrated personnel and politically inclined ones.

Earlier in the day, Kalaba congregated at Christian Peace Centre Ministries where he pledged K5,000 towards building of the Church.

The Democratic Party (DP) – the party that has invited him to be its 2021 presidential candidate – also pledged a K1,500 for the same purpose.

“I will be part of the finishing of this Church. It’s difficult to lead the country without the hand of God,” said Kalaba.

Source: The Mast

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