THE Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) says the conflicting justifications from President Edgar Lungu’s staff and some traditional leaders about the eSwatini land gift are not inspiring confidence in the Presidency.
And JCTR says it is not the donation of land that is seems to be the issue to most people but the capacity in which the President received it.
The centre said the President Lungu committed an offence under the Anti-Corruption Act for received the donation in his capacity as the Head of State.
The centre has therefore urge the President to demonstrate leadership in this regard by
coming out to address the nation on this issue to assure the nation that the government is still committed to achieving zero tolerance against corruption.
It is observed that the reported allegations of corruption involved in this land transaction including the alleged involvement of Inyatsi Construction Ltd are very serious to be left to the rebuttal of traditional leaders and a few civil servants.
A JUST ZAMBIAN SOCIETY GUIDED BY FAITH, WHERE EVERYONE ENJOYS FULLNESS OF LIFE”
JESUIT CENTRE FOR THEOLOGICAL REFLECTION
Is the Gift of Land to the Republican President a Moral or Legal Issue?
A lot has been said about the gift of land to the President by King Mswati of the Kingdom of eSwatini. It is not the donation of land that is seems to be the issue to most people but the capacity in which the donee has
received the donation. The relevant provision in consideration is Section 21(1)(b) of the Anti-Corruption Act
which states that a public officer (whether the public officer in this context includes the President is subject to interpretation) commits an offence of abuse of authority of office if the public officers uses one’s position, office or authority or any information that the public officer obtains as a result of, or in the course of, the performance of that public officer’s functions to obtain property, profit, an advantage or benefit, directly or
indirectly, for oneself or another person (paraphrased).
Pursuant to this provision it has been argued that the gift of the land to the Republican President is a legal issue. In this respect, it has been argued that the President received the donation of land from Swaziland in his capacity as the Head of State. This means that an offence under the Anti-Corruption Act has been committed. It must be pointed out that legality and morality are not mutually exclusive. Corruption is morally
wrong. At the same time, it is a crime.
Corruption is recognized as an issue of serious political, economic and moral significance representing a cost for growth and development. In a country like Zambia where we take seriously the fight against corruption, the fight against corruption is lost the moment that our Leaders’ actions or decisions become suspect of infringing some anti-corruption laws. This is because in a crusade against corruption, the country needs leadership that spearheads the fight not only by words but also by example. Any indication of wavering in
the zeal or passion on the part of the President in the battle to rid the country of this vice can have devastating consequences. This is because in our efforts to fight the cancer of corruption, the nation looks up to the President for examples and inspiration.
The government of Zambia has declared zero tolerance against corruption. Therefore, the President must not allow his actions to erode the public confidence and trust amongst Zambians in his leadership towards this goal. The failure of leadership in this crusade will give negative signals and trigger a race to the bottom which will have serious consequences on the development of our nation. Our concern is that it is the poor men and
women and the vulnerable members of our society who are going to bear the brunt of any reversals in the fight against corruption in Zambia. We therefore urge the President to demonstrate leadership in this regard by coming out to address the nation on this issue to assure the nation that the government is still committed to achieving zero tolerance against corruption.
The conflicting justifications the nation is getting from the President’s staff and some traditional leaders are not inspiring confidence in the Presidency. The reported allegations of corruption involved in this land transaction including the alleged involvement of Inyatsi Construction Ltd are very serious to be left to the rebuttal of traditional leaders and a few civil servants some of whom are probably not even familiar with the
JCTR is further asking the Anti-Corruption commission to redeem itself on this matter by
instituting thorough investigation in the allegation and clarify whether the President breached any provisions
of the Anti-Corruption Act.