Chiluba’s ‘Acquittal’ is Theft within Theft

Published on 7th December 2009

Reports that Zambia spent $ 13.000,000 on the trial of its former president Fredrick Chiluba who is accused of embezzling $500,000 of public funds, is disgusting. Speaking at a rally, President Banda said the money would have been far better spent on schools, medicines and hospitals.


If he knew this, what barred him from doing the right thing instead of coming with these homilies as he sheds crocodile tears? Did the president disclose this to awe other countries from charging their former corrupt rulers implicated in many scandals involving millions of dollars from public coffers? Is he doing this knowingly after retiring he’ll be facing the same? Isn’t this theft within theft?


You spend $ 13,000,000 to try the case involving $ 500,000 theft? Isn’t this selling the cow for the expenses of trying the case involving chicken theft? Isn’t this the sign of downright incompetence, bad governance and negligence not to mention corruption within corruption? Isn’t this milking pauper drier and drier?


Did the authorities in Zambia try Chiluba pretending to dispense justice whilst they actually aimed at hoodwinking the world? Why isn’t Zambia’s government interested in $ 40,000,000 the London based court says Chiluba using UK-based accounts defrauded Zambia?


Many thought that Chiluba’s trial would set a precedent for other countries to follow. But sadly it didn’t. If it did it set a very bad precedent of whitewashing, duplicity and complicity. We thought that when the hunters become the hunted, the hunting game is no more. But as things turned to be, we still need to hunt. Justice in Zambia is still largely still at large.


Africa has had such misfortune.  Every so often light climbs up, darkness too, comes in. In the neighbouring Malawi, authorities tried to pin down its corrupt former president. But as I am writing, the case has been dragging feet ever since and nobody can tell exactly what will come out of it. In neighbouring Tanzania, despite watertight evidence against the former president, the current one, knowingly how dirty mud his name is, does not like anybody to point finger at his predecessor.


Is what happened in Zambia the gap the death of Levy Mwanawasa created? Where is the lion we thought took over after another passed away? This way, we need to lend words from French philosopher, Voltaire: “…I would rather be led by a lion than by a hundred rats.” You know what?  Rats are renowned for eating everything they come across. A rat does not bother to die of just a piece of ground nut.


What’s more, for Banda to consent to this theft he toes the line of many a Chiluba. He has created Finnegan after a mulligan. For Chiluba always denied whilst Banda speaks proudly as if this is fair and acceptable before poor Zambians. If anything this subjects Banda’s poor judgement-cum-bunkum to suspicion and pillory.


Everybody is experiencing a how-can-Banda-mess-like-this shock. And this defeats the good record of his mentor- cum-predecessor, the late Levy Mwanawasa whose acts were exemplary and noble. Will Zambians goof and allow themselves to be taken for a ride by consenting to this open theft within theft?

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