Former President, Edgar Lungu, has accused President Hakainde Hichilema of playing double standards in the fight against corruption in the country.
Lungu described the fight as a smokescreen to persecute Hichilema’s perceived opponents and enemies while shielding his offending allies from facing the law.
The former Head of State said this in a statement issued in Lusaka on Wednesday in reaction to the resignation of former Foriegn Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Stanley Kakubo, amidst corruption accusations.
He stated that this should be condemned because the real fight against corruption had no eyes, that it did not choose depending on one’s proximity, or the lack of it, to the corridors of power.
“I am compelled to comment on Hichilema’s continued shielding of his ministers and other senior government officials from corruption allegations while at the same time proclaiming that there will be no sacred cows in his fight against corruption,” Lungu said.
He noted that serious allegations of corruption had been revealed against Kakubo whom he merely thanked for resigning his position after the allegations were made public.
“Last year in April when Kakubo was first accused of corruption, Hichilema – and not the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)-was the one who declared him innocent,” the former president stated.
Lungu said Zambians should question and denounce the continued double standards by Hichilema in the fight against corruption.
He noted that for Hichilema, all former government officials and other opposition leaders were guilty until proven innocent while his ministers and other government officials were innocent until proven guilty.
“What message is Hichilema sending to the Law Enforcement Agencies when he is the first one to defend his ministers accused of corruption?” Lungu questioned.
He stated that Kakubo’s conduct, in his latest accusation, definitely raised more questions than answers.
Lungu said instead of commenting on the allegations, or at least inviting the Law Enforcement Agencies to take interest in the matter, Hichilema only heaped praises on Kakubo as a diligent government worker and leader who should continue working hard in his new role as a backbencher.
“How can a worker and leader who is always accused of corruption be described as diligent?” he asked
Lungu emphasized that he was not implying that Kakubo wass guilty but simply saying that if there were no sacred cows in Hichilema’s fight against corruption, Kakubo should be investigated.
He said if need be, Kakubo should be prosecuted and declared innocent or guilty by the due process of the law, not by Hichilema.
“The first time Kakubo was accused of receiving huge bribes in envelopes from some Chinese businessmen and Hichilema was under pressure from the public to fire Kakubo,” Lungu noted.
He stated that Hichilema’s response was that he had asked Kakubo for an explanation and that he had explained that he only received a calender and not money.
Lungu said Hichilema publicly exonerated Kakubo, but set the ACC on former Ministers namely Bowman Lusambo and Ronald Chitotela.
He added that the former Ministers were declared guilty of being in possession of property believed to have been obtained through proceeds of crime.
“These are the double standards I am talking about. For Hichilema, all the former leaders are thieves who should be punished by the law,” the former Head of State said.
Lungu noted that Hichilema had even directed the courts of law to try such leaders within five months so they can quickly be sent to prison.
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