“HISTORY, even if it is the sum total of things could have been avoided must be told…by both lions and hunters…”former German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer once said. His ingenious thoughts were as alive then as they are in modern day Zambia.
Zambia is the only country in the region and Africa as a whole that has had two of its former Presidents dragged to courts on allegations of corruption.
Second republican President Frederick Chiluba and Rupiah Banda, the fourth President of the country ended up in the courts of law under a campaign of fighting corruption. This process has seen the country lose more money than the cause for arresting and prosecuting the two former leaders.
Hakainde Hichilema, the leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND) says he would not embark on a political trajectory of hunting down former leaders should he be given the rare privilege of governing the country…courtesy of the Zambians.
Mr Hichilema promulgates that successive governments should instead give a peaceful and respectful passage to former leaders as his desire is to see the economic turnaround of the country.
Zambia’s democratic credentials are admirable in the world but is the only country that has had two of its former Presidents lose their immunity from prosecution and dragged to court on allegations of corruption.
Dr Chiluba became a subject of the court soon after leaving office. He was acquitted of all his corruption charges but only after suffering the worst form of ridicule from his adversaries.
Former President Banda had his immunity from prosecution removed in one of the most politically obnoxious charges which never saw the records of the court books but was instead prosecuted on cases for which his immunity was not stripped of.
And when Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba declared that President Edgar Lungu would lose his immunity from prosecution should the UPND form government after the August general elections, it was nothing but the old culture of vengeance, vindictiveness and retribution rather than the fight against corruption.
In Zambia, the fight against corruption has been used to settle political scores and a clique of individuals have built financial empires through persecution of former leaders and would certainly want to continue with the culture because it has been to their financial benefits.
Mr Hichilema could be sensitive to the vagaries of such a culture. It is hoped that he is being sincere and genuine about his desire to end a culture of political retribution because it has not helped Zambia’s economic advancement but rather created divisions.
It is not the first time that Mr Hichilema has pledged to end the culture of political retribution and Zambia must move away from hunting down former leaders under the guise of fighting corruption because it is a fact that the country had lost money and time in pursuing its economic expansion programmes.
Experiences are the seeds out of which wisdom grows and having unsuccessfully prosecuted two former presidents, our politicians should have the wisdom of the futility of the vice of hatred, vengeance and retribution.