There is no substitute for integrity that is why we entirely agree with President Edgar Lungu’s crusade of zero tolerance to corruption.
It has been said, and we fully agree that, integrity is the corner stone of good governance without which there can be no level playing field thus creating and ordaining corruption in the public sector. Once corruption has been allowed to settle in Governance, trust will be eroded and with it will go confidence which is another cornerstone of good government.
Government must always be predictable by exhibiting values, principles and norms that ensure equity, justice and fairplay across the board. Power should be used for the intended purposes and not to penalize or favour any particular individual or group of individuals.
Taxes, for example, must be paid by all. Those who evade them must suffer the consequences regardless of their proximity to corridors of power.
It is our sincere hope that the next five years will see an enhanced level of transparency in Government to eliminate any level of corruption and departure from acceptable conduct of Government business.
Zero tolerance to corruption means that governance and oversight institutions should set the standard and lead the way in ensuring that any semblance of graft will be eradicated without fear or favour.
For a start we undertake to hold the anti-corruption commission (ACC) to the highest level of performance. We expect them not to shy away from the blatant impunity exhibited by our traffic officers mount road blocks to extort money from motorists.
This has been done in Kenya and Uganda and there is no reason it cannot be done in Zambia.
If such open and blatant corruption can be allowed on our roads what guarantee is there that more insidious forms of corruption will be dealt with.
It also means that all public institutions which interface with the public directly should establish publicly declared benchmarks against which they will be evaluated. Every activity must be given a time frame within which it should be performed. Therefore a specific time frame must be given for the issuance of a passport, registration card or indeed any public document.
It should not be for applicants to oil hands in order to get the requisite documents but rather a pride for the department to rise to a level of performance where there is predictability.
We expect that the Ministry of Lands will create benchmarks which will be adhered to in relation to issuance of such documents as title deeds.
On our part we intend to rise to the demand for accountability. We believe that good governance is accountable, transparent and open to interrogation. Therefore we will not hesitate to probe, investigate and expose any departures from the norm.
The President has made the clarion call for transparency and integrity and it is our duty like any citizen or institution to contribute towards the creation of a nation that will excel.
There is nothing special about Zambia demanding accountability. A developed country, Canada has the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner to ensure that public officers keep to the narrow. It will not happen on its own, it will only happen when sufficient motivation is provided.