By Venus N Msyani
President Hakainde Hichilema may leave office more affluent than expected if people choose to remain quiet during his presidency.
Being in the highest position, it is acceptable for a president to leave office richer than he came. The problem is the abnormal increase in one’s wealth during the presidency, which is the case with some Zambian presidents.
It can be prevented and it starts with standing up for accountability with the sitting president’s finances. Thumbs up to people demanding President Hakainde publicly declare his assets and liabilities.
For the first time in Zambian history, people have heard a sitting president being asked whether he has relinquished interests in his businesses or not.
Some people have concluded that President Hakainde Hichilema is being singled out. It is not true. Asking such a question is part of standing up for accountability with the president’s finances or wealth.
We never heard journalists asking former presidents whether they have relinquished interests in their businesses or not because none of them had business as highlighted on their CVs. In other words, none of them was a businessman.
The highlight on former president Edgar Lungu CV is lawyer, the late Michael Sata and Rupiah Banda politician, and the late President Mwanawasa’s CV highlight lawyer.
Go on and do research on late President Fredrick Chiluba and Kenneth Kaunda. Will notice both were not businessmen.
Hichilema is the only Zambian president whose CV highlight is business. He is not just a businessman but a very successful businessman who has revealed that he maintains interests in his businesses.
If not checked, President Hichilema will leave office richer than expected. Not only richer but the richest in the region. His waged war against the rich (clique of thieves as he calls them) explains everything. Hichilema is the only person freely making money in the country now. The clique of thieves is scared as is a target for Hichilema’s fight against corruption.
On Friday, September 9th during the official opening of the Second Session of the Thirteenth National Assembly in Lusaka, Hichilema announced that going forward, people will see a different approach to the fight against corruption.
“We promised to fight corruption and we are fighting corruption. You will see what happens going forward.” President Hichilema said.
Ironically Hichilema is saying get ready for a more selective fight against corruption. Unless he publicly declares his assets and liabilities, he cannot fairly fight corruption. He maintains interests in his businesses. Hichilema needs to explain how he is dealing with conflicts of interest.
Sad to conclude that corruption is fighting corruption in Zambia. As we speak Hichilema is getting richer. Like his predecessor, he may leave office more affluent than expected if we choose to remain quiet.
To fight a sincere fight against corruption, Hichilema must publicly declare his assets and liabilities. Together we must continue to demand.