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Zambia’s rotten state of governance ‘laid bare’

Transparency International report cites ‘culture of impunity and lack of political will’ as brakes on national integrity system until ‘New Deal’ declared war on corruption

The rotten state of Zambia's system of governance has been laid bare in a report published globally today by Transparency International (TI), the global non-governmental organisation engaged in the fight against corruption.

The National Integrity Systems TI Country Study Report - Zambia 2003 analyses the strengths and weaknesses in Zambia's governance system, including the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, and makes damning reading. It provides a devastating analysis of how a government can loot its Treasury, corrupt key agencies, distort privatisation and banking processes, and use the resources of the state to fund its dominance of the election process and pay for its retention of power.

According to the report's author, Dr Alfred Chanda, Chairman of TI's national chapter, TI-Zambia, "throughout the past decade there has been an absence of political will to fight corruption. A culture of impunity has developed and corruption has permeated government structures from the Presidency down to the lowest-ranking public service workers". Since then, the Chief Justice has been forced from office after being shown to have taken bribes from President Frederick Chiluba through the Zambian Intelligence Service from 1998 to 2001. After the report was finalised, the former President was arrested and charged with corruption.

The report observes that the anti-corruption commission is both under-resourced and under-skilled, Members of Parliament lack the capacity to discharge their functions effectively, and the offices of Auditor General and Ombudsman are effectively moribund. This is attributed to a policy of deliberate under-funding and failure to punish those exposed as being corrupt. In particular, the report calls for improvements to the legal infrastructure, including protection of whistleblowers, monitoring mechanisms for gifts to Ministers and public officials, strengthening of conflict of interest rules, and an enforceable code of conduct for public officials.

The report concludes that there are grounds for hope. "The installation of the 'New Deal' Administration (under President Levy Manawasa) has breathed new life into the anti-corruption fight. Its emphasis on good governance, the rule of law and zero tolerance of corruption has provided the necessary will to galvanise the anti-corruption institutions," observes Dr Chanda.

The report identifies the causes and consequences of corruption, points up the priorities for reform for both the government and donors, and holds a mirror up to the new government to show it what must be dome and a measure against which its progress can be judged.

Commenting on the report, Jeremy Pope, Executive Director of the TI Centre for Innovation and Research, described it as "a comprehensive analysis of the challenges Zambia now faces, presenting the government and the international community with a clear programme for action".

"The development agencies delighted in Zambia's transition from one-party rule to multi-partyism in 1991," continued Pope. "Unfortunately, the attention span of the development agencies is all too short. Most simply declared Zambia to be a 'democracy' and went their own ways, leaving Zambia to flounder and its systems of governance effectively to collapse. The lesson is plain: democratic institutions are not built overnight, nor are they secured by a single free and fair election. If we are to be serious in our endeavours, we must stay in for the long haul. Fortunately, the report now provides a road map for development agencies and activists within the country, and it is the hope of all of us that the challenge it presents will be taken up."

The report was prepared by Dr Alfred Chanda under the auspices of a programme developed by the TI Centre for Innovation and Research and managed by Professor Alan Doig and Stephanie McIvor of the Teesside Business School. It is the latest in a series of TI country study reports on national integrity systems. Those for Argentina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Fiji, Ghana, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Netherlands, Senegal, Republic of Korea, Trinidad and Tobago were published in 2001.

The UK Government's Department for International Development has funded TI to continue the work in the following countries: Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Dominica Gambia, Grenada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & Grenadines, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, United Kingdom, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The National Integrity Systems TI Country Study Report - Zambia 2003 and the other country study reports can be downloaded at: http://www.transparency.org/

Note for Editors:

The concept of the National Integrity System (the system of governance by which a society defends its values) was first developed by TI in 1994. This holistic approach to containing corruption embraces the various arms of government and includes the private sector, civil society and the trade unions, and has been widely adopted by development agencies and anti-corruption strategists. It builds on reform efforts undertaken by the Australian Federal Government in the state of Queensland (see TI Source Book 2000 - Confronting Corruption: the Elements of a National Integrity System by Jeremy Pope, http://www.transparency.org/).


For any press enquiries please contact

Lusaka:
Dr Alfred Chanda, TI Zambia
Tel: +260 1 290 080/260 1 238 347
Fax: +260 1 293 649
Email: tizambia@zamnet.zm
www.tizambia.org.zm

Berlin:
Head of Public Relations
Jeff Lovitt
Tel: +49-30-3438 2045
Fax: +49-30-3470 3912
Email: press@transparency.org