The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is challenging the Government Joint Investigations Team (GJIT) to extend the probe on sources of campaign funds to all registered political parties in Zambia including the funds used by the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), UPND, NAREP, UNIP, FDD, Heritage Party and ADD amongst others. While Zambia has a good deal to celebrate in terms of keeping pace with political transition to multiparty electoral democracy, citizens must demand more careful scrutiny of sources of funds being used by both the ruling and opposition political parties to finance their campaigns.
YALI will take keen interest to understand how the Zambian Courts will interpret provisions of Article 33(2) and Article 43(2) on the extent executive decisions the President can make and protective provision for “any act done or omitted to be done during his tenure of that office or, as the case may be, during his performance of the functions of that office.” We reiterate our call to the PF to consider supporting our earlier call for a new Constitution of Zambia that will clearly for loss of immunity by any President once voted out of power. YALI is aware that former Presidents and ruling parties resisted such a clause but eventually time always caught up with former Presidents.
Young leaders are appalled to learn about the billions of funds Mr. Banda and the MMD spent during the last tripartite elections and we demand the GJIT extend this probe on sources of campaign funds to all political parties so we can begin to weed out dirt money from politics. This will also provide the nation with insight on sources of campaign funds and the overall expenditure Zambian politicians spend on elections. We demand therefore that the ruling PF and opposition political parties make full public disclosure of how much funds they used on political campaigns and disclose sources of that funding. YALI is hopeful that the State will exercise financial prudence when bringing in witnesses from Singapore, Nigeria, Mauritius, UK and Dubai, especially that that the previous prosecution of former President Chiluba only served to benefit a few people under the MMD regime at the expense of delivering development, quality healthcare and education to our people
In view of colossal amounts the Minister of Justice alleged the Mr. Rupiah Banda and the MMD spent in 2011 elections, YALI calls upon the Ministry of Justice and stakeholders in the electoral process to come up with long term solutions that prevent excessive spending by electoral candidates, especially the sitting Head of State.
If the PF government is committed to fighting corruption and stopping political parties from using ‘dirt’ money in our electoral processes, they must not only disclose how much the MMD and PF spent on elections since 1991 and 2001 respectively but must also enact campaign finance laws that will provide for funding of political activities. Even as we welcome the move to ask Mr. Banda and the MMD account for campaign funds they used, we implore law enforcement agencies and future governments to use same standards in ensuring former leaders and political parties account for source of campaign funds during their reign.
YALI believes addressing the issue of funding for political activities is key for ensuring good governance and combating corruption. YALI believes the time is ripe for the PF Government to come up with legislation that will enforce transparency across all political parties and establishment of effective monitoring bodies of campaign funds than use laws not meant to address political funding to deal with former Head of State and political parties that fall from grace among voters.
democracy & Governance specialist
YOUNG AFRICAN LEADERS INITIATIVE