HH appointees should refrain from seeking additional compensation – Sikaile
By Thomas Ngala(The Mast)
WHILE acknowledging the importance of compensating victims of political brutality, we must also scrutinise the methodologies employed in combating corruption to ensure long-term sustainability and efficacy, says Sikaile Sikaile.
He says it is crucial for individuals appointed by President Hakainde Hichilema to exhibit restraint and refrain from seeking additional compensation.
In a statement, Sikaile, a good governance and human rights activist, said the commendable decision to freeze compensation in the aftermath of political brutality should not eclipse the urgent need for a robust and transparent anti-corruption strategy.
“In navigating the intricate landscape of compensation and the fight against corruption, it is imperative to champion a comprehensive and transparent approach that upholds the tenets of good governance. Although the current approach is well-intentioned, it lacks the necessary transparency leaving citizens uninformed about the restitution process for stolen public resources,” he said. “To fortify the fight against corruption, we advocate the introduction of more transparent mechanisms, including televised court proceedings for corruption cases. This not only serves as a potent tool for accountability but also ensures that citizens are well-informed about the identities of individuals responsible for financial malfeasance thereby reinforcing our commitment to rooting out corruption within the legal framework.”
Sikaile stressed that it was crucial for individuals appointed by President Hakainde Hichilema to exhibit restraint and refrain from seeking additional compensation.
He said while appointments themselves serve as a form of indirect compensation, those in government positions must consider the broader impact on public perception and prioritise the greater good.
Sikaile said the approach he suggested not only demonstrates leadership but also safeguards the President’s image and mitigating any perception of opportunism.
“Illustrating this need for responsible leadership, we draw attention to the case of Minister [of Transport and Logistics Frank] Tayali. While acknowledging the legitimate grievances stemming from political brutality under the PF administration, it is disconcerting to witness figures like Minister Tayali actively pursuing additional compensation. Having received a governmental appointment, Minister Tayali has already been indirectly compensated through the trust bestowed upon him by the President. The rush for further compensation raises questions about the necessity of such claims and the optics surrounding those in positions of authority,” he said. “This situation underscores the critical importance of leadership and moral responsibility. Minister Tayali, as a public figure, holds a significant role in championing the cause of underprivileged families who endured similar injustices. Individuals in positions of influence must consider the broader societal impact and exhibit empathy, refraining from excessive claims that may be perceived as self-serving.”
He said while Tayali may have a legitimate case for compensation, it is imperative for public officials to weigh their personal interests against the greater good.
Sikaile said the allocation of compensation should prioritise those who suffered morally and economically, especially families who lost loved ones during the oppressive PF administration.
“In urging Minister Tayali and others in similar positions to exercise prudence and restraint, we emphasise the need for leaders to set an example and prioritise the well-being of the wider community. This approach contributes not only to the preservation of public trust but also aligns with the principles of fairness and justice,” he said.
And Sikaile said the current stance by Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) director general Nason Banda suggesting that returning properties is a sufficient remedy without accompanying legal consequences, undermines the gravity of the losses suffered by the nation.
“Additionally, we express deep concern over the assertion that individuals are making restitution behind closed doors without transparent information on whether these funds include accrued interest or an estimation of the potential profits lost by the government. As concerned citizens, we demand a comprehensive understanding of the magnitude of losses incurred by the nation due to corruption, fostering a sense of accountability and transparency,” he said.
Sikaile urged the government to reconsider its approach to fighting corruption.
“This underscores the urgency for legislation mandating not only the return of ill-gotten gains but also legal repercussions for those found guilty of corruption. Such legislation would reinforce the deterrence effect and ensure justice is not only served but seen to be served,” said Sikaile. “… we emphasise the need for more comprehensive measures that include public scrutiny, legal consequences, and the recovery of stolen assets with accrued interest. This proactive stance will not only bolster public confidence but also serve as a potent deterrent to potential offenders, marking a resolute commitment to upholding justice, fairness, and good governance.”- The Mast