Opinion

RIGHT MOVE

GOVERNMENT should be commended over the swift manner in which it has handled the case involving the 19 councillors from the Kitwe and Lusaka city councils implicated in illegal land deals.
Just as the government had warned, that the alleged culprits would face the wrath of the law, the public could ease a sigh of collective relief that the people implicated would have to defend themselves.
The issue has been handed over to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for further investigations.
Local Government Permanent Secretary, Ed Chomba, said in an interview on Monday that the matter had been handed over to the ACC.
“I can confirm that the case was handed over to the Anti- Corruption Commission and we are waiting for them to complete investigations so that we can pick it up from there,” Dr Chomba said.
Indeed, the public are keen to see how far the case will go.
The 19 councillors – 12 from Kitwe and seven from Lusaka – who have been handed over to the ACC were identified as having been involved in illegal allocation of land after investigations by an adhoc committee set up by the Minister of Local Government Dr Charles Banda.
Dr Banda, disclosed that investigations by ad hoc committees had revealed obvious illegalities in the allocation of land by some councilllors.
The adhocl committees were set up after the minister suspended the Kitwe and Lusaka city councils for 90 days in July to allow for investigations into illegal land deals.
These two councils as the government once said went overboard in which illegal allocation of land was rife. In fact, some cases are pending in the courts of law.
The ACC should therefore not disappoint the public but ensure that it investigations are thorough.
We realise though that the councillors who have been implicated are innocent until they have been convicted in a court of law.
What the nation expects however is that the outcome might lead to sanity returning to councils throughout the country in the manner they administer land.
Local authorities, particularly councillors, have been found wanting and often associated with illegal allocation of plots.
This has led to cities and towns losing their beauty through the construction of illegal structures.
In residential areas, open spaces that were left as play parks have disappeared as greedy developers helped by some councillors have grabbed the plots and build houses on them.
On Monday, Dr Chomba warned that Government would not allow illegalities in land allocation and any officers found wanting would be dealt with accordingly.
By reporting the 19 councillors to the ACC, Government is showing that the fight against corruption is not just mere rhetoric, but a serious undertaking to make public servants accountable for their actions.
The end result will be that people will have confidence in the local government system as opposed to now when all councillors, including workers are regarded as being corrupt.

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