Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Corruption is real in Zambia - Saudubray

Corruption is real in Zambia - Saudubray
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Monday July 16, 2007 [04:00]

CORRUPTION is real in Zambia and the country should not relent in fighting it, outgoing French ambassador to Zambia Francis Saudubray has said. And ambassador Saudubray said his dream is for Zambia to implement the decentralisation policy.

During the French National Day which fell on Saturday, ambassador Saudubray said like in most countries in the world, corruption was real in Zambia. He said Zambians should be courageous, ambitious and have independent legal systems to fight corruption. He hoped that the country would not relent in fighting the scourge.

“It is not because a former president has been condemned, in a civil case by a British court, that everything has been solved. Corruption is real in Zambia, like in most countries in the world. It eats up public funds, ruins investment opportunities and compromises development,” he said.

Ambassador Saudubray said he dreamt of a decentralised Zambia.
“Who in Lusaka can claim to know what is good in Isoka, Sesheke or Zambezi districts? Only local citizens and their elected counsellors must decide on the construction of a school, a clinic, a bridge or a borehole,” he said.

He said he dreamt of a Zambia that would finally have respect for its environment.
Ambassador Saudubray said there was nothing more saddening than seeing forests decimated through charcoal burning or empty national parks because the wildlife had been ruined through poaching.

“There is nothing more saddening than seeing both the old and young throwing rubbish on the road through the windows of their cars or bus,” he said.

He said there was need to encourage the use of new domestic fuels and ban charcoal.
Ambassador Saudubray said there was need to fight poaching by offering real alternatives to the poor who go through the wilderness in search of preys by meting out stiffer punishment to those who earn a living by or promote the trafficking, those who trade in game meat, ivory or poached trophies.

He hoped those making considerate profits especially in the mining sector would be brought to pay tax.

“It is not fair to take advantage of a past agreement made with the Zambian government several years ago when the conditions for the mining development no longer have anything to do with what they were then. For instance, when copper is being sold at US $7,000 a metric tonne whereas it was worth US $2,000 five years ago,” he said.
And Ambassador Saudubray said he and his wife Virginie had criss-crossed the country and didn’t feel like they lost time in Zambia.

“I have criss-crossed your country from north to the south and from the east to the west. I have admired the Zambezi plains in Mongu or Lukulu, I have gone through the ‘black forest’ or national parks such as Kafue, Lower Zambezi or North Luangwa National Parks, I have taken water from the great Zambezi River at its very spring, north of Mwinilunga, I have refreshed my face with the mist from the Kabwelume or Kundaila Falls,” he said.

“I have swum in the crystal waters of Lake Tanganyika or marveled in front of those of Lake Bangweulu, I have admired the rock paintings in Kasama or Tonga potteries in Sinazongwe. I have exchanged views with government officials and poor fishermen at Lake Mweru. I have visited the mines on the Copperbelt and Sugarcane plantations in Mazabuka. I have participated in Likumbi Lyamize, Kuomboka, Kazanga, Ncwala exceptional ceremonies,” he said.

Ambassador Saudubray said he had kept a feeling of a harmonious country with a lot of potential that deserved more than what it had at the moment.
He hoped Zambia, through dialogue and negotiations, would reach a system of government convenient for her.

He said it was not for him to say whether it was by law or through the reform of the Constitution that would solve the issue.
Ambassador Saudubray said Zambia shoud be proud of its culture and traditions and model of government.

“How many African countries can claim to have never been at war, to be in harmony inside and outside of their borders, to play a role in promoting peace and stability? Zambian diplomacy has to capitalise on these benefits on these values, on these assets. The beneficial and peaceful role that your country plays on Africa scene must be more known, heard and recognised,” said ambassador Saudubray.

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