Cross-posted from The Global Sociology Blog.
I have already written about the predatory state in the case of Gabon. But here is an interesting story of what happens when a government fights back and demands retribution for predatory governance by a previous administration. This is what is happening in Zambia (via the BBC ):
“The Zambian government says it has recovered money and assets worth nearly $60m stolen during the rule of former President Frederick Chiluba.
The assets include bank deposits and an upmarket apartment in Belgium.
Information Minister Mike Mulongoti said the assets would be sold and the money used to upgrade hospitals.
Mr Mulongoti said the funds were recovered from former government officials who had served in Mr Chiluba’s administration.
Mr Chiluba is on trial at the Magistrates Court in Lusaka, charged with corruption.
In May last year, the High Court in Britain ruled that Mr Chiluba and four of his aides had conspired to rob Zambia of about $40 million.
The civil action was brought in Britain because the allegedly stolen money passed through bank accounts in London.
UK Judge Peter Smith said Zambians should know that when the former president appeared wearing his trademark designer clothes, they were paid for with public funds.”
And for a country like Zambia, $40 million is a lot of money. But what is certain is that former President Chiluba got away with it because of the relative impunity that rewards heads of state who are good students of the World Bank and IMF policies. During his tenure, President Chiluba contributed to the liberalization of the Zambian economy. Such measures have been disastrous for Zambia. This country was a middle-income country at the time of its independence. It now sits at the bottom of the list of every development indicator. What Zambia has going for it, though, is a relatively stable political situation, if it weren’t for its corruption problem (the fish rots at the top, obviously, and World Bank and IMF lending policies have enriched more than a few corrupt officials in developing countries).
Current president Mwanawasa has made the fight against corruption in general, and especially against the former Chiluba administration a central part of his governance. He has offered Chiluba a presidential pardon if Chiluba acknowledges the looting of the state coffers and returns 75% of the money. So far, without success.
Hmm… let’s see, a president prosecuting a former president and his administration for wrongdoings during his tenure. Sometimes, we should take lessons from other countries.