Hakainde Hichilema says Zambians will believe the notion going around that Ronald Chitotela is an agent of President Edgar Lungu’s massive corruption if the Head of State does not remove the arrested Minister from his government.
And Hichilema, the UPND president, has observed that the Head of State’s conduct in the fight against corruption shows that even Chitotela’s arrest was just a public relations gimmick aimed at hoodwinking the international community and citizens into believing that he was committed in tackling the vice.
In a statement, Hichilema insisted that President Lungu should fire Chitotela, arguing that Zambians could not allow a situation where someone facing corruption charges was flying the country’s flag and representing Zambia, both on local and international levels.
“Chitotela must be removed with immediate effect for justice to prevail. Mr Edgar Lungu should immediately remove his Infrastructure Development Minister Ronald Chitotela from government in order to allow for fair prosecution and adjudication of the corruption charges levelled against him. If Mr Lungu does not remove Chitotela, the public will have to believe the view going around that Chitotela cannot be removed because he is an agent of Mr Lungu in the massive corruption going on at that Ministry and elsewhere in government. We state so because Mr Lungu’s defence of those facing corruption charges clearly shows that he, too, is a beneficiary of the same, but he must be stopped by the citizens of Zambia. These resources belong to the citizens of Zambia, they don’t belong to Mr Lungu and the PF! So, Chitotela must go now! That’s what we demand as citizens,” Hichilema demanded.
He insisted that Zambians could not continue being represented by a corruption suspect like Chitotela.
“We cannot allow a situation where someone facing corruption charges is flying the pride of our Zambian flag, representing the country at both local and international levels. Clearly, Mr. Lungu’s conduct shows that the arrest of Chitotela is just a public relations show whose aim is to hoodwink the international community and our citizens. There are several people who have been removed from their positions on mere suspicion of financial embezzlement or other misconduct and are awaiting their cases to be disposed of. We are also aware of grand corruption by senior PF government officials, which is depleting our country’s funds, this, too, must come to an end but if not, all those involved in this corruption syndicate will sooner rather than later be held accountable,” he stated.
And Hichilema encouraged the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and other law enforcement agencies to be relentless in their fight against corruption.
“We would like to appeal to the Anti-Corruption Commission and other agencies to be relentless in their pursuit to protect public property and finances from criminals masquerading as government officials or PF agents and that when in government, we will even empower these bodies to operate independently and safeguard our country’s resources,” pledged Hichilema.