Vice-President Inonge Wina yesterday told the House that President Edgar Lungu’s statement that “I am ready for violence” was taken out of context.
And Vice-President Wina says President Lungu could not be part of her meeting with church mother bodies because he was extremely busy at the time.
Last week, the Head of State ordered police to man the premises where he met with Copperbelt Patriotic Front officials to iron out differences saying he was ready for violence.
“Nali umfwa ati mwalikata ubwafya na mayor, mwali kwata ubwafya na minister, Chishimba Kambwili alikwata ubwafya, Mwenya Musenge alikwata ubwafya, mukesa njeba ku Lusaka bonse. Tuleya ku meeting muye mulande ifishinka. Bakapokola mu palame mupepi in case it becomes violent because I am ready for violence myself (I have heard that you have a problem with the mayor and the minister. Chishimba Kambwili has an issue, Mwenya Musenge has an issue, you will come and tell me all this in Lusaka. Let us go to the meeting you tell me the truth. Police be on close by in case it becomes violent because I am ready for violence myself),” President Lungu said.
But responding to Kabompo UPND Member of Parliament Ambrose Lufuma, who wanted to know in what context the word was used, during Vice-President’s question time, Wina accused him of making false insinuations.
“Mr Speaker I am surprised at the fact that the honorable member of parliament has been in the House for almost a week or so rather for the past three weeks but has not uttered a word until now. And the Honorable member has made a catalog of issues that are not factual, that are baseless, that do not reflect the state of affairs in Zambia today. We know very well that His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu was meeting his party officials in Ndola. The reference to the word violence was perhaps said in a very different context than what the Honorable Member of Parliament is insinuating,” Wina said.
Wina also said there was no breakdown of the rule of law in Zambia.
“On the issues that the honorable member of parliament is referring to lack of adherence to the rule of law and lack of tolerance of political views, lack of freedom of freedom of expression and association by the opposition, I am sure the honorable member of parliament knows very well that there is no such thing in Zambia. The opposition political parties in Zambia are allowed to hold meetings, to associate, to express themselves anywhere in this country. The member of parliament does not only enjoy immunity in the House but he can say anything outside this honorable House. So I don’t know where this feeling, this idea is coming from being a representative for a party whose members are not in the House. Perhaps that is why he is carrying the message from a list of the members who should have been here,” Wina said.
And responding to another question from Chipili Independent member of parliament Jewis Chabi who wanted to know why the three church mother bodies were denied an opportunity to meet President Lungu after several attempts to set an appointment, Vice-President Wina said President Lungu was busy.
“The President of this country has met several religious leaders, church leaders in the past one year or so. Including the church mother body members, and I don’t know when that statement was given but when I met the church mother bodies and other religious leaders, it was explained that at the time that appointment was being sought from State House personnel, the President was extremely busy with other visitors but there are other channels through which appointments to State House can be made including going through the line ministries. And the President of the Republic of Zambia Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu has said State House is open to all that want to see him including the leaders of churches,” said Wina.
About two weeks ago, three church mother bodies namely the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), The Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB), and the Evangelical Fellowship in Zambia (EFZ) complained that State House had denied them access to the President, hence the resolve to issue a public statement and declare the country a dictatorship.
However, Wina met the church mother bodies on June 27 and told them that government was ready to listen to their counsel.