Roan PF member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili says Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya is treating his former bosses like dogs so that they can feel his weight.
Last week Thursday, in his debate on the Civil Service Commission, Kambwili said a lot of doctors were complaining that they had been removed from managerial positions to being general practitioners despite not doing anything wrong.
“I have a number of doctors that have been removed and are complaining; Dr John Mwewa, Kitwe central hospital removed; Dr Luckson Kasonka, UTH removed; Dr Manawa, Ndola central removed; Dr George Chipulu, Kabwe general hospital removed,; Dr Chola, Kabwe mine hospital removed; Dr Muntanga Lewanika removed; Dr Mutotoki, Kasama general hospital; Dr Kunda, Mansa hospital; Dr Kelvin, Nchanga hospital removed, and this doctor removed as medical superintendent from Chingola and taken to Chainama hospital as a general practitioner. You can only move people in those circumstances under disciplinary matters. If they have not committed any offence, you go and remove them? He has worked for 25 years in government as an administrator you go and bring someone who has worked in the ministry for four years to come and supervise the one who was a supervisor,” said Kambwili.
But Dr Chilufya told the House that Kambwili lied on the floor of the House when he said some senior doctors had been demoted in an unconstitutional manner.
He also said Kambwili had admitted to him that he wouldn’t have debated in the manner he did if he had gotten enough information about the doctors in question.
“Some of the names that I was hearing there, are names of individuals who deserve to be de-registered because of their malpractice. You can’t just come here with half baked information and start castigating government. Mr Chairman, let’s be serious. There is time that you can walk across and ask the minister ‘what is the issue with colleague X’ and we will explain. Mr Chairman I must emphasize, I engaged my elder brother honorable Kambwili after his debate and I gave him information on some of the names that he gave me and he confessed, ‘I wouldn’t have debated like this if you had told me all these things. I was looking for you’. Mr Speaker, it costs nothing for us to engage. And I am happy to report that he would not have debated in that manner had he engaged me before. Mr Chairman, that’s why it is important for our colleagues on the left to be present, to listen and to listen to the responses on the allegations they make,” said Dr Chilufya.
But at a media briefing at his house on Saturday, Kambwili insisted that some doctors were being unfairly treated and underutilized.
“I discussed with him only one person, Dr Kasonka who was executive director at UTH. What he told me was that Dr Kasonka was transferred to Ndola Central Hospital as executive director then he did not like Ndola and he opted to say transfer me back to Lusaka and let me work in the hospital as a consultant. So I said had I seen you, I wouldn’t have mentioned Dr Kasonka in my discourse. But for the other doctors, they have been treated like idiots, they have been treated like dogs by that Chilufya and they are saying most of them were his seniors but he is throwing his weight to show them that he is minister and he is now in charge. Trying to treat those people that supervised him before like small boys and government is letting him do that. I don’t think it is right for the minister to get involved in issues of staffing at the ministry,” Kambwili said.
“Chilufya is the most unpopular Minister of Health among the health workers here in Zambia. If the president wants to find out, let him appoint an inquiry. The people in the Ministry of Health today, their level of performance is very low because of Chilufya’s conduct. And let me tell Chilufya, bu administrator or bu minister babumwena from the output. Look at the hospitals today, the hospitals are very dirty, there are no blankets but Chilufya wants to carry [himself] as if he is hardworking, wanting every time to be on TV, even when he visits a clinic he wants to show off but where is his performance? There are no drugs in hospitals. When you go to hospitals they are very dirty! Go to UTH, go and see. Mr Sata was Minister of Health, let Chilufya pick a leaf from what Mr Sata did. Mr Sata never transferred and demoted people at the rate that Chilufya is doing it. He has messed up the ministry.”
He said Dr Chilufya’s justification that the transfers were to enhance performance in the ministry did not make sense; citing an example of a highly trained doctor who was being underutilized.
“For instance, one lady by the name of Tasila Tembo, she was executive director or medical superintendent at Roan General Hospital. I worked closely with Tasila, we cleaned Roan hospital and as a result she was promoted to ministry headquarters. She used to do those health programmes on TV, Chilufya takes her, someone whose title is medical superintendent, takes her to Kanyama Clinic as a public health specialist working under somebody who is also medical superintendent. How can you do such a thing? Because if they were dismantling central board of health or Ministry of Health headquarter, Tasila Tembo should have been taken to another hospital because she is also medial superintendent because she is a qualified doctor and she is also a qualified public health practitioner. So he should have taken her back, and she has a lot of experience, she has a lot of management courses, he should have given her a hospital after all, she performed so well. Go to Luanshya and ask, they will tell you about Tasila. What kind of nonsense is that? Then he wants to hide into ‘performance, performance’, what performance?” Kambwili asked.
“There is nothing to write home about Zambian hospitals. The people are just going to these hospitals because they have no option. If people had options, nobody can even go to government hospitals under Chilufya. So let that boy stop talking too much and concentrate on the job. I went to Kasama Hospital, abantu balala pa mattress yeka yeka. Bambi kufimba fye ifitenge fya PF (people sleep on a bare mattress, some cover themselves with PF campaign material), there is no linen and that boy Chilufya wants to behave as if he works so hard, let him take a leaf from what Mr Michael Sata did and if he wants politics, I am a better politician than him by far.”