President Edgar Lungu says he will fire any minister who goes to him suggesting which of his colleagues to fire.

And President Lungu says government will iron out all the issues with the e-voucher system to make sure farmers don’t suffer next year.

Meanwhile, President Lungu says his government will continue working closely with the church in delivering various social services.

Speaking during mass at St Johns Parish in Chinsali, Sunday, President Lungu told his ministers not to waste his time by going to suggest who he should fire.

He said like in a game of soccer, he was the coach and he knew his team therefore, it was up to him to decide who needed substitution.

“To the ministers, my fellow colleagues in government, don’t waste my time telling me who to fire. First go and talk to your friend, be your brother’s keeper. If you are a minister, be your brother’s keeper. Go to your fellow minister and tell him ‘how about this?’ when you discuss and you fail to agree, come to me. But to come to me and say ‘remove this one’, you are the one I will remove,” President Lungu said.

“There are people who think they are better than others, their time will come, this is our time, allow us to work.”

President Lungu revealed that some people had been asking him to fire Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo but he vowed not to, saying he is the one who picked him.

“Don’t force me ‘fire Kampyongo and things will be okay’, no! I am the one who chose him. So when they fail I will be chasing them one by one, if you fail, you leave, just like in soccer, when you fail to play, you just lift your hand and you are substituted. Ba minister, don’t tell me to fire your friend, if he is not doing the right thing, go and advise him. Leave me alone to work with my team and I will decide who to substitute and at what time. Our 90 mins ran from 2011, 2015, it ended, 2016 we started a new one, we are running from 2016 to 2021, I will know who to substitute and when. Please I beg you, leave my ministers to work and if they are not working well, go and talk to them and say ‘try this and this’ by coming to me telling me who to fire, you are wasting your own time,” he said.

He said although others were having difficulties, it was only prudent to give them more time to adjust.

“Whilst I am visiting various places in Zambia, I am seeing who is working and who is not. Some are saying ‘fire this one because he has failed’. But it is like soccer, 90 minutes, when you start playing and you notice someone isn’t playing well, give him a chance and see how he will work,” he said.

“Some of them are saying ‘fire this minister because they are not working’, they are working, it is just hard…I told you when I was constituting my Cabinet that I am the coach, I am the owner of the team. I know those who are playing the game and those who are not, I will be removing them one by one and replacing them with other people because we are not few, and we have the intelligence.”

And President Lungu said government would sort out the problems in the e-voucher system.
He said despite the challenges, the e-voucher system was better than the conventional FISP programme because it had significantly reduced theft.

“This issue of e-voucher, many of you are farmers, I want to see how this e-voucher is being implemented, where is the problem? From what I can see, a problem is there but today, we shall work on it to make sure that that problem should not be there next year. This system is new, some people were eating very well during the conventional system, they used to steal but with this system, theft will reduce,” he said.

“And those same people who were stealing are the ones who are saying that this won’t work and we will fail, we shall not fail. The e-voucher system has had challenges but these challenges are being caused by a number of factors, some of them are obviously that it is a new system, it is understood, others are that there was a lot of fraud in the previous system where they used to have ghost farmers and they would enrich themselves, we have done away with it and it is a huge saving. So going forward, we will make sure that all those loopholes and lapses which we have discovered will be sealed so that the system will work properly staring next year.”

Meanwhile, the Head of State said government would continue working closely with the church.

“I came to worship it is not to campaign because they told me that ‘you are taking advantage of the church but when you call me, how can I refuse because I am already here. All I can say is may the church continue praying for all political players regardless of where they are coming from. There are those who don’t believe in God I know but through his power, he will convict them and they will come to the light of power and the grace of the almighty God. Secondly, I want to emphasis that we as PF will continue being strong allies of the church. We will continue working with the church no matter what our detractors will say,” President Lungu said.

“I am very grateful for what the church is doing for the common man. The men and women who belong to the church, the youths and all those other people who are in the communities…we shall support you in your quest to bring about good health amongst our people, good quality education and we will support you in fighting against joblessness amongst the youths. We shall support you in your quest to overcome GBV, we will support you in your quest to make sure that the young child is not married off before her time. All this is your job as much as it is our job.”

He said he would deliver all his promises to the people of Chinsali.

“I am here to make sure that what we promised to work on is being worked on. Already I have seen the Chinsali road is very poor, there is a contractor but I will find out why work has been slow and we should expedite this so that when we are coming in 2021, we shall be pointing that the road was not like this. There is no electricity here, I have seen the Rural Electrification Authority, they are working, by June when I come here, because I will be coming, I want to make sure that the electricity has been installed because they already worked,” said President Lungu.