Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya yesterday said he could not condemn the lack of hygiene by his Information counterpart Dora Siliya who was captured openly distributing meat to villagers in her Constituency, saying the pictures of the minister could have been doctored.

Siliya is in Petauke Constituency on a week long programme, distributing meet to thousands of voters. She shared the pictures with News Diggers and explained that “we are using whatever little we have to share with people in hospitals, orphanages and villages.”

But journalists raised concerns of a Cholera outbreak in Petauke and asked Dr Chilufya to explain if the Chief Government Spokesperson was in order to distribute meat products when vendors were being punished for selling meet products openly.

The Health minister refused to comment, saying he was not sure about the authenticity of the pictures.

“I don’t have adequate information to form an opinion. I would hear more and see more other than make a comment on information that doesn’t have enough meaning. You know nowadays there is a lot of technology. So I can’t comment. Even in the court of law, authenticity of a picture is very important. So I wouldn’t want to comment,” he said before Higher Education Minister Prof Nkandu Luo also came to Siliya’s defence.

“For me there is a thing on my phone, its a news paper [article that] ‘universities to open in June, says Professor Luo’. Its a newspaper and there has never been anything like that. So you can cut bits and pieces using technology and put them. You can even take my face and put me seated in a wrong place,” said Prof Luo.

When contact to explain the sanitary conditions under which she was distributing meat, Siliya said it was covered in plastics and that there was no way she could be careless with people’s health.

“Even during Lent, we can’t see good in helping poor people? What is wrong with our country? God will surely punish us. But anyway, this work is purely between me and my God. The people in hospitals, orphanages and villages are very happy. Some of the people in Lusaka are just talking and not helping. Only people who do not know the suffering in villages can condemn when someone gives meat which is covered in plastics,” said Siliya, adding “I cannot be that careless with people’s lives. I am a mother.”