Kapata must be disciplined over ‘it’s time to eat remarks’ – Chipimo

NAREP president Elias Chipimo says the Patriotic Front leadership has continued to degenerate into a ‘chaotic front,’ leaving in its wake, a trail of destroyed lives while embellishing the coffers of its party members.

And Chipimo says the results of this action have been; deepening poverty levels, rising levels of teen prostitution, child marriages, teen pregnancies, abortions and defilement, among other forms of crime.

During a meeting with party officials at Nakatindi Hall on April 3, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Jean Kapata said time to ‘eat’ was now.

“We are sitting as line ministries to see to it that empowerment is taken, it’s rolling down to the lowest…to the sections. Shortly, you will be seeing me coming around to speak to everyone in the women structures, including the men, start preparing projects which you think you can do in your constituencies. As a party, we are more than ready to fund those income making ventures. Inshita yakulya ni inoine nga tatulile tukalya lilali? Muleumfwa ba munyinane? (The time to ‘eat’ is now and if we don’t ‘eat’ now, then when will we ‘eat’? Are you listening, my brothers and sisters?),” said Kapata.

“Your government is working, we are working. In fact, tomorrow afternoon we have a final meeting with relevant ministries to put on board what is it that you people can do in terms of income-generating because we realise that you need money in your pocket.”

After Kapata concluded her address to PF officials, PF Secretary General Davies Mwila tried to downplay her statement by explaining that the Lands Minister did not mean stealing.

“I think the media, don’t misquote honorable Kapata. She said inshita yakulya, not ukwiba. Mailo mukalande ati ukwiba (She said it is time to eat, not to steal.). That’s not what she has said. People must benefit from government through empowerment, that’s what she is saying. Not nga mwafuma kuno muyebe ati ukwiba. Musendapo ichushi mwasha umulilo (when you leave this place, dot go telling people that she said it’s time to steal. You just get the smoke and leave the fire),” said Mwila.

But reacting to Kapata’s remarks in a statement, Monday, Chipimo said it was unacceptable for a government official of her standing to openly announce how her party intended to divert money meant to benefit Zambians.

Chipimo wondered why there had been no disciplinary action taken against the Mandevu PF member of parliament.

“NAREP finds it unacceptable for a serving government Minister to promise use of government resources to benefit her fellow political party members. We demand an explanation as to why disciplinary action should not be taken against Mrs Kapata for openly proclaiming that she is part of an overall plan with other government officials to divert public resources for the sole benefit of PF members at the section level,” Chipimo said.

“The PF was not elected to only look after its members and it was certainly not elected to divert public funds towards party causes. Although we raise this demand for accountability, we know that nothing is likely to happen to Mrs Kapata.”

Chipimo noted that it was not shocking that Kapata could make such statements in public, recounting that the PF had always been encouraging its members to abuse public resources for their sole benefit.

“We saw how in Kabwe last year, the PF Secretary General Mr Davies Mwila chided PF councillors for not taking advantage of their council position to allocate themselves plots of land. He did this in the presence and full hearing of his Party Chairman, Mr Ngosa Simbyakula, and deputy Secretary General, Frank Bwalya. Not only was there no reprimand for such an open invitation to corruption from any of the national PF leadership but the party president, Mr. Edgar Lungu, went on to state at a subsequent PF fund-raising event that ‘uubomba mwibala, alya mwibala (he who works in the field should eat from that field)’, giving a green light to PF officials within government to help themselves to the resources they are supposed to be custodians of,” Chipimo recalled.

“Nobody in their right frame of mind thinks that governing a country is easy. However, the political leadership sets the tone for how the nation will be governed. If the tone is: ‘Let’s get elected and help only ourselves and our party members using government resources’ then it becomes clear why there is so much suffering in a nation that has such abundant wealth at its disposal. Why can a Chinese national arrive in this country a pauper and within a few years and close government connections, suddenly become a multi-millionaire with direct access to land, major contracts and an open door to the highest government offices? Why should traders have their goods and stores damaged and broken without a clear plan for how they will generate the money needed to live and to clothe their children and send them to school? Why should land endowed with so much have hard-working Zambians needing to sell their labour for K20 a day because they have not been able to equip themselves with life and entrepreneurial skills? Perhaps this is why Mrs Kapata finds it convenient to talk about using government funds to empower PF members.”

Chipimo charged that the PF had degenerated into a chaotic front, leaving in its wake a trail of destroyed lives and only embellishing the coffers of its party members and other sympathisers.

“They want to beat everyone into submission and drive them through desperation into the arms of a party that can use its muscle as a conduit for government funds to get to the grassroots. Perhaps this explains why we have so many overpriced contracts for our roads, fire tenders, ambulances and other goods and services. Perhaps this is why our land is being given away to any person that has connections and money. The Patriotic Front is very quickly degenerating into the ‘Chaotic Front’ and leaving in its wake a trail of destroyed lives, while at the same time embellishing the coffers of its leaders, members and sympathisers. The result has been a deepening poverty and rising levels of teen prostitution, child marriages, teen pregnancies, abortions, defilement and various types of crime,” said Chipimo.

Chipimo called on Zambians to work with NAREP in putting an end to the chaos of the PF administration and bring sanity to Zambians’ lives.

         

Mirriam Chabala

About Mirriam Chabala

Mirriam Chabala is a Zambian journalist who covers current affairs and writes in-depth feature articles on social issues.
Email: mirriam [at] diggers [dot] news

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