National Democratic Congress Leader Chishimba Kambwili says he has started going to the gym so that he can lose weight and face the criminals in PF with vigor.
And Kambwili says he blames his party security team for failing to discover that the Chilanga run-away candidate Webster Katongo had a criminal record until the Patriotic Front blackmailed him.
In an interview yesterday, Kambwili who remains rebel PF member of parliament for Roan constituency, said if Katongo had succeeded to file his nomination on the NDC ticket, he would have been arrested.
In the verbatim interview below, the former chief government spokesperson who recently formed a break away party, while holding on to the PF seat, said he was the most feared politician in State House.
Question: Your Chilanga candidate has not only disqualified you from participating in the by-election, but he has also defected to the PF, what is your reaction to that?
Answer: PF is a party for thieves. We didn’t know that the man was involved in criminality. But what happened is that PF used the OP to investigate and they found that the man was involved in criminal activities, and they used that to threaten him.
Had he managed to file his nomination on the NDC ticket, the man was going to be arrest for money laundering, and all his accounts frozen. That man, I am told is a money lender and he has been collecting money from people with abnormal interests and he has grabbed vehicles and houses for people that he has sold illegally.
So the PF knew this part of him which we did not know as NDC. Had we known, we would not have accepted his application to stand on NDC because we don’t accept crooks. The PF knew this and they blackmailed him, but today they have accepted him as their member, so the PF is a party for thieves and crooks.
It’s a blessing in disguise that he did not manage to file his nomination on our party because he was going to dent our reputation. So the people of Zambia should see that the PF accepted a criminal. Just because he didn’t file, he has become a PF member, what a joke! What a country we live in! You can even see that the press briefing where he defected was organised by the PF media team. The whole thing was funded by stolen money.
Q: Did NDC do it’s own vetting of its applicants? How did this candidate pass without you noticing that this man had a criminal record as you put it?
A: You see, we asked people to apply and we had applications from various people. Now according to the findings of the people that were sent to go and find out in Chilanga, they came up with a record that he was a best candidate.
Q: So then, it would appear that this exposes some weaknesses in your own party’s security system, doesn’t it?
A: Yes, we can only blame our team that went to investigate. We can only blame our so-called security guys who went to do a check on him because we do security checks and we should have captured that, but that part of the criminal activities was not exposed. So I think we will take appropriate action to remedy the situation.
Q: Have you had a chance to meet this gentleman after he ditched the party and ran away?
A: No, he has been elusive. I only spoke to him when he explained to me that he was actually threatened.
Q: Oh! So he told you himself that he was threatened by PF?
A: Yes, he told me that he was threatened and they told him to switch off the phone.
Q: Okay, Now what’s the way forward for you considering that you now have no candidate in Chilanga? Are you going to fold your arms as NDC or you will identify a candidate from another party to support?
A: No, we told you that the ECZ behaved partisan because after that Katongo ran away, we went to Electoral Commission and applied to change our time for filing and our time was moved from 13:00 hours to 14:30 hours, when went at 14:30, we found PF who took upto 15:00 hours. After PF, we went in and we were told that we were late. So we will meet ECZ to see if for the purpose of fairness, we can be allowed to file. We have a candidate.
Q: I understand, but knowing Zambia and the political state of affairs prevailing, the probability that ECZ would actually accept to do that ranges from zero to impossible. In an event that you fail to succeed, what next?
A: We will go to court so that ECZ can be compelled to accept our nomination. I can tell you that PF are scared of NDC. It is there for you people to see. They don’t want to see Chishimba Kambwili step into Chilanga for the campaign. They are so scared. And I can tell you that the trick they are using will not help. They are denying our party members permits for mobilisation, so when they find our ward officials meeting in their houses, they arrest them. But we are not worried. In Bemba they say ukucenjela kwa nkonko, pungwa tasakamana. Inshiku shilabwesha, shalengenye nyina no mwana.
Look at the panic. Two days ago, the Daily Nation reported that the entire NDC executive committee in Northern Province had defected to PF, but our structures are intact. The man Chileshe whom they were saying was NDC provincial chairperson, I fired him a long time ago. So those lies are proof that they are scared. Why they are not talking about NAREP or these other political parties is because they know that NDC is a force.
Q: I would like to agree with you actually, looking at the just ended local government by-elections where you did well, coming out number two in some area ahead of the UPND, yet you are just six months old. So it is expected that State House would panic because of your aggressiveness. But what I have also heard from people who are supporting you is a concern about your health. After that police brutality you were exposed to recently, you seemed to have broken and you are not able to even stand and campaign. So people are wondering if you are fit enough to run the full mile. I think it is important for you talk about your health condition, are you fit?
A: I am very healthy. The only problem that I had is that I was in bed for three weeks without any activity. So I became physically inactive, resulting into this situation because of my big body. So I couldn’t stand for a long time. I am improving by the day. I couldn’t even walk for a long distance, but now I have been going to the gym and I am getting better and stronger. The essence of those arrests was to induce a stroke in me, but God is on my side and it didn’t work.
So, I am very fit, but now I am going to the gym to become stronger because my body is big and have to lose a bit of weight. I am working on that because I am overweight and need to lose a bit of weight. I am learning the ropes on how to become physically fit and so I am going to the gym so that I can face these criminals. Otherwise PF are in for it. We shall give them a big run for their money.
Q: Well, good luck honourable and thanks for the interview
A: Thank you my brother.