NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili says government must stop selling public infrastructure because it is better for investors to develop virgin land.
And Kambwili has warned that one day, Zambians will wake up to a privatized country if government continues contracting Chinese loans.
Meanwhile, Kambwili asked President Edgar Lungu’s press aide Amos Chanda to stop threatening Chipata’s Breeze FM with closure for refusing to toll the ruling party line.
In an interview with News Diggers! Kambwili observed that maintaining old buildings like the Kamwala Remand Prison, which government plans to sell to a developer, would be good for tourism.
He said government’s insistence to sell buildings which were standing on prime land was being driven by selfish motives.
“The issue of Kamwala Remand, it doesn’t make sense what Kampyongo said that ‘no it’s situated in a township’, all prisons across the world are in townships. Now why are they in a hurry to sell off old property that is supposed to be monuments of tourism? When you go to France, the main attraction of the French tourism industry is old buildings. The best they can do is just try and clean it up by doing some renovations without actually changing dexture of the old building so that tourists can come and see the kind of prisons that we had in the 50s. That can create a lot of money, for people just to come and see Kamwala Remand, to come and see how prisoners used to live,” Kambwili said.
“Because up-to now, that prison has not been modernised, has not been up to a standard which is fit for human habitation. But for them to just want to sell everything, I mean it’s being driven by selfishness, selfish motivates. By the way, can government tell us who were the competitors in the bid to buy Kamwala Remand? This idea of one person solicits or one company solicits and you want to give them, is the conduit for corruption. What has gone wrong with Jacaranda primary school? Why do they want to take away those grounds at Jacaranda to give it to a developer?”
He advised government to give investors virgin land to develop.
“Please these things were there in Kaunda days, Chiluba days, Mwanawasa administration, the Banda administration, Mr Sata’s administration, they were left the way they were. What’s so special that the Edgar Lungu administration wants to sell these things? If you investigate these transactions, you will find that either somebody somewhere in government has been offered shares. So I’m calling upon this government to leave public infrastructure. If they have got new investors who want to build certain infrastructure, let them be given virgin land and start all over to develop the land. But you cannot go to areas where there’s already buildings,” he said.
“And by the way, there’s been a very big problem on the transportation of inmates just from Kamwala there and Chimbokaila. Now they are telling us that those at Kamwala will be moved to Mwembeshi. What is going to happen is that these people will not be coming to court, cases will be delayed because Mwembeshi is very far. The best they can do is to modernise that prison. There’s absolutely no reason why we should rush to sell public infrastructure in order for new development. There are so many problems that the people of Zambia are encountering. Rather than doing wrong things can we the right thing for once.”
And Kambwili warned government against contracting Chinese loans.
“What is going on in this country I can rest assure you, one day we will wake up and we will find that Zambia has been privatised. If you have seen what is circulating on social media, the Prime Minister of Malaysia has said ‘Chinese are coming with money to give you that borrow this money, please don’t borrow that money because you will end up losing part of you land’. And I think the Zambian government must reflect and heed to this advice from the Malaysian Prime Minister. By the way Maylasia is very close to China and they know, the Chinese understand them better than the Zambian government understands them. This propensity to borrow is actually taking the country to unknown destination where in the next 10 – 15 years you will just find that Zambia is completely bankrupt and will not be able to service those Chinese loans. The consequences will be too grave to contemplate,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kambwili warned Chanda to stop threatening Breeze FM.
“I’m sure you have heard that there’s been a lot of threats from State House and Amos Chanda in particular threatening Breeze FM with closure saying they are opposition inclined. The first time he called the directors that ‘can we work together, you will become pro PF and you will propagate our propaganda’. The directors said ‘look we can’t do that because we are supposed to be balancing as a media house. There’s no way that we can promise that we are going to carry programs only to promote the image of PF. We have to balance’. They have been under so much pressure that the directors are now scared,” Kambwili alleged.
“I want to appeal to Amos Chanda and the powers that be that please, stay away from private media. You have managed to manipulate public media to the extent that this public media like ZNBC is no longer watched. Do you know that the highly watched TV station in this country today is Prime TV and Muvi TV? People have stopped watching ZNBC. Now you also want to go into private radio stations that are doing so well, but you want to monopolize everything towards PF. So I want to warn them that stay away from Breeze FM in Chipata. Let the radio station run independently. And you you should know that everything that you do, you are on the spotlight. People see. To my brother Amos, you are not going to be at State House for the rest of your life. One day you will be out. And all those people who are singing praises for you will disappear like nobody’s business. Please Amos, for once don’t make too many enemies.”