Lusaka Lawyer Kelvin Bwalya Fube (KBF) has insisted that President Edgar Lungu is ineligible to stand in 2021 because he has already appeared on the ballot twice, elected twice, and sworn in twice.
And Fube says there is too much ‘muzungu anikonde’ (please the master) kind of politics in the PF.
Meanwhile, Fube has revealed that Samuel Chavula, the man who was caught in the Electoral Commission of Zambia totaling centre IT room in 2016, was part of the Patriotic Front’s election committee.
Speaking when he featured on Prime TV’s Oxygen of Democracy, Monday, Fube said he had presidential ambitions.
“There is nothing wrong with having ambitions. There is nothing wrong with having three four presidential candidates vying for the presidency to get the best. If we go to the convention and there are four people vying for the presidency within the Patriotic Front, what is wrong with that? It is healthy democracy. There is nothing wrong with that. Let us not smear people because they show ambitions. Why are you going to deny the Patriotic Front calibre which is there? because Edgar Chagwa Lungu is not wamuyayaya (won’t be president forever). I don’t think my president believes in staying in his presidency forever. Secondly there is a court case. We know whether he is going to be said to be eligible or not, then we will be thrown into chaos [and] we should start panicking again. We should learn to plan ahead,” Fube said.
Asked if he had ambitions to take over the PF presidency, KBF replied in the affirmative.
“Yes I do and there is nothing wrong with that. If you have read my book, I have given an opinion and I will stick to my opinion. The opinion is [that] I believe he (Edgar Lungu) can’t stand. He has done two terms, he has been twice elected [and] that is what the law says. And the interpretation of the Constitution as far as my little knowledge goes of 30 years at the bar, is that the interpretation of the Constitution, you interpret it literally, you can’t go beating around the bush. Was he sworn in twice after an election? Yes. Did he appear on the ballot twice? Yes. Did he win elections twice? Yes. Now which one of those is negative? Let us not bring in terminologies of this term,” Fube said.
“I have argued that the only thing which was required to be fixed by way of mischief in the Constitution was the 90 days that we were having for by-elections in the presidency. And the only person who can aspire and rule this country for more than ten years is a person coming in from the position of vice-president, because if the president dies and the vice-president takes over, depending on how much time the current president has spent in office, he may then say I was just finishing the term of the guy who died [and] this is now my presidency.”
And Fube said late president Michael Sata offered him jobs on two occasions, which he turned down, but President Lungu had never offered him a job.
“When the late president [Michael Sata] was about to form government he said ‘I am announcing my Cabinet in two days time, what do you want?’ I told him ‘Mr president you had a lot of people following you since 2000, I have a job. Right now I am okay, I don’t need a job. He said ‘are you sure?’ and I said ‘yes.’ That was the only reason I wasn’t given a job because I told him and I have already alluded to the fact that when it came to giving me the ‘secretary generalship’, I told him ‘it can’t happen. You are from Muchinga and I am from Muchinga. So how does that work?’ So Mr Sata tried twice to bring me to the fold, but people want you to talk about things because they want you to seem important. For me it was never personal,” Fube said.
“This current president I must confess has never offered me a job but I have never asked for a job. And again the job that you are given, you must add value to it. You don’t just take up positions because you don’t want to disappoint the president no! You have got to engage the president, you have got to say ‘I think I might be more effective here.’ It is his discretion. If somebody thinks he doesn’t want you in his team at the moment, that is his discretion, that thing for me I settled a long time ago. The same passion that I had for the PF then is the same passion that I have for the PF today.”
And Fube observed that PF officials were practicing muzungu anikonde politics.
“And this is why I am talking about some of the mistakes that we have made from the past. We are failing to provide leadership in very cardinal areas that are required both in government and the party. And that is where the problem is. Some of the problems are historical, some of them are coming up now. The problem we have in the PF is [that] we have got muzungu anikonde (please the master) kind of politics,” he said.
“As long as I can sing the praise of the president and the president sees me at the airport and I am dancing [then] the president must be happy with me. Are you telling the president the truth? If you are an advisor to the president are you doing your job? If you are not [then] what are you there for? If you are a minister of a certain ministry and you are suppose to do certain things that you are suppose to usher to the president and say ‘Mr president, one two three things are wrong’ why are you not telling the president the honest truth? Because ultimately, people bottle up those things. In the book when they go to the book, they will remember those things. I am saying we have got three years, let us dismantle those things, let us admit to the Zambian people [that] we have got problems. Let us admit to our own selves as PF [that] we have got problems.”
KBF said Presisdent Lungu did not fully understand party structures because he did not stay long in the position of secretary general.
“ I feel sorry partly for my president now because he didn’t stay long as secretary general of the party, so it did not give him enough time to understand the structures [of the party] he didn’t understand the party per se. He was new as a person trying to understand what was going on within the PF. He was new at the level that he didn’t understand who was in Shang’ombo, who was in Kaputa, who was in Muchinga, who was…and he stayed [in that office] for very few months as secretary general before he ascended to the presidency. So he didn’t really have enough time to understand the structures. We made him a presidential candidate,” he said.
“By the time Mr Sata was dying and having appointed the current president as the secretary general, he had not stayed in that office for more than six months, so he didn’t know the structure and suddenly he was thrust to a higher position as President. So somehow I feel sorry because it is from that perspective that even today, some of the things that had happened in the party, the current president may not have known and some of us who were there would have loved to brief the current president to say the undercurrents were these. But I know from there my friends who have taken advantage of things have lied, have smeared me and I have said things which were not there which should not have been said, but I had not had a one-on-one [talk] with the President, so I will leave it there for now.”
Fube also observed that corruption was rife among civil servants whom he said sale bidding information to private companies and in some instances, go further to prepare bid documents for contractors.
“Anybody you go to in government today who is in procurement is on a get rich scheme because he is selling government information to dealers. It’s insider trading. We complain of foreigners taking over contracts, how do the foreigners know how to prepare bid documents? Half the bid documents are prepared by Zambians who work for government, they know the information, they design the tender, then they go and sale that information to Chinese. Then the Chinese hires them to prepare bid documents, so the procurement officers prepares the question paper and answers his own questions, then he goes to sit in his official capacity to now start ticking and says ‘this is the winner of the document’. It’s corruption,” Fube said.
“The economy cannot improve when we have got such glaring inequalities, such glaring indiscipline in the civil service. We have to change that in government. There is no accountability by anybody in the leadership because everybody thinks ‘as long as it suits me’ it’s fine. People are building in this country without the mortgages, where is the money coming from? It is not initiative, it is called stealing. Let us be serious. So the economy is bad because people are looking at politicians and they are saying ‘if the politicians can do this why not me?’ if the politicians are undisciplined, why not me?’ and the politicians can’t discipline a civil servant because they understand that they are in the same business.
And Fube said wgile the courts interpret President Lungu’s gift received from King Mswati, it must be noted that State Long was also given to founding President Dr Kenneth Kaunda as a gift but he bequeathed it to the State.
“Many people may not know how the State Lodge came about. There is a gentleman in this country who is well respected, who at the time was a patriot and felt he had to pay back or give something back to the nation and his name is Andrew Sardanis. Mr Sardanis gave State Lodge to the then president Dr Kenneth Kaunda. Kenneth Kaunda in his wisdom said you have given me this as a gift, but I am president so I will bequeath this to the Zambia people. That is how State lodge came about. He was given in his personal capacity, but he said I am president and I will give it to the zambia people. Today we use it, that is just an example. Is that the same example for land in a foreign country? It remains for the judges to say because now it’s in court,” he said.
Meanwhile, Fube revealed that Chavula was part of the Patriotic Front’s election committee.
“I have heard of somebody being found at Mulungushi with some pieces of paper and then being accredited to me, but to rig an election, that is a serious [matter], it can’t happen. [That Samuel Chavula guy] was not working under my law firm. He was a specialised wing of the election committee of the Patriotic Front as an IT person. And we were asked by the Electoral Commission to supply three or four personnel who could assist in verifying what was happening at Mulungushi. He was one of the people we pushed up there. Every party pushed three or four people there and they know this. I wasn’t at Mulungushi [so] I don’t know what he did. [And] up to now, no one has told me what exactly Chavula did, all I saw were cameras and a whole lot of allegations and my name got popped up and I was thinking that someone is coming to call me to ask me and no one has come. Up to now, no one has asked me any serious question about that issue. What am I suppose to say? Because right now I still don’t know,” said Fube.