Rainbow party general secretary Wynter Kabimba says Zambians believe more in witch doctors than they believe their Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya.
And Kabimba says to be a minister in Zambia is a sacrifice because their salaries are too low to depend on, adding that government was hoodwinking Zambians by announcing that it would cut down their salaries.
The former justice minister was speaking when he featured on Millennium radio on Wednesday.
“The problem with our health care system is the budget. The government has not prioritised health and education, we tried to prop it up a bit under president Michael Sata. You can’t have a health care system that is dependent on donors. I watched the Honourable Minister of Health that day talking about appealing to donors so honour their pledges. They don’t owe us a life. I refuse, they owe a life to their citizens, to their tax payers. So for a minister to stand up without shame and speak as if the donors owe us a life, that in itself is a problem,” Kabimba said.
He said the PF was sitting on a fantasy-island, thinking that the Heath Insurance Act would work.
“Let us take up the task of developing this country ourselves. Our people still have faith in the indigenous ng’anga than they have in Dr Chilufya and his system. The people that believe in ng’angas are part of this society and the government that they voted into office must look into their needs. So government must find a way of reconciling that area of indigenous herbs and the conventional medicine. [So the Health Insurance Act] will not work in a poor country like Zambia where people can’t even afford three square meals in a day. It’s a dream on fantasy-island. The PF government is seated on fantasy-island and dreaming in a hope that when they wake up in the morning, it would have come true. You don’t run government through dreams,” he said.
Kabimba also said that government was hoodwinking Zambians by saying that it would cut on ministers’ salaries.
“We should stop hoodwinking Zambians. This is hoodwinking. There is no minister who lives off their salary, they live off their allowances. They will fight tooth and nail for the podium to travel abroad and pocket the dollars, do a bit of shopping for their family and pocket the dollars. That is what they live on. They don’t live on salaries. I was minister myself, you can’t live on a minister’s salary. If you look at the budget, your household budget, it can’t be met by a salary of a minister. In other words, to be a minister is actually a sacrifice but the reason why people want to be ministers are the allowances that come with being minister,” Kabimba said.
Meanwhile, Kabimba noted that the Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue (ZCID) was not inclusive in its operations, adding that Rainbow Party was not bothered for being sidelined.
“We are not members of the ZCID [and] we have never been invited to any meeting of the ZCID and we don’t mind not being invited really. Anything that would bring progress to the Zambian society, we would like to make contribution but we shall not impose ourselves on the ZCID. We can do without the ZCID. We shall deal with the Zambian people and ZCID can deal with those political parties that they are comfortable with, because if you are going to deal with us then you should be prepared to take a risk of hearing the truth about what we think, we shall not pamper you. Starting from the Ministry of Justice under which ZCID now falls and is financed up to ZCID itself, they know our position. And if they think that we don’t matter, we don’t have a problem with that,” he said.
And Kabimba said some ministers were scared of speaking to opposition leaders for fear of being monitored by the system.
“Some of the cabinet ministers are even scared to pick up a call from us in the opposition because they are being told that they are being monitored by the system. I have seen and I laugh and this is a serious matter, I have seen some of our royal highnesses seated during these traditional ceremonies where the Minister for Chiefs and Traditional Affairs is reading a speech about culture but they are clad in a lawyer’s robe, how does that become culture? They are clad in a mayoral robe, a councillor’s rob or a lawyer’s robe. So I said to Reverand Sumaili that culture incorporates a number of components because it deals with the issue of your identity as a people, i,e our traditional music is part of culture, our cuisine is part of culture, what we eat, what we drink in the village is part of culture. So you can’t limit culture to a one off traditional ceremony that happens once in a year in a particular chiefdom and you call that culture,” said Kabimba.