NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili has apologised to the donor community on behalf of Zambians saying it’s unfortunate that a government with so many suffering people can insult donors by alleging that they were forcing benefactors to embrace gay rights.
And Kambwili says NDC yesterday celebrated Independence Day in despair, sadness and agony because of what has become of Zambia under the PF government.
On Tuesday, Minister of National Development Planning Alexander Chiteme said during a PF Interactive Forum that foreign donors were withdrawing their aid because Zambia had refused to embrace gay rights.
But speaking to journalists at his Kabulonga residence, Thursday, Kambwili apologized to the donor community on behalf of Zambians, saying Chiteme’s remarks did not represent the views of Zambians.
Kambwili, the former Chief Government Spokesperson, recalled that when he was in government, he never attended any meeting where the donor community asked government to embrace gay rights in order to access donor funds.
“Let me take this opportunity on behalf of the people of Zambia, more especially the poor, to apologise to the donor community for the statement that was issued by the PF government through their Minister of National (Development) Planning Alexander Chiteme yesterday (Tuesday). I have been in government, I was government’s Chief Spokesperson and I was Minister of Foreign Affairs, I never attended any meeting or any Cabinet meeting where there was a request from any donor country that Zambia can only access donor funds if they embrace gay rights,” Kambwili said.
He said it was unfortunate that a government with so many suffering people could insult donors in that manner on a public forum.
“It is unfortunate that a government that has so many suffering people who depend on donor funding can go to insult the donors in that manner on a public platform. So, on behalf of Zambians, I sincerely apologise to the donor community. The statement that was issued by the government, through Chiteme, does not represent the views of Zambians. Zambians have respect for all the donors and we do appreciate the donor funding that we have enjoyed since Independence. We appeal to the donors, please do not withdraw aid,” Kambwili said.
“And I want to appeal to President Edgar Lungu to avoid careless statements. To begin with, it was him who began the careless statement. He went to Parliament and said ‘nobody can force us who should be our friends.’ When you issue such statements, you must be wary of the feelings of others. And now, yesterday, his Minister said, ‘those donors can get their money, they are forcing us to be gays.’ I have never seen, and I challenge this government to produce evidence where the donor community has written to them saying, ‘if you don’t recognise gayism, then we are going to withdraw aid.’ This is a very big mistake that this government, through Chiteme, made.”
And Kambwili said NDC celebrated Independence Day in despair, sadness and agony because of what had become of Zambia.
He bemoaned heightened levels of corruption leading to exam leakages and suspension of school exams, which had never happened in any administration.
“We, as NDC, celebrate this day in despair, sadness and agony. Tu le sefya mufilamba (we are celebrating in tears) of what has become of our nation. The deplorable state of our nation today can surely be blamed on failed political leadership; with corruption leading to exam leakages and suspension of school exams. This has never happened in any administration! Civil servants’ salaries still remain too low to have three adequate meals a day, our health sector is in a deplorable state, miners are still living in poverty despite the rich mineral resources they live on,” he observed.
Meanwhile, Kambwili, who is also Roan PF member of parliament, said there was need to save the nation from President Lungu’s government.
“We are at crossroads as a nation, a place we have never been before. Our patriotism being tested and the pressing need to correct the wrongs being done by this administration are calling us to action. Like the day of Independence 54 years ago, we need now to save our nation, not from our colonial master, but from our own brothers and sisters who have subjugated power to enrich themselves and condemned millions of Zambians to poverty and lack,” he argued.
“As we celebrate this day in despair, of what has become of our nation, let us bear in mind that true patriotism is what will keep us fighting for our nation from the destruction done by President Lungu and the PF administration.”
He urged Zambians to take Independence Day as a day to dialogue and reconcile with one another.
“True reconciliation must be coupled with actions of goodwill towards the marginalized in society, especially during these hard times that our nation has been put through by the PF administration. Let us give arms towards the disabled, the aged and children. Let’s dialogue and reconcile our differences for the purpose of unity and peace,” Kambwili said.
He further said NDC was reluctant to attend public gatherings organized by the PF because of their violent nature.
Kambwili added that yesterday’s Independence Day was a ‘call to action’ for every Zambian in the spirit of national unity, constitutionalism and to fight for the salvation of the country.
“Let me thank all the freedom fighters living and past for their job well done to have fought the colonial masters to gain the independence that the PF government has destroyed,” said Kambwili.