Democratic Party president Harry Kalaba has charged that the storming of Parliament by PF cadres on Thursday is a sign that President Edgar Lungu isn’t in charge as the Head of State.
And Kalaba says President Edgar Lungu’s casual approach on the arrest of Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister Ronald Chitotela gave a wrong impression on the fight against corruption.
Speaking when he featured on Hot FM’s ‘Breakfast’ show, Kalaba charged that last Thursday’s incident involving PF cadres who harassed opposition members of parliament was a sign that President Lungu was not in charge as the sitting Head of State.
“That is anarchy! In a country where you have leadership, you can’t have what we were seeing yesterday (Thursday). I am a President and members of my party go to harass a duly elected MP? It means you are not in charge! You can’t claim to be in charge of a home and you don’t know whether there is mealie meal and other things like that; it means you are not in charge! That’s why I tell people that when you go to a village, there will be someone masquerading as village headman, but he is not. We have a purported leadership in place that is allowing things like this,” charged Kalaba.
“How can you explain it that we can have people almost killing each other in Sesheke simply because someone has to go to Parliament and begin earning K40,000 every month, simply because you want to show people that you are popular? come on PF! You can do better than that. Because for me, on that violence, don’t even talk about UPND; the UPND are not in power. I think this all falls squarely on the shoulders of PF because they should have ensured that cadres were not ferried there. Whoever was not a voter was not supposed to be there; only those approved by the party secretariat should have gone there to campaign. But you ferry people there to go and cause confusion, that’s not how it should be for a party that’s in power.
Kalaba said he does not tolerate anarchy, and as such, he could no longer stay in the PF, hence resigning in January 2018.
“Some of my colleagues who are still in PF will tell you that I am a very disciplined person and I don’t tolerate anarchy. That’s one of the reasons I resigned. What’s happening in PF right now is total anarchy and a person like me cannot be part of that and that’s the reason why I didn’t agree to continue. I have never been a violent person. Why would you transport people to another region to go and cause mayhem when you are a ruling party? Why can’t you just allow fair play?” he wondered.
“These children that are being brutalised and killed are other peoples’ children and we need to feel for them. Who would want to imagine his or her own child having blood oozing like we saw in Sesheke? But what’s happening is that they are borrowing other peoples’ children to go and fight their own political battles, while their own children have remained in Woodlands, Kabulonga, drinking coffee but they have sent other peoples’ children to go and be brutalised! And when you ask those guys how much they get for what they are going through, it’s peanuts! So, we need order in this country and that’s why I say this country must be called to order; that will be happen under the auspices of DP!”
He further said there was an invisible hand within the ruling party promoting violence and thuggery in the country.
“When you talk about Sesheke, I could not believe that what I was seeing was happening in Zambia. 54 years after Independence, we are seeing other peoples’ children being brutalised in that fashion. It was horrific, I didn’t think that in the 21st century we can have such things happening simply because somebody wants to record that they have won a by-election! I think all of us political players must understand that while passions might stray, the bond of action must not be broken. We must remember that we are Zambians first even before we belong to any political party. There is an invisible hand that is sponsoring violence due the insatiable appetite for people to win elections, because they think that if we lose, people may think that we have lost popularity or that we are not in charge. You transport people from Intercity (Bus Terminus) to go and fight in Sesheke? That’s not right and that’s one of the reasons I am running for the (Republican) Presidency because we can’t continue practising such kind of Stone Age politics,” said Kalaba.
Meanwhile, Kalaba, the former Foreign Affairs Minister, who also resigned his position as Bahati PF member of parliament, insisted that there were a lot of Cabinet Ministers involved in corrupt activities and that it was just a matter of time before they were also exposed like Chitotela.
“When you read the Anti-Corruption Commission Act, I think (Section) 47; it is very clear that any public officer that is arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission needs to pave way for investigations to take place. I heard the President when he was talking about Honourable Chitotela. President Lungu is very casual on very substantive issues of the nation and that’s the reason this country is dragging like this. The President was very casual when talking about Chitotela’s issue and he said ‘what do I do with it?’ That sends a very wrong impression on the fight against corruption. But on moral grounds, even before we talk about President Lungu, comrade Chitotela could have said these charges have been slapped on me…because you can’t go to equity with unclean hands. Even the Ministerial Code of Conduct states that once you are under investigation, you cannot fly the Zambian flag. The Zambian flag should only be flown by people who safeguard the interests of the Zambian people. Now, I don’t know what will happen when we go to court because it will be the people of Zambia vs Honourable Chitotela,” Kalaba said.
He said the arrest of Chitotela vindicated him.
“I did say when I was resigning that I resigned because of the massive corruption that was going on; I did say that Ministers had become businessmen. It’s not only Honourable Chitotela, there are many others who are involved in being suppliers to Zesco, NAPSA, or any other government parastatals or Ministries, and I didn’t think that a Minster should also be a supplier. I didn’t agree that Ministers should be businessmen instead of being social workers. So, I may yet to be vindicated; this is just the process of being vindicated because more will come out! There is a lot that I know myself, but you saw that people marched against me saying ‘let Kalaba tell us who is corrupt, Kalaba is lying, he is power hungry, there is no corruption in this government,’ I want them to say that again, my eyes are open,” said Kalaba.