Works and Supply Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya says government did not buy any new vehicles for ministers in November 2018 but Toyota Zambia released some vehicles it had withheld for delayed payment in 2016.

And Kafwaya says the Zambia Air Force’s decision to purchase a presidential jet was done in the best interest of the nation.

Speaking when he featured on 5 FM’s programme dubbed The Burning Issue, Tuesday, Kafwaya said he was surprised when pictures of the vehicle fleet went viral on social media purporting that the cars had just been bought.

“We buy the vehicles and allocate them and I can tell you that government has not bought any vehicles for ministers as it has been put. Government [only] bought vehicles in 2016 and some of the vehicles were held by Toyota Zambia because government had not completely paid for the vehicles. And once paid for, those vehicles I think that was shortly before I was appointed when those vehicles were released. So a release of a batch which was held on account of delayed payment cannot be considered as a purchase. It’s total misinformation and I was actually surprised at the fact that that information never went out. So there was no vehicle being bought for ministers. Toyota Zambia just withheld the vehicles and waited for the payment to be finalized. Once that was done, they released the vehicles which were in their bonded warehouse,” Kafwaya said.

And Kafwaya said the decision by the Zambia Air Force to purchase a presidential jet was done in the best interest of the nation.

“The aviation security of the President and indeed even the Vice-President is a responsibility of Zambia Air force. And colleagues, let us respect the work of the Zambia Air Force, Zambia Army, and Zambia Police and all of these service men and women who serve our country. And if in their wisdom they feel there is need to secure the President, the Vice-President and VIPs and they take a decision, we need to respect that. You don’t just respect the service men and women only when they have to serve you. So I can’t discuss their decision because I feel it was done in the best interest of the nation,” he said

Meanwhile, Kafwaya said HH’s directive for opposition MPs not to support the NDF resolutions in parliament was dictatorial.

“I feel sorry for my colleagues in the UPND because the way the parliamentary procedure is, is that we debate issues there and when you are debating, it is my belief that you debate issues according to the views that are coming from your constituency and also from your own conscious. But for my colleagues in the UPND, HH has told them that don’t support these resolutions which means that they will be debating in line with that directive and that is what I was saying. I am sorry you my colleagues and when you rise to debate, I will be looking at your eyes to see how you are going to make sure that you support that directive. And that’s dictatorial,” he further said.

And when asked if the resolution to allow ministers continue staying in office after dissolution of parliament was meant to advantage ministers, Kafwaya said no minister was allowed to campaign using government resources except for the President and the Vice-President.

“My ministry is the one responsible for motor vehicles and it is not permissible [to use government resources to campaign]. The only person who will be eligible to use government resources to campaign is His Excellency the President and Her Honour the Vice President. All of us must use our own resources [even if we remain in office],” said Kafwaya.