Information Minister Dora Siliya says the UPND should stop hallucinating and be factual when talking about corruption because its denting the country’s image.
And Siliya says President Edgar Lungu did not break the law by swearing in Finance Minister Bwalya Nga’ndu as Cabinet Minister before he was sworn in as a member of parliament by the Speaker of the National Assembly.
Meanwhile, Siliya has condemned the attack on Justice Minister Given Lubinda who was beaten by suspected PF cadres in Kabwata last week.
When asked to respond to UPND president Hakainde Hichilema’s allegations that government wanted to amend the Bank of Zambia Act to print money and use the opportunity to steal money, Siliya said Hichilema was hallucinating.
“I think my colleagues in the media should stop wasting time. There are a lot of things citizens want to hear about. Now if you just wake up today and say ‘I think that one wants to steal money’ really? What kind of a society are we going to be living in? Let’s be serious, it’s a bit baffling. I want to believe that in this country, we have accepted that there should be opposition, we have accepted, but then, there must be a clear role that they play in terms of enhancing our political, enhancing economic development it can’t just be statements from without,” Siliya said.
“This is a government of laws there are procedures in the way things are done. You don’t just wake up and have a press briefing and say ‘they want to steal money’. I know that some people are bent on destroying the image of Zambia out there. I just came back from the UK and some of the stories out there are preposterous about Zambia and it is because we generate them from here and we forget that our friends out there, no matter how political they are, they will never go anywhere and say bad things about their country. In trying to fight corruption, let’s not succumb to hallucinations and imaginary corruption, let us have facts.”
And Siliya said President Lungu did not breach the constitution by swearing in Dr Ng’andu as Finance Minister before he was sworn-in by the Speaker as an MP.
“There is no law really, that imputes that the swearing in of the minister must come after the swearing-in [in] parliament. As long as, at the time a person has been nominated by the president, at that point, they become a Member of Parliament. Section nine of the Oaths Act, in cap five of the laws of Zambia provides very clearly that that person is not hampered, as long as they have been appointed by the appointing authority [from] performing their duties, subject to any oaths they have to take. So it does not impute expressly in the laws of Zambia that this has to happen before this or that. So as long as the president who has the due authority nominated somebody and that nomination was announced. So there is no constitution or law that has been broken,” Siliya said.
Meanwhile, Siliya said government would not hesitate to bring to book the perpetrators of violence.
“Whenever there is violence, it means there is no critical thinking, it means common sense has failed. So we should always aspire to want to maintain peace. Not just for ministers only, every citizen should feel free to walk in this country, free from violence, journalists, female Journalists, youths, opposition, people in government, every citizen should feel free to walk in this country. Government condemns at the highest level an attack on any citizen particularly an attack on the Minister of Justice and I can confirm to you that the suspected perpetrators have been arrested and government will not hesitate to bring to book the perpetrators,” said Siliya.