Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya has ridiculed those accusing President Edgar Lungu of being a tribalist saying the Head of State’s joke against UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema should not be misconstrued for tribalism.

Speaking at a joint press briefing with Higher Education Minister Dr Brian Mushimba in Lusaka, Wednesday, Siliya, President Lungu was not a tribalist.

“We want to ridicule those that are trying to accuse president Lungu of being a tribalist and that he is not supporting the people of Southern Province. President Edgar Lungu’s political jest against his opponent president Hakainde should not be misconstrued for tribalism. I can give you actual figures because sometimes people with the freedom of expression in this country, people like to go on radio and to newspapers and talk without facts. Right now, Southern Province has the highest number of projects, beating any province in this country. There are 99 health posts that are being constructed in Southern and number two, I think is Eastern Province with 56. The major infrastructure project, the Kazungula Bridge, the rehabilitation of the Kariba dam, the 700 mega watts lower Kafue Hydro power station [and] that is in Southern Province,” Siliya said.

“Beyond just infrastructure, Southern Province has seen the highest investment in terms of aqua-culture which is direct service delivery to the people. We have accelerated the program for communication towers in Southern Province. Even when you speak to DMMU in terms of relief food, no province has been in the media more than Southern Province for the need for relief food. The president has been on ground. And even the electrification program in Dundumwezi is in Southern Province.”

Siliya insisted that government was committed to fight against corruption.

“And I keep saying that let us put the fight against corruption in context. A perception is different from reality. And I have figures here from the Anti-Corruption Commission, In 2014, the Anti-Corruption Commission had over 2, 080 cases reported to them, in 2015 they had 1, 719 cases reported, in 2016 they had 1, 349 cases report, in 2017 they had 968 cases reported, in 2018 980 cases reported and in 2019 only 417 cases reported. Now, reporting and it being a fact are two different things. Out of the ones in 2013, the 1, 987 cases reported, only 439 merited investigation and even after investigation, only 32 were taken to court. If you look at 2019, 417 cases were reported between January and now to the Anti-Corruption Commission. Only 58 have merited investigations by the Anti-Corruption themselves saying ‘this is just rumor mongering’ and out of this, between January and June, only seven have been taken to court. Now instead of being congratulated we just hear that ‘government is corrupt,” said Siliya.