Tourism and Arts minister Ronald Chitotela has disclosed that he used to cry the whole night when he was arrested and charged for alleged corruption and would ask God “why me”.
And Chitotela has said those planning to have him fired from the Ministry of Tourism would be first casualties of the works of a “casual worker”.
Meanwhile, Chitotela says the Luapula United story was a fiction as members of parliament from that area often meet only to discuss the development of the province.
Speaking on 5 FM’s The Burning issue programme, Thursday, Chitotela said he knew how it felt to be accused of corruption and would not wish it on any of his friends.
“I am an example of being accused of corruption and I know what it does to the persona. I could cry the whole night and ask God ‘why me’. We would be praying and my daughter would tell me ‘no dad, don’t say why me, otherwise you will be sinning against God. Instead, say try me.’ Even when I was called to go to court, I asked them ‘are you sure I am liable…?’ And they said let’s go to court, and I went to court. I kept quiet. I prayed to God and God said ‘my son, it is dark before dawn, hold on and pray.’ And I said ‘let me pray, serve and prove my innocence’. I sat in the accused box with other accused persons my name changed from either honorable Chitotela or Elder Chitotela to accused number one. It was a torture-some process. I can tell you, as a Christian and a public figure, I would not want my friend to undergo that process. That is why I have said let bygones be bygones. I have prayed and forgiven everybody,” Chitotela said.
And Chitotela said there was no truth in stories about the “Luapula United” as all members of parliament from that province were loyal to President Edgar Lungu.
“I can speak on behalf of my fellow members of parliament from Luapula. 120 per cent are loyal to President Edgar Lungu. Maybe our competitors in politics know that Luapula is very united as PF is very strong. So the only way we can try to divide them is to cause confusion. The person who created that is a political genius and obviously sat down to analyze and said PF is strong and our brothers and sisters, the residents of Luapula, are so united for the good cause of PF. And they are so united towards President Lungu and the only way we can create confusion is to create a fiction story and say Luapula United. And you know if a lie is told 100 times without a challenge, it becomes true,” Chitotela said.
“The team we have…because we are among the few members of parliament who meet. We have a Luapula Caucus meeting to plan for the development of Luapula, to push for capital projects. During independence, Luapula was the third richest province.Today, we are sitting on the bottom. We are the poorest. We don’t want to associate ourselves with poverty. After our tenure of office, what are we going to account for to our children to say the time we were given a mandate to run as MPs, this is what we did? We have come up with a programme to promote investments and industrialization of Luapula Province. We often meet to discuss ideas.”
And speaking during the PF interactive media forum in Lusaka yesterday, Chitotela said he had heard stories about how people were planning to have him dismissed from the tourism ministry, just as they did to Sylvia Masebo and William Harrington.
“I was told to say ‘minister, be careful. People in the department are planning to say ise kuno tipishisha bantu nchito, Harrington tinamuchosesa, Masebo tinamuchosesa so naeve tizamuchosesa’. So ninakamba ati pamene bakalibe kunichosesa, I’m a casual worker so tizaona and casual workers cause a lot of casualties on the way. But that is not to say we’ll victimise people,” said Chitotela who reiterated that it was sad that people fabricated stories about him just after his appointment as tourism minister.