National Democratic Congress leader Chishimba Kambwili says he will not stop speaking for the Zambian people even though government is squeezing his businesses.
And Kambwili has described President Edgar Lungu’s press conference as a sheer waste of time and mere comedy.
At his press conference, Friday, President Lungu said Kambwili had complained to him that his businesses were suffering.
“I didn’t know that Chishimba Kambwili was in the crowd; the priest called me, we shook hands and the newspapers said that ‘we reconciled’. I have got no issues with Chishimba Kambwili, save that he’s offended some people, including members of my family by calling me a thief, corrupt person and a drug dealer. To cut a long story short, after the meeting, the priest saw it fit to call us in his office and there, I told him what I’ve said: ‘you can’t reconcile with me even if the Church wishes that will be the case because I’ve got no issues with you; it’s you who has got issues with me. So, if you say I am thief, you should lay the evidence that I am a thief, corrupt person, I am drug dealer…if I was a private person, I would have sued you!’ Those were my words. And then, I promised the Father that I would not talk about this matter because his response to my position was that, he’s suffering! His family and businesses have suffered! And I told him, I said, ‘your family and business interests are suffering because of your mouth!” narrated President Lungu, as journalists erupted in laughter.
“And I explained further by saying that, ‘your mouth is so negative that people who want to work with you fear that they would be perceived to be supporting your cause and so some of them have been ignoring business association and interests with you; it’s not to do with me because I know what it means to suffer blackout or sanctions in that manner.’ So, I don’t know whether you can say that was a reconciliation or not. After that, we left. I would rather reconcile with everybody. But you make peace with yourself first; find out whether what you are saying is truthful or not, if not, retract.”
But in an interview, Kambwili said President Lungu’s remarks confirmed that the state was squeezing his businesses.
“So I am extremely disappointed that the President can come out in that way more especially attacking me personally. Even the differences between me and Edgar Lungu are not personal, but it is the way the country is being run, his conduct and his official capacity as President. I have nothing personal against him! If he is celebrating my family suffering as a result of government destroying my businesses so be it. But I will never keep quiet. I will never stop talking, I am not the type. And I will never sink so low to go and disclose what I discussed with him in that meeting with the priest. By the way the priest asked that whatever we discussed here remained here and I will keep my integrity honoring what the priest said asking us not disclose what we had discussed; because that was personal between him and I, and for him to become personal and disparage me in the manner he did, I can only say it is unfortunate,” Kambwili said.
“That is a proper admission that he and his government have squeezed my businesses, proper admission because of my mouth, because of speaking on behalf of the people of Zambia. Let me make it very clear; squeeze or no squeeze, I will put more volume. I can only advise him Zambians will never accept a third term! He better think about that very seriously because he will be bruised and embarrassed.”
He wondered why President Lungu didn’t complain about his “bad mouth” when he was still in the ruling party.
“Tell him that when I was defending him, when I was campaigning for him, it was a good mouth. But today when I talk for the people of Zambia it becomes a bad month, thank you very much. When I was his Information Minister defending him, defending government the mouth was a good. Today because I am speaking on behalf of the people of Zambia my mouth is bad. And because of my mouth I should suffer, my businesses must be closed. We only leave it to God to decide. I have said it and I want to say it again, political office is not in perpetuity, he will get out of office one day and I will come back and do my business. They owe me money, where they have instructed not to pay me, I don’t mind. Time will come, it is my money, I worked for it. So it is very unfortunate that the President can speak in that way,” he said.
“I only leave it to the people of Zambia to see what type of a leader that we have. Because if I disclose what we had discussed in that meeting, he will be embarrassed! And I will not sink so low. It is actually embarrassing, imagine the whole world hearing a President saying ‘if you talk too much on national issues your business must be destroyed. No, ‘you can only have political rallies if there are elections’ and yet him he goes around and holds rallies. The PF go around to hold rallies what is he telling us?”
And Kambwili described President Lungu’s press briefing as a sheer waste of time.
“The press conference was a waste of time! Here is a man who has not spoken and addressed the nation on so many issues and whatever he said was not inspiring. There is nothing that anybody can say that the President has spoken to the county and that we are going to expect any change in the way things are done. First and foremost, he never gave us a period in which we expect load shedding to come to an end. He never even specified when they are going to import electricity. He never even gave us when they are going to raise the balance…because when they said they are going to pay $14 million in the next two weeks; when are they going to pay the balance to make it $40 million to make it for two months?” Kambwili asked.
“To me, that press conference was merely to tell the whole world and the nation that President Lungu has never been ready to be President and that he is not fit to be President. Sometimes we even blame the people who are in [State House], what do they advise him? For him to come out the way he has come out in that press briefing. Wonders will never cease in this country. Sometimes we even say ‘kwena we are to blame’ because he told us that he had no vision; and some of us helped him to say ‘but no what he means to say that he has no vision is that the party has a vision, we have a manifesto as a party’. I think by and large what he is using now is his visionless vision.”
He described President Lungu sentiments at the press conference as comedy.
“How can a President speak like that? When we were in opposition with Mr Sata, we never stopped holding political rallies. We would lose elections today the following morning we would go back and thank the people. Who said political rallies can only be there when there are campaigns? So that is why I am saying what he said yesterday was comedy! It is Tom and Jerry or it is Mr Fawlty Towers! Because there was nothing Presidential about his conduct and what he said. I am advising him as his friend he must learn to prepare himself for such national events. He is better off not even holding a press briefing or whatever he called it other than coming to expose himself the way he did. Everything he said there as far as I am concerned is comedy, is Fawlty Towers, Tom and Jerry to say the least,” said Kambwili.