NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili has charged that the incoherence of statements over the pardoning of prisoners on the presidents birthday is proof that there is a chipante pante govt in place.
On Monday, State House Press Aide Isaac Chipampe announced in a statement that the President had pardoned 5 prisoners from various correctional facilities to mark his 63rd birthday.
“To mark His 63rd Birthday which falls today, His Excellency Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu has pardoned five inmates from various correctional facilities. The President has pardoned Chief Mulongwe, Former Minister in the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) Government Maxwell Mwale, Journalist Derrick Sinjela, Afumba Mombofwa, and former Zambia Airforce Commander Christopher Singogo. The President’s action is in line with Article 97 of the Constitution of Zambia Chapter (l) of the Laws of Zambia which provides for Presidential Pardon and Substitution of Severe Punishments imposed on the convicted,” read the statement.
But later the same day, Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo during a press briefing announced only 4 names leaving out Mombofwa, and when asked, the minister said his statement superseded the earlier statement issued by State House.
“The list I have given is the final official list and I am sure you are aware, over the years you have come here yourself as a senior journalist any pardons, are released in this manner just like I have done. That’s the official list that you should take. It’s signed by me here so if there was any other statement, maybe, it’s overtaken by this one that I have released,” said Kampyongo.
And in an interview, Kambwili noted that there was no consultation over the matter as a minister’s statement can never supersede that of the President.
“It is a sign of an uncoordinated government and if a government is uncoordinated it simply means they have failed to govern. I mean, its confusion of the worst kind that state house which is the Presidency, announces that we have pardoned 5 prisoners and the Minister of Home Affairs says ‘no we have only pardoned 4 and my statement supersedes the statement from state house’. Sure how can a ministers statement supersede the State House [statement] which is the Presidency because the minister operates under the President. This means there was no consultation and what kind of a government is this government which doesn’t consult. I have said and I want to say it again, this government is chipante pante government,” he charged.
“And you see, God the way he operates, he will not come and tell you that these people have failed, he will just bring calamity, mistakes that people must see that this government is tired and God is no longer interested in them and that the favor of God has moved away from them. This is what is happening, in my language they say Lesa nga alefwaya uku fumya umuntu pa chifulo, ala mu lowa ichilafi pa kutila fyonse ifyo alechita fibe ifya lubana (when God wants to remove someone from a position, He strikes him with forgetfulness to make mistakes). You can see that the person does not know what they are doing. This is what is happening.”
Kambwili however sympathized with the prisoner who has been left behind describing the act as torture of the worst kind.
“It’s unfortunate that the other prisoner who has been left is being tortured because when you are informed that you are going to be pardoned by the President and later on you hear a minister say that ‘you have not been pardoned’, its torture of the worst kind. So we must think of others, do unto others what you want them to do unto you. So it’s quite unfortunate that we have a situation like this in our country coming from the government,” said Kambwili.