Democratic Party leader Harry Kalaba says Ministry of Information permanent secretary Chanda Kasolo is too junior to respond to German Ambassador to Zambia Achim Burkart.
During a press briefing, Wednesday, Kasolo accused Ambassador Burkart of attempting to incite Zambians to rise against government after the German Envoy was quoted in an online article written by former First Secretary for Press at Zambia’s Mission in Brazil Patson Chilemba, as having said that there would be an uproar in Germany if the Head of State there behaved in the same manner as President Edgar Lungu who is questioning the Constitutional Court ruling ordering ministers to repay the money they illegally accrued through their illegal stay in office.
“The remarks are uncalled for and a gross interference in the internal affairs of the country. They are also a violation of the diplomatic etiquette which requires that diplomats respect the sovereignty of countries in which they are serving. We view the statement as a covert way of inciting Zambians to rise against their government, which government finds undiplomatic and totally unacceptable. His Excellency the German ambassador is well aware of the availability of diplomatic channels through which he can raise any issues of concern, as opposed to talking to the media in the manner he did. Government is sometimes taken aback at the tendency by some diplomats to paint our issues darker than theirs back home. The fact of the matter is that there is that there are enough and bigger challenges in Europe which should remind one to first remove the log in their own eye before seeking to remove a speck from another’s eye,” said Kasolo
But in an interview, Kalaba, who is also former foreign affairs minister, noted that that there was no regard for procedure in government because everyone was trying to please the President..
“The point is Chanda Kasolo is not chief government spokesperson, that is one. Secondly, Chanda Kasolo is too junior to talk about the German Ambassador. Even if the German Ambassador had made a mistake, it was not Chanda Kasolo who can do it, that is why there are departments, there are ministries in government. It should have been the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign Affairs has got a directorate which is solely responsible for issues like that but because in this government, people don’t want to even respect each other’s name, each one is falling on another so that they can be seen to make a name in front of the President, that’s where the problem is,” Kalaba said.
“The German Envoy is talking about the experience in his own country, he is not saying ‘as Zambians you do this’, he is saying ‘in Germany’, we give examples like I have always been saying, ‘in Rwanda they have done this, in Kenya they have done this, in what they have done this’, if you give an example it doesn’t mean that this is what is obtaining. I would advise my brother to just keep quiet, let Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is not even heard these days, let it take up its rightful role and begin dealing with diplomats in line with the Vienna Convention.”
He insisted that Kasolo was “offside”.
“So for me, Chanda Kasolo is offside. He should manage himself and with him, I think it is important that he shouldn’t try to over please President Lungu because we know that he never supported President Lungu in the beginning and he knows that himself. He doesn’t even believe in President Lungu! They say the first cut is the deepest. Mr Chanda Kasolo was made permanent secretary by Dr [Guy] Scott at the time that Lungu was ascending to the presidency and his role was to punish the media, his role was to prevent anything that was pro-Lungu. So he doesn’t even believe in the man he is trying to advocate for now,” said Kalaba.