PF Deputy Parliamentary Chief Whip Tutwa Ngulube has warned retired Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu to stay away from politics or he will be dealt with politically.

Archbishop Mpundu, during Prime TV’s Oxygen of Democracy programme last Monday, said Zambia was plagued with unbridled corruption and described the country as no longer being a democracy, but a kleptocracy ruled by thieves.

“This country is plagued with unbridled corruption and this has permeated on all the facets of our life. Many citizens, when they borrow a phrase from Nigerians…you know, Nigerians are very expressive in their languages, they are colourful, they jokingly refer to democracy as not a democracy, but a kleptocracy. A kleptocracy is a dispensation, whereby you have a government of thieves, by thieves and for thieves. That is bad, very bad! Everyone is talking about it. I have never heard of things like these before. When we come to our situation, it is very clear that this is corruption at the highest level; things are coming out; it is not things that we are digging up, no. They’re coming up. A minister is found to be guilty, ‘no, I can’t throw him out’. Why can’t you throw him out?” wondered Archbishop Mpundu.

But in an interview in Lusaka, Ngulube accused Archbishop Mpundu of being a UPND sympathizer and advised him to join active politics if he wanted to comment on politics.

“People like Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu, we all know where he stands. We all know where he stands and which political party he is supporting. He is opposition. He is clearly a UPND sympathizer. That is why he wants to oppose everything that government is doing and they are speaking the same language with the UPND, meaning that they are one. In fact, Bishop Telesphore Mpundu should just stay away from politics; it will be nice if he could just remain a clergyman, he will remain respected,” Ngulube said.

“But he has started getting himself in the mud; he is joining a battle that he can’t finish. My advice to the Bishop is for him to stay away from politics. If he wants to stand, let him announce his political intentions so that we can take him on politically because if he is a clergyman, but still meddling in politics, it is clear then he has joined a wrong battle and we must deal with him in the manner that we deal with fellow political opponents.”

He insisted that any stakeholder who criticized the PF government of being corrupt had failed to substantiate their claims.

And Ngulube accused the UPND of using the fight against corruption as a campaign gimmick to enter State House in 2021.

“If you have noticed the way the PF has put stringent laws to help us fight corruption, the government has showed political will. We can start with the Public Finance Act that was passed to stop civil servants from stealing money from the government. When you talk about the Financial Intelligence Centre, the installation of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) board and so on. The government has actually shown goodwill in terms of the fight against corruption. And 90 per cent of the people who are making allegations of corruption have not even reported it, they have never even bothered to produce evidence,” argued Ngulube.

“We have seen the UPND wanting to ride on anything that they see as taking them to State House. That is why on one hand, they will cry about corruption, but on the other hand, they are failing, actually, to substantiate. You will recall in 2014, 2015, the UPND MPs got CDF (Constituency Development Funds) money and gave one of their members in the UK to say that he will supply them with graders. That guy has never supplied those graders and that is corruption alone. They want to pretend that they’re clean, that they have never been involved in any of these things. So, it just a ploy to try and enter government.”