Former State House permanent Secretary Emmanuel Chilubanama has apologized to the PF for causing confusion in the party through an interview which he gave to Prime TV.
But Chilubanama has accused Prime TV for misquoting him, saying he never uttered the words “President Edgar Lungu is fatigued and must go and start farming”.
Addressing the press after the disciplinary hearing, Friday, PF Lusaka provincial chairman Paul Moonga said Chilubanama refuted the statement attributed to him.
“The agenda was to do with one of the members of our party, the former PS for State House, Emmanuel Chilubanama with the utterances which appeared on Prime TV where it’s alleged that he, Emmanuel Chilubanama told Prime TV that President Lungu is tired, fatigued and must go and do farming. We have interrogated Emmanuel Chilubanama here as a party which believes in democracy that he must be heard on the allegation. We also thank him for appearing before the committee this afternoon,” Moonga said.
Moonga said the committee refused to view the video footage which Chilubanama has brought to it saying that there is no way a suspect can come with evidence.
“After serious interrogation with our brother here, he has now turned to Prime TV that they are liars [and] that he will say it himself. And he said he has footage which we have refused to look at because an accused person cannot bring evidence before the court at this point in time. And at an optune time also we shall ask Prime TV to give us the footage so that we can study it properly before we can come up with the final decision as to what we will do with our brother,” Moonga said.
And Moonga challenged Chilubanama to publicly call Prime TV liars.
“As you have seen outside here, we have people from as far as Rufunsa, Chongwe, Kafue, Chiyawa and the who Lusaka are here asking the office of the provincial chairman that our brother here must be expelled from the party. But we are a democratic party and we want to give him a fair trial and fair justice. So I will ask Chilubanama so also tell members of the press that which he said that Prime TV is a liar because if I say it, Prime TV might take me to court when I have no evidence. Let Chilubanama himself call Prime TV liars not me Paul Moonga,” Moonga said.
And in his statement, Chilubanama said he would remain PF up to his grave and urged Prime TV to apologize for misquoting him.
“For your record [Prime TV], I have written to your station manager and the rest will follow. I am PF and I will be PF until my grave. I am someone who wishes to foster peace [and] love, unity, and reconciliation and that is why I am before this gathering. In the same vein, the committee has taken steps, there is procedure [and] I am also going about it the way I deem fit. If you don’t issue an apology, something else will follow,” Chilubanama said.
He apologized to the provincial committee and the party at large for his utterances which he said had landed in wrong hands.
“On that material day, I gave a personal interview, not on behalf of the party, to Prime TV, the Muvi TV and the mast. What I categorically said following a question that I was asked on the take of my President’s prolonged rule. I said and I wish to repeat [and] Prime TV please report verbatim, I said if the President so deems it fit that ‘I have ran my race, I have fought my fight and I wish to stand aside and pass on the mantle to someone else,’ I said I will respect that. If the boss says ‘yes gentlemen I wish to go and do farming, I could have said I wish to go and do farming, basically so. Maybe it was the word and terminology used. And I wished and again I am saying before Prime TV that if you reported verbatim of what I said, we could not be where we are today,” Chilubanama said.
“And then I said if he says he will run again, I will be the first one to support him because I am law-abiding and I love my party. That is in the footage that was aired. Again, how possible is it that on the same interview, same place and the same time, three media houses reported different stories? Gentlemen I appeal to you that you have the capacity to divide the nation and you have the capacity to polarize the nation. The duty and onus is on you to cover politicians and properly. Do not censor to suit your own ulterior motives. I know now that maybe some media houses have ulterior motives to demean and de-campaign. On that score, I am tendering an apology to the provincial committee, a family [which] I belong to [that] yes, my utterances could have landed in wrong hands and taken differently by different quarters of society and the party. My family, I wish to say I am sorry and mitigatory measures will be taken to ensure that this party continues to be united and work together as one united force.”
And speaking later when he addressed officials from various districts within the province, Moonga said Chilubanama remained a suspect as the case was still very active, pending investigations.
“There shall be no controversy in Lusaka because we already have a candidate who is President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and come 2021, we shall fill all the seats because the people have said so. We came here for one issue. We are investigating one of our member for the issue which came to the Prime TV. We have done our investigation [but] we have not finished. The matter is still very alive and we have interviewed him to bring a written statement next week. We are going ahead to get footage from Prime TV to see if what they have told us will tally. We have not said he is free. He is not guilty but he just a suspect. We are a democratic party and every member will be given an opportunity to be heard,” said Moonga.