IN THIS video, Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo says the News Diggers headline which alleged that he was in quarantine was injurious to him and his family.
The minister goes on to say the claim that he was in quarantine is tantamount to him going on Radio to allege that he saw News Diggers editor-in-chief Joseph Mwenda collecting ARVs and he is slim because he is HIV positive.
Kampyongo was reacting to a News Diggers story which revealed that he was one of the top government officials that were quarantined as a precautionary measure after being possibly exposed to the virus while in Namibia.
“For you, our colleagues in the media, you imagine coming here on a very big platform to say, ‘no, Mr Joseph Mwenda, who was at The Post, now at [News] Diggers!…I saw him at the clinic collecting ARVs and I think that’s why he has gone slim, he is HIV positive,’ can you imagine? How many people would take that and how much impact it would have on Mr Mwenda’s family? So, we have to be responsible, we are public figures, not that we are super human beings, we all get through these conditions and when we do, it’s just important that the general public gets to know,” Kampyongo said during Hot FM’s breakfast show, Friday morning.
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The Ministry of Health in its update today however confirmed that Kampyongo was in quarantine and had just been released.
He, however, thanked his well-wishers, including his wife, whom he said had a negative experience at work.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank those, our followers, that were concerned and sending best wishes through, I want to thank them and assure them that we are here at their service; those doom sayers who seemed to have been celebrating, they still have us, unfortunately, with them. And I also just want to thank Mrs Kampyongo because she also had a fair share of this negative experience. You know, she’s a public servant, who turns up for work and everybody is running away and she hasn’t seen the headline, you can imagine…now, of course, I had to do the test together with her yesterday (Thursday) so that she can be at peace as well,” Kampyongo said.
And Kampyongo called on Zambians to be responsible and avoid defying government directives to avoid spreading the COVID-19 virus.
“So, we have got people pretending to have closed the bar, then they want to go and meet behind, but you know the nature of beer, you say, ‘no, we are going to hide, we can be the four of us like this, when we start drinking.’ Next thing, the voices will start going up! So, we don’t want to get to the extent of getting people smoked out with tear smokes when they are being defiant, we expect people to be responsible enough!” he cautioned.
He announced that government was in the process of procuring protective equipment for men and women in uniform.
“We are providing sensitization programmes to the Police Service, and, of course, when you say in the vans, unfortunately, we have to do with what we have right now. But of course, we, in the process, have procured some vehicles, which are on the way for them to use for operations. We are also mobilizing protective wear for them so that even as they are going to do their work, they are able to be protected as well, and that’s why it’s very difficult for some of us to be in the comfort zone; when your men and women are 24/7 on the front-line, talk about Immigration. We have gotten them buses, they are on the way from Dar es Salaam and we hope they will be arriving at the right time because the movement of our officers is a major concern to us,” Kampyongo added.
He called for a stop to the mounting of police checkpoints in residential areas.
“Those who are mounting checkpoints in residential areas, for example, must stop, even before the Coronavirus thing, I have been very clear and I think members of the public, please bring out these complaints, I have always said, police service is a public institution, which is subject to scrutiny by members of the public. Coming to the checkpoints, we are certainly going to emphasize that they only mount those important ones, you have seen everywhere in the country, the way we are regulating movements, even when we have said certain people must not move, people must not be filled up in their buses, you know that people are defying, people have got the propensity to be defiant! So, in as much as we would like them to cut down on these checkpoints, it’s very important that monitor the behaviour of our people,” he said.
“Very soon, I will be sharing with the public our migration to what we are calling ‘Smart City’ arrangement of security, you have in some areas some cameras being mounted in different locations, that will be the solution to this historical problem that we have had of having police officers standing at different points, now we are going to have these installations, which will have command centres with officers sitting to monitor all the roads. For example, here in Lusaka, they will be monitoring and they will have officer at strategic points, who will be able to react to certain misconduct on the roads. This is how we are going to get rid of complaints of police officers hiding behind a certain tree and then they flash you and say, ‘you are over-speeding’ and next thing you have this thing of exchanging monies.”
Meanwhile, Kampyongo acknowledged Hichilema’s donation and pledged to receive it.
“We have acknowledged and we are grateful to the UPND for their gesture and even my president wouldn’t have a problem with such a gesture because this time around, we need every stakeholder and that’s why I am thanking everyone who has already been on board. So, we have acknowledged that gesture and we are grateful to the UPND and I have confirmed with the secretary general (Stephen Katuka) that I will be ready to receive the donations myself on the 10th of April and the place to receive donations has been communicated. So, those who want to augment government efforts are welcome,” said Kampyongo.
“We have equally responded to that letter and acknowledged some of the proposals put in place. For us, it was just one proposal like talking about setting up a committee of people that should sit to scrutinize people that should be considered for release, but we have also guided him (Hichilema) that that undertaking is provided for in the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia. Article 76 of the Constitution gives power to the President to appoint what is an Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy, which used to be chaired by the Vice-President (Inonge Wina) before 2018 and now it is chaired by the Ministry of Home Affairs and deputized by the Minister of Justice (Given Lubinda) and other board members.”