DEMOCRATIC Party president Harry Kalaba says Topstar wants to help PF to continue being in power by blacking out Prime Television from its platform so that people can only watch ZNBC.
And Kalaba has proposed a lockdown of provinces in the country that have recorded cases of the COVID-19, so as to prevent further spread of the virus.
Further, the former Foreign Affairs minister says government officials that were exposed to the virus should not keep it as a secret, but come in the open so as to bring awareness to citizens.
Speaking when he featured on 5FM’s ‘Burning Issue’ program, Thursday, Kalaba said it was illogical for government to black out a major television station in the face of the Coronavirus outbreak.
He was reacting to Topstar’s decision to remove Prime Television from all its platforms in accordance with Information Minister Dora Siliya’s directive that all government entities should cease any business with the station.
Kalaba said this was an attempt by Topstar to help PF’s prolonged stay in power.
“In any case, Topstar itself is our creation as the Zambian people. It’s not for Topstar to take that decision. I said it last time that Topstar wants to help PF to continue being in government, we will not allow them unfortunately. Because what they want to do is to black out Prime TV so that Zambians who are on Topstar can stop following Prime TV and only begin watching ZNBC. They are forcing us on a diet we have rejected and we won’t allow that. Even the timing is wrong,” he said.
Kalaba added that leadership was about forgiveness, adding that government can’t insist on fighting an individual company when there was an issue of COVID-19, which was bigger.
“He (Shawa) apologised even though he was not supposed to apologise. I watch Prime TV everyday, thats the news I listen to. I don’t listen to ZNBC crap. He apologised and said ‘we have began running the adverts’. Ministry of Health gave them the advert and they are running it. Leadership means forgiving and forgetting. We can’t be fighting personal battles with individual companies when we have COVID-19 to fight, which is a bigger thing. You can’t insist on fighting an individual company when we have the poverty levels growing everyday,” he said.
“You can’t afford, as government, to go petty and begin following an individual or a company up to their premises. Government is a parent. So I don’t know what law madam Siliya is using. Madam Siliya should learn, she is a bad student of history. A tribunal in this country was crafted because of madam Siliya and she survived a tribunal. What legacy does she want to leave behind?”
Meanwhile, Kalaba called on Zambians to put differences aside and work with government to ensure that COVID-19 was defeated.
“This is time for all of us to rally around a common purpose. Which is to ensure that COVID-19 is thoroughly defeated. My appeal to everyone in Zambia is that let’s ensure that this time we don’t politic anyhow because there are some issues which are not for politics. Let us see the efforts that government is putting in place. Let us see if we can amplify those efforts. If we have differences, let them come out when we have fought this common enemy called COVID-19. Because if we don’t hold hands now and speak different languages, it will be difficult for us to bring our people together. This disease kills and doesn’t spare anyone,” Kalaba said.
And Kalaba proposed a lockdown of provinces that had recorded COVID-19 cases so as to prevent further spread of the virus.
“My proposition would be that because of the economic situation we are in as a country, we would have been locking ourselves up province by province. For instance Lusaka has recorded COVID-19 cases. Lusaka itself should go into lockdown so that you leave other provinces. And if you hear that Luapula Province or Northern Province has a case, again you go and lockdown that province so that you don’t allow this disease to spread. If we can’t go national lockdown, then the provincial lockdowns will help us in that we will begin to contain the virus within our areas,” he said.
Kalaba further asked traditional leaders, church leaders and other stakeholders to get involved in the fight against the virus.
“What needs to be done much more is sensitisation on our part but much more on government part. We need to see government being very proactive because just announcing that ‘today we have 24 cases, the other day 32 cases’ that doesn’t mean anything. What will mean something is to tell us that ‘now government printing department has been told to begin printing information on COVID-19 in all the languages in our country’,” said Kalaba.