NATIONAL Democratic Congress (NDC) president Chishimba Kambwili says ministers and mayors are not medical personnel who should involve themselves with screening citizens for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Kambwili says the cancellation of Prime Television’s broadcasting license is the beginning of the Patriotic Front’s strategy to rig the 2021 general elections.

In an interview, Kambwili said it was dangerous to try and gain political mileage from the pandemic because everyone was at risk and it was best to leave certain functions to qualified personnel.

“They want to play politics! You find ba Mayor with a thermometer bale pima abantu (they’re testing people) is that what you need? Because that Mayor is even exposing himself. A Mayor, a District Commissioner, a Minister are not medical personal to start going to road blocks and start screening people. That is cheap political mileage that they are trying to gain over this deadly disease. I can warn them that one of them will contract this disease and die because they are playing with disease,” Kambwili warned.

“How can a Mayor, two Ministers go start checking people at a road block? There are people who are trained to that with correct equipment; mere checking of a driver’s temperature will not tell you if he has COVID or not; we need proper COVID tests. People have temperatures for different things, so merely checking a temperature will not fight COVID… I saw my young sister Kampamba Mulenga, Alexander Chiteme and Kitwe Mayor all at the road blocks spraying people hand sanitizer; that is exciting COVID! If you have nothing to do Minister and DC, please stay in your homes. Look at what has happened in Botswana, the entire Cabinet, MPs have been quarantined because they were exposed to someone who had the disease. You all want to behave like Bowman Lusambo because he is going round that he is working, now every Minister wants to do the same. When they say Ministers get involved; DC get involved they are simply commandeering your health personal, the public health personnel in your area, traditional leaders to disseminate information not that the Minister go and get involved at road blocks. God help us!”

And Kambwili said Zambia had become a Banana Republic where a minister could whip citizens while the President was watching.

“Have you ever seen a Minister in Bostwana or South Africa going to bar to check? What kind of a country are we? That is why this country will forever suffer because we believe that ifya bupuba efi panga sense (foolish things are the ones that make sense). A Minister is beating people and the President is there, you are watching; people are being beaten against the constitution; the constitution does not allow for corporal punishment for heaven sake! How can people be beaten by a Minister and the police officers and the President is quiet? We have become a Banana Republic and a laughing stock in the entire region and in the world. President Lungu please provide leadership!” Kambwili said.

Meanwhile, Kambwili said the cancellation of Prime TV’s broadcasting license was the beginning of the PF’s strategy to rig the 2021 general elections.

“When you invoke the provision that deals with cancelling of licenses in public interest, the reason must be of an issue to do with that institution being involved in promoting terrorism and promoting issues that disturb the peace and also criminality. When you invoke Article 29 (I), (J) and (K) there must be proof that a particular TV station has been promoting terrorism, promoting issues that are going to disturb the peace and security of the country and also threatening the sovereignty of the country. It does not operate in abstract; there must be a reason to prove that a particular TV station was involved in one of those things that I have mentioned. Without that, you cannot close a TV station in public interest. In fact, what IBA has done is closing Prime TV against public interest because already you have heard there is an outcry from the general public on the closure of Prime TV,” Kambwili said.

“Prime TV has been one of the Television stations that provide citizens with a voice from the opposition political parties. As you know, government has been denying the opposition an opportunity to be holding rallies, even permits to hold indoor meetings. So the only platform that the opposition is able to reach out the masses out there is through programmes on Prime TV. Now those programmes have also been curtailed. This is against the principles of democracy and good governance and it is tantamount to gaging and intimidating the press. So the Board acted against the provisions of the Constitution. What has happened to Prime TV is what can be described as a black day for Zambia and we know that this is the beginning of rigging the 2021 elections.”

Kambwili further called on the international community to pressurize the Zambian government into rescinding its decision against Prime TV.

“I call upon the diplomatic community to put pressure on Zambia, I call upon the donors to put pressure on Zambia. The international community; SADC, UN and African Union, please put pressure on President Lungu and his government to reopen Prime TV and stop intimidating the media. The media is a fourth estate. And for you in other media, you must know that if you don’t fight this injustice against your colleagues at Prime TV, tomorrow it will be you that they will close. So don’t let PF get away with this injustice,” said Kambwili.