FORMER Defense Minister George Mpombo has condemned Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo’s style of leadership, saying planting fear in the minds of people is not fighting the COVID-19 pandemic but a set back.

And Mpombo says it is baffling and mind boggling that the minister’s appointing authority has remained silent about this.

In an interview, Mpombo appreciated Lusambo’s zeal to fight covid-19 but encouraged him to do so within the confines of the law.

“It’s politically and morally unjustifiable for a government minister to behave in a manner of a loose political cannon and unleash an incredible pile of distractive political pandemonium and melodrama, all in the distorted view of fighting COVID-19. This conduct amounts to political asphyxiating mischief and pantomime. Planting fear in minds of the people is not fighting COVID-19 but a set back against the fight. What is baffling and mind boggling about this whole bunch of malarkey is the conspicuous silence of the appointing authority,” Mpombo said.

Mpombo observed that Lusambo’s conduct had capacity to bring anarchy in the country if left unchecked.

“The minister’s zeal to fight COVID-19 is appreciated but should be done within the confines of the law, his vow to side step and usurp the police in defiance of the law will open flood gates to anarchy in the nation. Zambia’s justice system is anchored on the principle of ‘Government of Laws and not Men’ which applies equally to all regardless of their positions or party affiliations and this what makes nations great. Recently, President Trump [of the United States of America] falsely claimed that he had total authority as US president over the coronavirus lock down but was quickly challenged by the constitution and he backpedaled because no one is above the law,” he said

“The government is legalizing an illegality by condoning the minister’s extraterrestrial political activities, Lusambo doesn’t have those powers. I myself served as Provincial Minister for Southern and Copperbelt Provinces, [and I can tell you that] no minister has power over state Police but his own platoon of messengers.”

Mpombo said ministers were supposed to bridge the gap between government and the people by building trust.

“The government can add the much needed impetus to the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic brouhaha encouraging ministers to be major stakeholders in the citizen-led community responses, including neighbourhood volunteer groups and neighbourhood associations, clergy, teachers or others helping to inform of the risks and needed steps. In short, ministers should serve as fulcrum of partnership between government and communities by deliberating, developing trust and humility,” said Mpombo.