PF DEPUTY secretary general Mumbi Phiri says there are criminals posing as cadres who are using the ruling party to engage in illicit activities.
And Phiri says the fate of those found wanting in the gold theft scandal in Mwinilunga District will be decided when the central committee meets in three weeks’ time.
Meanwhile, Phiri says the central committee will also decide on the status of the impending party convention in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking on Radio Phoenix’s Let the People Talk programme, Friday, Phiri claimed that some criminals had been using the ruling party’s name to engage in criminal activities.
Phiri was responding to a question on whether PF cadres were above the law as they had continued perpetrating criminal activities.
“We have had people, who have appeared in courts, they have been convicted, that is not true. Sometimes people use myths. I was just talking to some cadres who are calling themselves cadres, right now, there are some people who have invaded people’s land in Makeni and I think today our director administration has gone to the police and RTSA. This lady, who I can’t name on radio, she called me, she told me there are these people, who are claiming are cadres; they have come to my land, which is on title and I said, ‘do you know their leader? Do you have their number?’ She sent me the number and she told me we have even taken their number plates of the vehicles they use. Surprisingly, there is even a GRZ vehicle. I am telling you to show you how transparent we are as a party,” Phiri said.
“We are also worried that criminals are using the party! I called the provincial chairman on Thursday, he came to the office, I called that phone and I said, ‘is this one of our officials?’ He couldn’t identify that person. These are not our cadres, but they think when they say, ‘we are cadres,’ they will get away with it. But I promise you and I promised that lady that we are going to get to the bottom of this so that we root out criminals; they are the ones making politics look bad! They are the ones who are making all of us innocent people look as if they are thieves and I don’t associate myself with thieves; I can never ever cover any thief! So, they want to be relevant in the name of being a cadre; we are doing our best to root out criminals and expose them for what they are; than them belonging to political parties.”
When asked why authorities had failed to implement President Edgar Lungu’s pronouncement to weed out cadres from markets and bus stations, Phiri said cadres’ presence at these facilities remained problematic countrywide.
“It is everywhere, they have not moved! If you go to Southern Province, you will find UPND, the same situation, and I think politics, we should evolve them and we are the ones who should evolve them. This is the thing that has been happening in UNIP, MMD now it’s with PF. It’s not only PF, even UPND in there strongholds, these things are happening. I was in Parliament when a report was brought, it is the same scenario. The markets, the way you see in Lusaka, it is the same in Monze and Choma everywhere and there is UPND there,” Phiri replied.
She, however, said that the ruling party stood with Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya’s position in condemning PF cadres who harassed and disrupted radio programmes in Muchinga Province.
“The Chief Government Spokesperson has already issued a statement, and you are aware that Honourable Dora Siliya is the chairperson of media in the central committee. When she says something, it’s party and government because she is a member of the central committee. We condemn in the strongest terms and we do that. Even Mr Hakainde Hichilema, when your youths do such things, condemn them also the way our President condemns our youths. We have our chairperson for information in the central committee, who has condemned our own youths; that is what we need to see, even from you, otherwise nobody is happy about that,” she said.
“Sometimes, we should also be careful when I come on radio station, the language I use [people may] get agitated in the way you are demeaning people. I come on a radio station disrespecting, I am just giving an example, Mr Hakainde Hichilema, there are people who believe in him; he is a father, he has children then I start using vulgar language; I mean, what do I expect? We should be sober in the way we speak. We should practice mature politics. For [Siliya] to issue that statement, it covers both the party as member of the central committee and government.”
And Phiri said the fate of those found wanting in the gold theft scandal in Mwinilunga District would be decided when the central committee meets in three weeks’ time.
“What the police are doing, it’s their job, but we also have to do our job as a party. In our party, we have lost members who have gone to court; they have gone to court, they lose their position, it is there in the (party) constitution that is why we suspended them, they were arrested. They haven’t been expelled; they haven’t been disciplined because the process has not yet started, and I hope we sit in three weeks’ time that is when those things are going to be tabled to the central committee because one of the people, who has been arrested, is an ex-official at the central committee, a provincial chairman. It is the central committee, which is going to decide,” Phiri said.
“The [findings] will be released when we go for the central committee; we are all going to get the report. What the police do, we have nothing to do with that. We will stick to our report, it doesn’t matter; let us not put police in a party matters; it doesn’t matter what police will do. We will make our own judgement as central committee. Police have nothing to do with the party. Us, as central committee, we are not police, we are not even investigators; it is the procedure we have always had as a party. The ACC (Anti-Corruption Commission) is an independent body, it is not you or me, as Mumbi Phiri, to tell them, ‘go and investigate…’ it’s up to them to ask. It’s them you should ask ‘ACC why are you not investigating these people?’ That is an independent body, if we start pushing them, it is you, again, who will come and say, ‘why are you pushing an independent body?’ We have independent bodies in this country; it is not for the party to instruct the ACC to go and investigate somebody.”
Meanwhile, Phiri announced that the fate of the party convention would also be decided when the central committee meets.
“The convention with this COVID-19, we can’t decide just as a secretariat; a decision has to be made by the central committee on the way forward, and I think in three weeks’ time, we are going to have another central committee meeting where a decision will be made. So, people, give time so that we plan and we don’t risk people’s lives and we also don’t contribute to the spread of this COVID. As we make a decision as central committee, it will be based on the scientific evidence that we are able or we are not able,” said Phiri.