2021 PRESIDENTIAL aspirant Kelvin Fube Bwalya says he is still a member of the Patriotic Front because the party has never served him an expulsion letter even though it claims to have expelled him.
And Bwalya says there was a missed opportunity for proactivity in the way government responded to the first few cases of COVID-19.
Speaking he featured on Muvi Television’s “Blunt Talk” programme, Friday evening, Bwalya said even if it were true that the ruling party had expelled him, he had become a member when the party called on old members to rejoin.
“I am a Presidential candidate selling myself right now, and as it stands right now, I genuinely believe I am still a member of the Patriotic Front. They claim that they expelled me, but I have never received an expulsion letter. We are not running a kangaroo court; we are running a ruling party. I have never received an expulsion letter. That is not how you run a political party. You do not expel people simply because one member says ‘I want to be President’, that’s not a crime and it’s not even the constitution of the PF. So that was said, but then the Republican President went on record and said it’s my democratic right if I want to stand. The secretary general of the Patriotic Front also said ‘there is an amnesty, everybody who left the party or everybody who was expelled, feel free to come back’. Mind you, my party doesn’t have membership cards. If it was a question of going to buy a membership card, I would have. But I took their words for granted. This is what they wanted, they wanted unity back in the party,” Bwalya said.
And Bwalya wondered why the party wanted him to reapply for membership and wait for three years to be readmitted when other people had not been subjected to such conditions.
“I was being told that the deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri says I should reapply and the party will give me three years. I have never insulted the leadership of the party; some people left the Patriotic Front, insulted the leadership of the Patriotic Front, but they have come back. You don’t give those people three years but you want to me three years? What three years? What crime did I commit? Why are you going back on your word? You said there’s an amnesty and everybody should come back, I am back. I am a member of the Patriotic Front, if you want sell me a card. But there is nowhere to buy a card, so what should I do? Go and say it to the public that I am back, then you are going to consider me a member? No, you told everybody ‘come back’ and I am back. That’s why you never served me a letter,” Bwalya said.
“I am glad that at least on this score, I can’t fault the President, he’s kept quiet. I don’t believe I committed any crime; this is just people trying to build differences within the party. I have never left the party. But they think they expelled me, then they made a pronouncement that everybody must come back. So they brought us back by that declaration, so I can’t fight that.”
Bwalya insisted that Zambia had capacity to prosper if the right leadership was put in place.
“I believe there is a lot of prosperity in this country if we have the right leadership. If we have the right mindset, if we have the right attitude, yes we can do it. The problem I have is the greedy people, the problem I have is the corrupt people, the problem I have is the people that think it’s only them that should prosper,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bwalya who commended government’s efforts in preventing further spread of COVID-19 noted that government took long to put in preventive measures in place.
“In the initial stages, coronavirus was not handled very well. I think there was some sort of cavalier approach by the government. Perhaps they did not understand what they were required to do. We had for instance a couple that went France that was diagnosed with symptoms. Then we had about 18 Pakistanis who came in and some of them tested positive for the coronavirus. Until then, government did not react quick enough to protect the citizens initially. In my considered view, government should have been fast enough to at least look at our boarders and ensure that Zambians are protected. So initially government didn’t respond very well. But having said that, let me commend government that when the virus was appreciated, government did swing into action and begun to sensitize the public and people begun to understand what the virus was all about. But my argument is that if government had initially reacted very quickly as they came to react much later, we would probably not have closed schools and we would probably not have some of the economic sectors closed because government would have put in measures in place quickly,” said Bwalya.