A RECORDED conversation between Lusaka Province PF secretary Kennedy Kamba and Chanda Kaoma has gone viral on social media in which the former is asking the latter to compile a list of party youths who can be given tenders to supply COVID-19 equipment to the Ministry of Health.

This caused an uproar as netizens wondered whether the PF cadres would be given donated items to sell.

But in an interview, Kamba said some people were trying to misconstrue the contents of the audio because they are accusing him of backing Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya’s presidential bid.

He said he had been reaching out to the various ministries to help youths who were capable of running businesses but had no business opportunities.

“I am with Chomba right now, the person I was talking to on the phone. I was doing it in good faith to help our youths on the ground so that they can do business with any ministry, including [the Ministry of] Health, Infrastructure and others. Even Chomba here can confirm that it was nothing to do with stealing COVID-19 material. People want to twist now that we are stealing COVID materials; number two, they are saying that we are gathering people to be in solidarity with Chitalu Chilufya, that’s not what we are doing. The candidate is Edgar Chagwa Lungu; Whether there’s Kamba or no Kamba, whether there is Chitalu Chilufya or no Chitalu Chilufya, the party is bigger than Chitalu Chilufya and the Central Committee has already decided on the Presidential candidate,” Kamba said.

“Ours is to organize the party and the number two, we want our members to venture into small businesses. That is our role as party leaders in Lusaka Province apart from organizing the party. I was calling my good friend here (Chomba) so that we can have profiles, not only from the people who are in the structures but also from the members. Not all members of the PF are in the structures, so we are trying to organize them to see how best we can assist them in terms of business. Others are going to be empowered through the Ministry of Youths, others are going to be empowered through the Ministry of Infrastructure, and others through the Ministry of Health and other ministries, as long as they have capacity to do business. So if we are finding jobs for people then what are we doing wrong?”

He said his engagement with Dr Chilufya did not imply that he supported the health minister’s presidential ambition.

“The Presidential candidate for 2021 is Edgar Lungu, everyone knows that. Chitalu Chilufya cannot be President because the central committee has already decided on that one. The Vice-President of the party who also the running mate is bo Inonge Wina and we have resolved as a party to go to the convention with one language. So those people who want to scandalize others, tell them to stay away. We mean business and we want to make sure that we help the President on the ground, people on the ground are crying for businesses and when I go I meet the ministers or any organisations, I go there and lobby on behalf of the people on the ground so that they can be given something to do. So those who want to be scandalizing people because they eat by scandalizing others, let them continue. The truth will come out,” said Kamba.

And Kaoma also said Kamba did not talk about giving donated material towards the COVID-19 fight to PF youths when he called him on Monday.

“I am just shocked at how people are trying to twist a story which is not even there. You know, right now there is COVID-19 and people are supplying all sorts of things like face masks, sanitizers and youths have been complaining that ‘we been taking our companies there, we don’t receive jobs… we are not considered’. So him (Kamba) as Provincial secretary called me in good faith and he said ‘let us help these people, we go and plead on their behalf if they can be helped’ and it wasn’t only about Ministry of Health, no. It didn’t start and end at Ministry of Health, he talked about Infrastructure, he talked about Tourism and many others. So he told me that we should start with the first 10 and then circulate to these others,” said Kaoma.

“Now the unfortunate part is that I was with two people in the car that I can mention now. So these people got curious because they are on the other side with the Minister of Health. That’s why it isn’t shocking to me that the story has been twisted. But I think we should have respect for one another. This culture of fighting one another is not good. Imagine what the donors must be thinking right now, they must be laughing at us because all these malicious stories against Dr Chilufya are just affecting the country because those people that would want to donate will now feel demoralized thinking we will steal the donations. Since when did taking business profiles become stealing? I think the intention is just to scandalize chairman Kamba and the Minister of Health.”

Efforts to get a comment from Dr Chilufya proved futile as he was unresponsive by press time.