PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu should test for COVID-19 because he has been in contact with both Information Minister Dora Siliya and her health counterpart Dr Chitalu Chilufya, says Former Secretary to Cabinet Dr Sketchley Sacika.
And Dr Sacika has challenged President Lungu to fire Dr Chilufya in order to allow the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) carry out impartial investigations.
In an interview, Dr Sacika said President Lungu and his entire Cabinet must get tested for COVID-19.
“I would like to suggest that President Lungu undertakes the tests for COVID-19 along with the other members of his Cabinet. The President recently chaired a Cabinet meeting at Mulungushi International Conference Centre at which Dora and Chitalu Chilufya were in attendance. So for the safety of everybody else, the President and the rest of the other ministers must get tested as well because they will be putting the lives of the other Zambians at risk as they have continued moving around even in the midst of this pandemic. Not only that, it would also show the amount of commitment that the President attaches to fight against this pandemic if he went and got tested. We cannot have the President encouraging citizens to go and get tested when he has not done so himself. So let him go and tested and his test results should be made public so that everybody knows what his status looks like,” Sacika said.
Dr Sacika said the announcements of Siliya and Dr Chilufya’s COVID-19 status should be taken at face value as it was possible that the two ministers were either telling the truth or lying.
“The stories of Dora and Dr Chilufya testing positive really should just be taken at face value. It is possible that they are telling the truth or that they are lying. So really, we should take that at face value. But for Chitalu Chilufya, the mistake that he would make is to think that pretending to be ill of this pandemic would shield him from being investigated. He must know that there are consequences for every action. So if the allegations against him are proven to be true, he will have to face the law whether or not he has coronavirus. So really, I don’t think faking his COVID status would be ideal for him because the truth will still come out in the end anyway,” Dr Sacika said.
Meanwhile, Dr Sacika challenged President to fire his Health Minister to allow for proper investigations into corruption allegations.
“This is the second minister in President Lungu’s government to been accused of corruption and he does not take action. The first one was [Ronald] Chitotela while he was still the Infrastructure Minister. The President refused to fire him when he was accused of corruption and asked the ACC to prove their case against him in court. Now, do you know what happens in such a situation? It becomes difficult for the ACC to investigate a minister who is accused of corruption but is still allowed to continue performing government functions. Such a minister would intimidate the investigating officers, he would even temper with evidence and the investigations would not go anywhere. So the President should relieve Chitalu Chilufya of his government duties and allow the investigations being conducted on him for alleged corruption to be concluded and then he can call him back if he really needs him in his government. But he should not just use the arrogance he used on Chitotela to keep Dr Chilufya as well when he hasn’t even proven his innocence yet,” said Dr Sacika.
“In any case, Chitalu Chilufya is not well at the moment and has gone into self-quarantine after he tested positive to COVID-19, which means his input will not be required as much as before. So let the gentleman rest for now until the charges against him are proven otherwise. If that is not done, Zambians will continue thinking that the fight against corruption which the President has been talking about is nothing but a farce meant only to waste their time and divert their attention from serious matters.”