NATIONAL Democratic Congress (NDC) president Chishimba Kambwili has charged that COVID-19 in Zambia is a hoax as it is only being used to raise funds from donors.

In a video shared on his Facebook page, Kambwili said President Edgar Lungu’s recent trip to North-Western Province was done to gain political mileage when opposition parties were not allowed the same constitutional right to mobilize.

“Today, my heart terribly bleeds how Zambia has stooped so low in all angles of leadership, particularly political leadership. I cannot imagine the independence that our forefathers fought for could be abused by one President Edgar Chagwa Lungu. I am extremely disappointed! I don’t even know what words to use to show my displeasure. President Lungu announced the dangers of covid and said people must be wearing masks, social distancing, avoid gatherings and they must avoid unnecessary travels; to the contrary, the President goes to North-Western Province addresses PF cadres in about three districts openly! We saw there was no social distancing, [he] addressed a public rally; we saw that there was no social distancing and yet the numbers of those infected with COVID-19 keeps going up. As of today, the numbers are way over a thousand. When you look at the behaviour of the President, it does not give confidence to the people of Zambia that indeed, we have COVID among ourselves as Zambians,” Kambwili said.

“My personal feeling is that all the figures that we have been given for COVID are fake figures and I don’t think we have COVID among ourselves! We supported the President when he did a partial lock-down. Little did we know that the man was on a political mission only to stop the opposition from campaigning and also mobilizing. Surely, all political parties when they want to have meetings, they have been told to have a health permit and a police permit, we have seen that PF continue to have meetings, mobilization. To make matters worse, of all the people, the President of Zambia, who signed that Statutory Instrument (SI) to introduce COVID measures, is the first one to break the law. How can our own President, our own Head of State, who signed the Statutory Instrument to restrict certain things be the first to break the law? President Edgar Lungu you have let us down!”

He called on President Lungu to open bars and other economic sectors saying their continued closure had brought misery to many business owners.

“As a consequence, I am asking you to immediately open the bars; immediately allow all aspects of human endeavour, economical to start functioning normally. I am calling upon you to institute a Commission of Inquiry to really find out whether we have COVID in this country because the effect of the partial lock-down has really been bad on the populace citizenry and, indeed, on businesses. But your behaviour doesn’t speak to this. Everybody who was diagnosed to be positive was isolated in the hospital in areas where you were calling isolation centres. In these isolation centres, many medical personnel were kept away from their families. They were working 14 days; after 14 days, they are quarantined on the pretext that they have COVID, but your Ministry of Health Minister (Dr Chitalu Chilufya) tested positive to COVID…where is he? At his house. Your Minister of Information (Dora Siliya) tested positive and she is also in isolation at her house. What kind of deceit is this? What kind of playfulness is this?” he wondered.

“Look at the picture of the video of those who were quarantined, they were busy playing and singing! How can people who are sick be playing like that? It simply shows all the COVID thing is a hoax meant to achieve three things: one, block the opposition from conducting their political affairs; two, you are being unfair to the poor of the poorest by closing the bars; some of them, it’s hand-to-mouth. Three, you want to attract funding so that you can use the money because our Treasury is bleeding and has no money, but this will haunt you for the rest of your lives. My dear brother, President Edgar Lungu, the best you can do is institute a Commission of Inquiry because among the people who are said to be positive, they even doubt that they are positive. Look at the deaths, the number of those who are reported to be positive is well above 1,000; the deaths remain seven and out of these deaths, three of their relatives have said they doubt whether that was COVID; the Mumbwa case, the Kafue case and the other case from Lusaka. They have said these people were just sick with other ailments, but you just claim that these were COVID cases.”

Kambwili charged that President Lungu was being unfair in the manner he was handling the pandemic.

“This is the worst a President can ever inflict on people. I ask you in due respect: immediately let all human aspects and economical activities start to run normally. You are being unfair unless you convince us otherwise and give us an explanation why it should be you going on a working visit to North-Western Province when in actual fact you went to mobilize your party and to address public gatherings. You even went in the markets in Kabompo where there was no social distancing, [you were] seen buying sweet potatoes from them what a behaviour from the Head of State! Lesa nga alefwaya ukufumya umuntu pamupando nangu Lesa nga alefwaya ukulangisha ati uyu muntu talingile pali iyi inchito mwamupela ala mulowa icilafi (when God wants to remove someone from a leadership position or when God wants to show that a certain person is not fit to be in a particular position of leadership that has been given to them, he makes then become forgetful). The best you can do is step down! This is one reason where a Head of State can show maturity, can show integrity by simply resigning on moral grounds,” urged Kambwili.