NATIONAL Democratic Congress (NDC) president Chishimba Kambwili says PF Secretary General Davies Mwila has no legal right to ban Ministers from making comments on foreign investors who flout labour laws in the country.
And Kambwili says President Edgar Lungu cannot stop such illegalities because he is involved.
In an interview, Kambwili said Mwila had no legal backing to instruct government officers from speaking as he was not part of government.
“First and foremost, it should be noted that Mwila has no legal right to ban a Minister to do what they are supposed to do. Mwila is not a government official, he is a party functionary. This is not the party and its government like it is used to be in UNIP. Mwila can only ban party officials, not Ministers. Mwila is not in government, he is the secretary general of the PF. But because this is a chi pante pante (disorganised) government where even a councillor can warn a Minister, where even a ward chairman can ban a Minister from going into a constituency, you can expect that,” Kambwili said.
“Mwila has no legal right whatsoever even on his party members, what are they hiding? Why don’t they want people to express their views? Because belonging to a political party does not stop you from commenting on national issues as and when you want as you deem fit. This is an abrogation of the Constitution, right of expression, right of speech.”
He said Mwila was drunk with unknown powers.
“So, it is very sad for Zambia that a secretary general of a political party can ban all their members to exercise their constitutional right by condemning bad vices that are been perpetuated by the foreigners who are coming in the country in the name of investments. Surely, can someone come here to open a barbershop and you call him an investor? Because that barbershop is supposed to be done by grade nines. Government should even give them barbershop equipment as a way of promoting and empowering them but you allow a foreigner to come and run a barbershop? What is more disheartening is that it appears that Mwila is drunk with unknown powers, swimming in very wrong waters under very big jackets,” he said.
“I want to warn him, leave the Ministers alone, they are not your responsibility. You are not a government official, you are just a party official. It doesn’t show democracy. I mean, when you are gagged from speaking or from airing your views, where is the democracy? Because democracy, people must be free to criticize, to praise, but the PF just wants praise singers. That is what brought UNIP down, that is what brought MMD down. I tend to wonder whether people learn from the past mistakes of others in order for them to be better citizens but in this country, people don’t seem to learn. In a nutshell, what Mwila did is all wrong and must be condemned by all meaning Zambians.”
And Kambwili said President Lungu had failed to control illegal activities in the PF because he was involved.
“This Patriotic Front is a chi pante pante government that when a Minister abrogates the law with impunity by trying to gag freedom of expression enshrined in the constitution, the President says I support the Minister. So what do you expect? If the President can send his Ministers to abrogate the law, and the President is told your Minister is corrupt he says ‘those who are hard working are always accused of corruption, I will not fire people on this basis’, what arrogance of the worst kind! We know why certain statements are made because it is very difficult for anybody who is benefiting from certain actions of Ministers to take decisive action against them. Sometimes, it becomes very difficult to take action when your juniors know the illegal things you are doing,” said Kambwili.
“So, that is why it has become very difficult under PF to control one another; because they are all doing illegal things because for the President to say arrest those who want to demonstrate when demonstration is the right enshrined in the constitution, the President is first to abrogate the law! What do you expect people like Bowman Lusambo to do?”