NDC president Chishimba Kambwili says if there will be any attack on News Diggers or its reporters, police must arrest Information Minister Dora Siliya for inciting violence.
And Kambwili says police should move in and arrest former Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) chief executive officer Zindaba Soko for illegally drawing fuel amounting to K55,000 after leaving the institution.
Early this week, Siliya wrote to News Diggers, stating that the newspaper had opened itself to attacks from youths for using the word “stupid” in its editorial opinion headlined “Stupid disgruntled youths should think twice before dancing Dununa next time”.
But in an interview, Kambwili wondered why Dora was inciting youths to attack a media institution for quoting what Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo said.
“They have closed Prime TV and they are not willing to open it. Now they are targeting News Diggers because they don’t want anybody who is exposing their shortcomings and their corrupt practices. I would like to urge News Diggers to be steadfast, be focused and tell nothing but the truth. So, forget about Dora threatening you or questioning you as she puts it,” Kambwili said.
“And to my surprise, how can she say that ‘if they are attacked by youths, they should know what to do.’ What is she insinuating? In my own interpretation, she is the one who is telling the PF youths to go and attack News Diggers reporters. So, if there is going to be any harassment by PF cadres on News Diggers reporters, the blame must be on Dora and the police must arrest her for inciting violence.”
Kambwili wondered why Siliya kept quiet when Lusambo used the term on the youths but quick to threaten a media house for quoting the minister.
“Dora has been caught pants down. Dora did not say anything when Lusambo insulted the youths that stupid. It was Lusambo who said ‘stupid disgruntled youths’ and Dora never said anything. The Ministry of Religious Affairs also never said anything. Now when the paper quoted Lusambo in the article, they now want to threaten the News Diggers that they are using derogatory language. What is good for the goose must be good for the gander. And madam Siliya must be ashamed of herself,” Kambwili said.
And Kambwili said it was clear that Soko had the backing of some individuals within RTSA.
“It is theft! If you collect something that you are not entitled to, you are stealing. Soko has been stealing fuel from RTSA. He is not an employee of RTSA and he is not entitled to fuel. He knew that he was not entitled, but he went ahead and drew fuel worth K55,000. This idea of saying, ‘we will sort it out administratively’ when people are stealing is what is making people corrupt and continue stealing public resources. Imagine, if it was me with a report that I drew fuel after I had left the Ministry, what could have happened? Police would have already been on me!” Kambwili said.
“I don’t think if Soko had no backing from the system, he can do what he did. You saw the nolle prosequi in his case, so it has become normal in this country that people can do acts of corruption and enter a nolle prosequi, they can draw fuel even if they know that they are not entitled and the issue can be dealt with administratively. What a country! If it was somebody else, you could have seen headlines in their newspapers and police coming to pick somebody as if he is a treason criminal or as if somebody was about to do a coup d’état! But for others, they just say, ‘oh, it’s been dealt with administratively.’ What a country!”
He said police should not always wait for people to produce a physical report, but should take swift action when such cases were exposed.
“This country is now an Animal Farm. Some animals are more important than others. A lot of people have been taken to the police for such matters, but why are they treating Soko with kid-gloves? And the mere fact that the police have also read about it, sometimes you don’t need to move the police by making a report. They should also pay attention to newspaper articles and follow up on their own,” said Kambwili.
Kambwili was commenting on a revelation where RTSA had fired its transport manager Mulenga Chibalabala for failure to retrieve a Total Petroleum Limited Fuel Card (TomCard) from Soko, which he used to draw fuel amounting to K55,000 long after he had been dismissed from the agency.