CHISHIMBA Kambwili says the announcement by President Edgar Lungu to fully operatonalise Mulungushi Textiles in Central Province’s Kabwe district by January next year is a big political joke.

Kambwili, who is opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) president, said in an interview that it was embarrassing that the Head of State could repeat the same “lie” he told during the 2016 election campaigns to woo people into voting for him again in another election.

“(Laughs), [that is a] big political joke! Big political joke, we’ve heard those jokes before. You see, I have told Zambians before that this man (President Lungu) is not interested in running the affairs of the country, he is only interested in remaining in power. Whenever it’s gets close to elections, he starts to issue false promises. But I want to warn the people of Kabwe, don’t buy President Lungu’s deceit. The man opened Mulungushi Textiles four days before elections in 2016 and closed it 18 days after elections. Today, he can come and lie to you again that he wants Mulungushi Textiles to open before January next year? It is all lies! If President Lungu wants to keep up appearances, you know what he’s going to do? They will look for money to run Mulungushi Textiles from January 2021 to maybe August, and immediately after elections, they will close it again,” Kambwili said.

“Some people have no shame, they just tell lies without any shame. If you tell you people one lie in one election, can you surely go and repeat the same lie in another election even if you have no shame? Isn’t that just embarrassing? Isn’t it embarrassing that you can tell the same lie and you are not even ashamed? Insoni ebuntu, ba Lungu balekwatako insoni (President should be ashamed of himself). May God bless him as he prepares to exit State House.”

Kambwili asked Zambians not to trust President Lungu.

“Zambians don’t trust President Edgar Lungu, more especially on Mulungushi Textiles. These guys their interest is just to remain in power and continue making money for themselves, they don’t care about the welfare of the people of Zambia. Are you not shocked? Why is it that after announcing the reopening of Mulungushi in 2016, it’s been four years and they’ve not reopened it and they just want to do it now? Zambians I am begging you, don’t buy this joke. Even if by fluke or crook, they reopen Mulungushi Textiles in January next year, there is no sustainable plan for it. They will only open it for window dressing to woo the people of Kabwe to try and vote for them. I can assure you that after August next year, that factory will be closed. Remember, they opened it in 2016 for about a month or two and closed it thereafter. This time, they will open it in January and close it in August,” Kambwili said.

He said it was impossible for PF to keep Mulungushi Textiles open.

“You know, it is not a question of opening Mulungushi Textiles, it’s a question of protecting local industries. When they open Mulungushi Textiles and then the Chinese continue flocking this economy with their cheap Chitenges, the vitenges that will be produced at Mulungushi Textiles cannot meet the price that the Chinese are producing it for, meaning, therefore, that it would be window dressing and the factory will collapse. What needs to be done if they mean it is that if Mulungushi Textiles is opened, we should not allow any chitenge being imported in this country from anywhere. And by the way, it is not only Mulungushi Textiles that was closed, there was Kafue Textiles as well. When they closed these two factories, it was not for anything, they did so because they could not compete with the outside. Can President Lungu tell us whether they will completely top the importation of chitenge from China and Tanzania then we can maybe believe them that Mulungushi Textiles will be sustained. But it is for political expediency,” he said.

Kambwili reminded Zambians of other tricks which the PF government was employing to woo people into voting for them in 2021.

“Have you ever heard in the past FRA buying maize on cash? But this year, they buying maize for cash. But they are failing to pay Council workers. Lusaka City Council workers have not been paid, retirees have not been paid. But they have found money to pay cash for the maize, do you know why? I will tell you why. Since they know that if FRA goes to ask for maize on credit, people will not sell them because FRA’s price for maize is lower than what the private individuals are buying for. So they are worried that FRA will not have maize to come and misled the people of Zambia with that the price of mealie meal has dropped during elections. So what they want is to buy a lot of maize so that towards the elections, they will get the FRA maize, give it free to the millers and ask the millers to produce cheaper mealie meal for the elections and then increase the prices after the elections,” he said.

“People of Zambia wake up! Wake up! Don’t give chance to President Lungu to manipulate you. He has manipulated this country for far too long. But this time, watch him and don’t allow him to manipulate you.”

And commenting on President Lungu’s announcement while in Mazabuka on Saturday that his government would consider building houses for teachers and health workers among other civil servants in future, Kambwili said that would not happen because government had no money.

“The President was telling the people of Southern Province that they are going to build houses for nurses and teachers, bufi bena Zambia (it’s all lies people of Zambia)! Where are they going to get the money? Right now this country has over borrowed. Nobody is ready to lend money to PF anymore. So where are they going to get money to build houses for the teachers? All these are just electioneering tricks by the President. How many houses have they built for the police? They have only brought ubuloshi mu (witchcraft in) police camps. How do you build 25 houses against the population of 1,000 policemen? Then you want to start telling teachers and nurses that you are going to build houses for them. If they cannot increase your salary, teachers and nurses, how can they build you houses? Ask the President where he’s going to get the money to build houses for teachers and other civil servants. The President was just lying, don’t take him seriously dear Zambians,” said Kambwili.