ZAMBIA Correctional Service (ZCS) commissioner general Dr Chisela Chileshe says he did not say opposition parties will be barred from campaigning in detention facilities but that they should be grateful to President Edgar Lungu for his efforts to bring development.

In an interview, Dr Chileshe said if the opposition did not appreciate the developmental works, they should not have the audacity to tell people that the President had done nothing.

“The government is governed by systems and these systems are put in place constitutionally and the Head of government is the President and he doesn’t come from thin air, he comes from a party. This party puts their manifesto on the people of Zambia to vote for them or not. And so when they are doing policies, be it changing the law or amending the laws, they are there for a purpose to fulfill the manifesto that they presented to the people. When His Excellency comes to our facility, he is coming as Head of State, meaning he is an executive controller of the country. Precisely, in Monze we have a government that has responded to the people’s cries within the constituencies, they needed accommodation. If you look at the accommodation, you would shed tears of how officers were living. They were living in old structures like there was a war, they were using pit latrines. Surely the members of parliament cannot have the audacity of saying thank you for creating this peaceful environment?” ” Dr Chileshe asked.

“Is that not development initiated by the government? That is what I was merely saying and so arising from that, if people cannot appreciate the works that have been done, should they have courage to come and tell people to say ‘this government has done nothing, this President has done nothing?’ Are they going to have that courage? Because they are driving their own selfish motives and not the general populace, that is what I said. I am not saying the opposition will be barred. Not minding whether they are from the opposition or the government, they need to appreciate. I was saying the party that is governing is PF and they are the ones who have done the manifesto and running the government. ”

Dr Chileshe said he would also respect the opposition if they came into power.

“Even them when they come in power, it will be the same. Would they be safe if other people [would] just be shooting them when they are making policies? Would they govern the country? It just follows that if people are in government, you respect them and you keep on reminding them on the roads they haven’t done, the schools they haven’t built, that is what you do as an opposition, you remind them,” said Dr Chileshe.

Dr Chileshe was reacting to widespread criticism over remarks he made in Monze recently.

He said he would do whatever it took to help President Lungu and the government.

“If there are people in Southern regions here who have a negative altitude and not seeing the works that your government has done and they are able to see vividly with their eyes and they are able to hear what you have done and they are unable to attend to this important function, I would close the house in which they enter. Because they are not representing the people of Monze but they are representing themselves and this can be seen by what has been transformed. We are talking about Livingstone where you are constructing the first ever female prison, we are talking about Katombora where the renovations have been done. We are talking the same Monze where we are told is the household for some people,” said Dr Chileshe

“And they can see what is there and I wonder what they would do when you come to open such a huge investment. This is what we have seen by the so called politicians that even if you see development coming in your area, you are unable to appreciate. What type of hatred is that? And that is the reason why, your Excellency, my officers who are in uniform and trained to be loyal have been directed that we will never entertain anyone to enter in this facility if they are unable to support you…We have moved from prisons to correctional facilities. A directive to our officers is that we must pay back by working hard. We can only say thank you and we will do what we can to help your leadership. We will do what we can to help your party. We will do what we can to help your government.”