LUSAKA Province Minister Bowman Lusambo has vowed that no one will stop him from ensuring that Lusaka residents comply with the public health guidelines following the recent increase of COVID-19 cases.
But Lusambo says it is difficult to stop members of the public who gather in large numbers to show solidarity to senior ruling party officials, such as himself, whenever he tours the country despite the pandemic.
In an interview, Lusambo said he cried when some PF youths reported him to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for abuse of office in trying to ensure that citizens complied with public health guidelines.
“The COVID-19 cases in Lusaka are on the increase. The problem that we have is that the Lusaka residents, themselves, with full information of how dangerous this disease is, have failed to practice health guidelines. When we move in, as the Lusaka provincial administration, other people with small minds will start talking, ‘no, you are abusing your offices and human rights!’ Now, we have seen how these cases are increasing not only in Zambia. When you come to Zambia, the only problem is when you are working, other people are pulling you down! Other people don’t want you to work, they just want things to go berserk because when you work, they think that you are boasting. I can assure you that the problem is huge,” Lusambo said.
“So, first and foremost, we are going to ignore those visionless people; we are going to move in as a team and make sure we bring sanity to Lusaka. Some of the people even took us to ACC because of controlling people during COVID-19 that we were abusing our office, can you imagine that? Is that normal? Some even put up some papers that, ‘we are taking Lusambo to ACC so that he can be investigated because of controlling COVID-19 in Lusaka.’ I was very shocked and I cried! I looked for those boys, those are the boys who have been coming to my office feeding from my office, feeding from my office! I cried! I said this is not the behaviour, which I can see from these young boys.”
He, however, insisted that he would not relent on ensuring that residents complied with all public health guidelines despite some PF youths accusing him of abusing his office.
“They think if they go to ZIALE, they have studied law and now they are above anyone. I can assure you that we don’t use our qualifications in our lives. We don’t use qualifications; if you want to stay with people, don’t use qualifications. I have seen people who are qualified, who are stupid, and I have seen people, who are not qualified, who are wise. For us, we just make sure that we go in and control this pandemic otherwise the disaster is awaiting us,” he added.
“We are going to go back to the drawing board and ensure that I will call all my team, we are a multi-sectoral team. We just have to re-strategize. For those people who want to take us to ACC, let them prepare a lot of files now. It’s better I die for saving the people of Zambia and it’s better they take me to ACC for saving the people of Zambia, I am ready. So, let them prepare a lot of files and there are alot of accusations and I am ready to defend myself because I am ready to defend my people. So, those people who don’t want us to work, I can assure them that they are free to do whatever they feel like doing.”
And Lusambo lamented that it was difficult to stop ordinary members of the public, who gathered in large numbers to show solidarity to senior ruling party members.
“For example, myself I was on the Copperbelt Province…when I went there, I went for radio programmes and people turned up in numbers just to show solidarity to the President, through me. I was very scared that most of those people were not putting on face-masks, and for me, as an advocate for face masks and other things, I was scared. But I had to use diplomacy for me to disperse those people otherwise you can’t just chase them. So, it is difficult for people like me, [when] I move in Kalingalinga, definitely, the people there will want to follow me. The best thing is we just stay at home and conduct our business through phones and the internet. Otherwise, you can’t stop the people,” said Lusambo.