DEMOCRATIC Party president Harry says it is embarrassing and demeaning for President Edgar Lungu to be accused of financing rebels in Rwanda, urging the Head of State to personally address the allegations.
And Kalaba has urged President Edgar Lungu to get tested for COVID-19 because he may be asymptomatic and carelessly spreading the virus and infecting his Cabinet Ministers.
Meanwhile, Kalaba says Dr Chilufya should focus on his corruption court cases and allow someone else to give COVID-19 updates.
Speaking when he appeared on Diamond TV’s programme dubbed COSTA, Sunday, Kalaba urged President Lungu to own up and explain the allegations linking him to financing rebels in Rwanda.
“I was reluctant in the beginning to talk about this because I thought it was a sensitive matter. But then I found out he said it in court, and when I saw the Foreign Affairs Minister (Joe) Malanji travel to Rwanda then I said, ‘so this matter is not as simple as I thought.’ He met President (Paul) Kagame and I was shocked that an envoy could come back to Zambia and also hold a briefing and begin explaining what happened. You don’t do that. He was just sent and his was to talk to President Kagame and come back to President Lungu, it ends there. There is no way he can come back and begin to hold a press briefing to explain what Kagame said in that meeting. You cannot be explaining for him. It’s embarrassing for us as a country. Zambia has been defined as a country where everyone can go but to hear that Zambia wants to get involved in territorial spaces, and that at the very top, our President is the one who is involved is not only demeaning for our country. It hurts!” Kalaba said.
“It takes us away from the people because that is not who we are. We are not defined for things like that. We are reconciliatory. I don’t know why President Lungu has diverted from that. These allegations become a dent. For me, Isaac Chipampe (State House Press Aide) should not have been a person to speak on this matter. President Lungu himself should have looked the Zambian people in the eye and told them ‘this is what happened’. Our President needs to tone down his levels of excitement to calm down. He must not behave ordinary, these are grave issues which he needed to explain to all of us. It is shameful to be identified with such despicable acts! This thing has been mishandled. He should be the one to talk about this. Why doesn’t he talk? What does he do anyway? Going to look at the fish ponds? Give me a break!”
And Kalaba urged President Lungu to get tested for COVID-19 because he might be carelessly spreading it.
“They have been careless in the manner they have been conducting themselves, starting with the Republican President himself! The President was in Western Province the other week, he was sharing a platform with Vincent Mwale (Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister) they even exchanged microphones! The President needs to go and test because he is going round the country. He might not know, he might be asymptomatic right now, maybe he could be positive and he could be spreading it!” he said.
He expressed his regret over the passing of two members of parliament last week, but lamented that the PF’s desire to push for the enactment of the Constitution Amendment Bill No. 10 of 2019 jeopardised MPs’ health.
“Allow me to pay my deep respect and condolences to the families of Honourable Mwenya Munkonge, Independent member of parliament for Lukashya, as well as a very good friend, Rodgers Mwewa, who have both succumbed to COVID-19. It is very sad that we can lose gallant members of parliament at a time when we would have avoided Parliament even reconvening. But we have lost them and may their souls rest in peace. Parliament would have said, ‘we wait until cases come down’ because their intentions were very political in nature. All they wanted is that Bill 10 to go through it had nothing to do with the Committee reports. In the process, look at what has happened. The nation has suffered a loss,” Kalaba lamented.
He also accused government of politicizing COVID-19.
“The testing equipment is so insufficient. We don’t even know how many people are sick. Forget about those statistics they are giving you ba Ministry of Health when they will wake up instead of concentrating on their court cases. Those statistics that they are giving you are not sufficient. People in the compounds are not tested. Go in Misisi, Chingola, Mansa, in Mongu so how will you know who is sick? We are relying on people who are not feeling well going to the hospital and then you rush! The measures that government has taken on COVID-19 have been very reactive in nature. This is a government that hasn’t taken this COVID-19 very seriously. Because they say, ‘actions speak louder than words’,” he said.
“This COVID fight, yes, has to be a unitary fight, but the government has been political in the way they have been handling it. It is the PF that started making masks written: ‘Edgar Lungu 2021.’ Already that tells you that it is cosmetic. In Uganda, they are providing face masks for children as young as six years old. In this country, we have been receiving money for COVID-19, but we don’t know where that money is going. They thought it was a small issue, they thought it was an issue that they can run away with, but unfortunately for them, this is far beyond them.”
Meanwhile, Kalaba said Dr Chilufya should focus on his corruption court cases and allow someone else to give COVID-19 updates.
“Strictly speaking, in a serious environment, Chitalu Chilufya should not be the one announcing the results of COVID-19. He should have a bit of dignity. He should concentrate on issues concerning him at the courts of law. Let him allow technocrats and his permanent secretaries to be announcing the results of COVID-19. Because he is rendering the fight against COVID-19 like it’s a joke! This is a serious matter. It downplays the efficacy of the matter at hand,” he said.
He also feared that there would be further deterioration of law and order if the PF were to be re-elected at next year’s general election.
“Never in this history of our country, even when we had vigilantes in UNIP, did we see such kind of arrogance coming from people calling themselves cadres. It is a lack of leadership on the part of the Head of State. Is this the government you would want to continue with in the next five years? I shudder to imagine what can happen if PF wins the elections next year. Everything will just collapse!” said Kalaba.