DEMOCRATIC Party leader Harry Kalaba says he will not enter into an alliance where he is treated like a “flower girl” escorting the bride and groom to enjoyment.

And Kalaba says that Zambia has collapsed due to rampant corruption, which has become endemic.

Speaking when he featured on Muvi TV The Assignment programme, Sunday, Kalaba said that he would only enter an alliance with other political parties ahead of next year’s general election if it led to a meaningfully beneficial mutual relationship.

“We have said we have got nothing wrong, we have got no qualms with any alliance, there is nothing wrong with being in an alliance. What we are refusing, as Democratic Party, is to be in an alliance where the DP will be like, you know, at a wedding, tukabe kwati nifwebo ba (we should be like a) flower girl nangu nifwe ba (or we should be like a) page boy abaku shindika bashibwinga baya mukulila elo ifwe tube be (to just escort the bride and groom and they go to enjoyment or maybe like a) knife girl. What we want, as DP, is a relationship that is mutual, is a relationship that will respect both sides. But then, in this country, when you talk of an alliance, you are thinking of only one particular political party. No, bafwile bali muli alliance nailya (with that) political party, that’s not the way we behave ourselves, there are several political parties that we are talking to that we can’t mention names here. We are talking to them because we want to form an alliance; we want to be stronger because they say, united you stand and divided you fall. So, we know ourselves that we will not be in a hurry to go in alliances with those who think we should be the ones to escort them so that when they win, they start settling scores, no. For us, we are not winning the election next year to come and start punishing people, we will be wasting time doing that, there will be the ACC, DEC to deal with those issues,” Kalaba argued.

And he bemoaned that corruption in the country had become institutionalised.

“Corruption has become endemic in this country, it has been institutionalised; you can’t get anything without oiling somebody for something to move, unless somebody has gotten a kickback. It is that kind of behaviour that is coming to an end. We should be careful because the Office of President must be an office of integrity,” he added.

“Some leaders in the PF work genuinely, there are some who work genuinely hard, it’s the case of one bad groundnut when you are chewing, it spoils everything. We have leaders there, whom I know myself, who carry themselves with a lot of dignity. I would love to mention them here, but the moment I mention them, they will say, ‘they are working with Kalaba, let’s punish them!’ Then there are others who are in the majority, who are literally looting and making sure that government systems are undermined at all costs. Appoint somebody you know will be doing what you want them to do. Going to the director to ask them for favours that are beyond them, ‘can you give us this, can you do that,’ natumako abo bantu mubatandize, mubapase (I have sent those people, give them), all those kinds of things. This country has collapsed, the system has collapsed.”

He also complained about how some citizens were eulogising corrupt politicians.

“Where we have gone wrong is that, we have started eulogising politicians, who are taking from you and you are busy saying aba nibamuna (these are men), stop that kind of thing. Those are not to be celebrated, those are to be taught a lesson next year, get them out of power and a lot more that you want to know will come out. But if you want to bring it out here, they say, ‘never tell a crocodile it’s got an ugly face before you cross the river.’ If you want to tell the crocodile, you are still in the canoe you are peddling, ati ah, chi crocodile ichi, nichoipa ichi, (this crocodile is ugly) it will deal with you! So, you don’t start saying, ‘ba ACC I have got this case, I have got that and that case,’ no. Wisdom sometimes should play a hand, you look at issues and say nature has got a way of equalising. One day these things will come out. Umulandu taubola (crime does not rot), it can take 20 years, but if there is crime that has been committed, it will have to be rectified,” Kalaba said.

“Where I come from they say, amenso yamupundilwa yengi (when you are in public office, people are watching you from different angles), people are seeing you from different perspectives so you have to be very careful. Look, the way corruption is being handled in this country is very cosmetic. I told you that even His Excellency, the President, doesn’t believe in the fight against corruption; I told you right here that the only time the President fights corruption is when he is reading a speech written for him by government officials then he comes across a sentence on corruption, then he reads it, it doesn’t come from within because if it did, we would have seen ministers who have been involved in corruption being shown the exit like president Sata did.”

Meanwhile, Kalaba, the former foreign affairs minister, insisted that it was very embarrassing for President Lungu being mentioned in the Rwanda court case.

“The issue of Rwanda is an embarrassing episode for Zambia that our highest diplomat, the President, was mentioned, that was sad and very regrettable. I have always said that Zambia has been known for a good name, not for a bad name, Zambia has been a haven of peace, which is why we have people coming in from the east, west, north south, coming into Zambia; it’s because of our impeccable record that we have had as a peace-loving nation. Our role in this country has never been to get involved in the territorial issues of other people’s sovereignty. Our role has always been to heal the divide, we have always played that meaningful role: in Angola, the DRC, I can say even in the region we stand tall. So, to hear that the President is being implicated in those things is not only sad, but its an embarrassing chapter,” said Kalaba.