FIRST Republican President Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s son, Kaweche says his family does not want to dictate what action should be taken against Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo because they trust President Edgar Lungu will do the right thing.
And Kaweche says those going into public office to enrich themselves should held accountable by having their lives audited before and after leaving office so that those found wanting can be sent to jail.
Speaking when he featured on Capital FM’s The Big Issue programme, Monday, lamented that if there was an opposition which took things seriously, Lusambo would not make careless statements like saying First Republican President Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s children should have enriched themselves during his 27-year rule.
“Let me tell you something; if we had an opposition that took these things seriously and took some of these things to task, he would not be making some of the statements he’s making against other people. These are things the opposition should be doing, my brother included, Tilyenji. But it’s like everybody wants to look the other way or doesn’t take seriously and that’s why Panji speaks. It’s not because he’s jealous or he wishes his father was still President, far from it! For the 27 years [our father was in power] if we wanted we would have owned the country, but that’s not us. So I don’t know why minister Lusambo decided to answer this query from my brother. But when I saw it, I brushed it off and said my brother would deal with it. But the reporter who did the story called and asked for my comment. So I did make a comment and that’s when I said we are not thieves, and it’s an insult to the family for anybody to imply that because we didn’t steal then we are stupid. So I said he needed to apologise to us a family,” Kaweche explained.
Kaweche said he and Lusambo had agreed that he would draft an apology for publication but that he went ahead and posted something different on his Facebook page after their meeting.
“…he came with someone whom I am acquainted with as well. So we sat, it was a cordial meeting and I told him that it was not nice what was said and I asked him to clear the air…He basically said ‘look, I have greatest respect for the family and for yourself and for Colonel Panji. There is no way I would deliberately say anything that would be an insult or bring the family into disrepute. So if I have said anything that has created that impression, I apologise wholeheartedly, I am very sorry’,” Kaweche explained.
“I was happy with those words. So I told him that what you need to do now is to issue a statement which we both can agree on and put this thing to rest. I said ‘I would like a statement in which you are stating clearly what you’ve said here’. He agreed, he said ‘yes I will go and draft a statement just now when I leave here and send it to you’, I said ‘please do because I need to report back to my brothers how this meeting has gone. They know I am meeting you and they are waiting for an answer and I will tell them right now how it went. So have that statement drafted and if we are happy with it, we will indicate to you to go and issue it’. We agreed and after that, he said ‘people won’t believe me if I say I came, can we please take some pictures?’ I said ‘sure let’s take some pictures’. Then I walked him to his car and just as he was leaving, one of my father’s assistants asked me that ‘why can’t he use Frank’s platform to go and clear this’? That’s when I called you and said Bowman would call you, he was still there and I called him and said ‘Bowman I was supposed to go to Frank’s programme, I haven’t gone, so can you go and use that platform to announce this apology of yours?’ He said ‘no problem I will call Frank’. So we agreed that he issued the statement on air and he left.”
He said he was shocked when Lusambo posted something completely different from what was agreed.
“But in evening Colonel Panji called me and he upset, he said ‘Kay is this what you agreed with Bowman?’ I said ‘what’? He said ‘have you not seen it’? I said ‘no’, he said ‘open Bowman’s Facebook page and tell me that this is what you agreed or not’. So I read it and it was not what was agreed; in his post he was saying of how him and I had come to an agreement that it was fake news that was going on and that people are trying to bring conflict between the Lusambos and the Kaundas. But there was no specific apology in there. I tried to call him after I read that thing but I couldn’t go through. So as far as the family is concerned, what is on that Facebook is not what agreed, what we agreed to do has not been done. So for us we find that very disrespectful,” he said.
Asked if the Kaunda family had raised the issue with President Edgar Lungu, Kaweche said the President was intelligent enough to know what needed to be done about his minister.
“No, we haven’t raised this with the President. The President is intelligent enough to know what needs to be done. The last thing I would want is for the President to be in a position where he feels like it’s the Kaundas who made him do this or that. So he knows whatever he’s going to do and how he’s going to handle it. I am not even going to hint at what he should or shouldn’t do,” he said.
And Kaweche said there was need to conduct lifestyle audits for all those going into public office.
“The best way to do that now is to by ensuring that anybody going into politics to enrich themselves should be held accountable. Here I am, it should be known what I have before going into politics or being appointed minister. I know they have that thing where they declare that this one has got so much and so much, but someone should really look and see if they really have those things and they don’t, when they are leaving office again, they should be checked; you were ministers for so long, now you own 20 cars, three farms, how? So there should be personal audits. There is no harm in making money, but make it somewhere else not because you are a minister. If you are a minister, be a minister not because you want to make money being minister. And someone should go to jail for someone of these things, then maybe people will learn,” said Kaweche.