UPND deputy secretary general Patrick Mucheleka says Information Minister Dora Siliya lacks integrity and as such, she cannot offer counsel to opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema on the use of unpalatable language.

And National Democratic Congress (NDC) national youth chairperson Charles Kabwita says Siliya has a pathetic character and cannot inspire leaders to heed to her counsel.

On Monday, Siliya, in her capacity as chief government spokesperson, reprimanded UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema over the “pa munyoko” remarks saying the use of the term was disgusting and had brought shame and embarrassment among young adults.

But in a statement, Tuesday, Mucheleka said the PF should simply “pa munyoko (pass on the baton)” to Hakainde Hichilema in due course, adding that in the mean time, government should sort out the economic mess the country is in.

“We have noted with utter dismay the statement by Information and Broadcasting Minister Dora Siliya where she is trying to educate fellow politicians on the need to use civil language while campaigning. This is in reference to what the PF leadership think is the unpalatable use of the Tonga language by UPND President Hakainde Hichilema at a rally in Pemba a few days ago. In the first place, we want to tell Dora and her PF leadership to pay more attention to the serious issues affecting the country such as debt crisis, collapsing economy, and total breakdown in the rule of law, among others,” Mucheleka stated.

“It is also advisable for our colleagues in the PF to fully understand the rich language and cultural diversity in our country, by stopping translating other people’s languages using their languages. In terms of unpalatable, uncivil language and conduct, does Dora need to be reminded how she used all sorts of demeaning and insulting language against then opposition leader, late PF President Michael Sata in the run-up to the 2011 elections? Does Dora remember how she lifted the middle finger against the PF leadership in the presence of Speaker of National Assembly right on the floor of the house? A month ago, Dora was in Eastern Province preaching tribal hatred against Tongas and teaching immoral behaviour to citizens on how to swindle her own government using Social Cash Transfer.”

He stated that the PF themselves, including President Edgar Lungu, had on numerous occasions uttered reckless and hate statements that had brought division among the people.

“How many reckless and hate statements has come from the top PF leadership at every turn, especially during bye election campaigns, such as from Bizwell Mutale, Chanda Nyela, Nkandu Luo, Christopher Yaluma and others. Mr. Edgar Lungu is himself recently quoted as having called Zambians as “Tupuba” while he openly profiled our Bemba brothers and sisters that they are the majority thieves in this country. This country faces numerous problems and we call on the PF leaders to pass on the baton to their friend in Tonga “Pa Munyoko” (give your friend) Hakainde Hichilema,” stated Mucheleka.

Meanwhile, in an interview, Kabwita said Siliya had a pathetic character which couldn’t inspire leaders to heed to her counsel.

“I think five years ago, I still remember Dora Siliya lifted a middle finger when late President Michael Sata addressed Parliament. So I feel the government spokesperson is not the right person to counsel HH over the remarks that he made in Southern Province. And it suffices to mention that the meaning of the word has been spelt out by the people. So I fail to understand why the PF wants to politic against the use of language in Southern Province. We know that the PF wants to use this in order to gain political mileage. But the person they have used to counsel HH is the wrong person. Dora Siliya’s conduct is pathetic. Start from her private life, to public life to her office,” said Kabwita.

“This is the person I remember again when President Michael Sata assumed office in 2011, the government of Sata made sure that Siliya was answerable to some of the misconducts the previous government. So really when you look at the life of an individual like Dora Siliya, what can you learn from her? It’s nothing. We wonder why government is using a person like her to counsel others. Just recently, she was lecturing citizens in her constituency Eastern Province to siphon funds from the Social Cash Transfer. This is a person who is encouraging criminality and she can stand in front of cameras and recorders and counsel HH? Surely this government has really run out of people with brains.”