NATIONAL Arts Council Chairperson Patrick Samwimbila says his decision to join politics and campaign for President Edgar Lungu in the 2021 elections will not in anyway affect the selection and distribution of empowerment funds meant for artists.

In an interview, Samwimbila, who resigned from being a teacher at Munali secondary school, said the selection of candidates to benefit from empowerment programmes was already done and that he did not take part in the selection process.

“Purely, you know any person in this country right now, anyone has a party or a candidate of their liking. It is only that there are those that have come out and there are those that have not come out. For me, my liking for President Edgar Lungu has not started today. It has been there except that I was not able to voice it out openly because I was a civil servant. Now that there was a circular to that effect to say civil servants that would want to participate in politics in the advent of the 2021 general election should resign before or by 30th November. Yesterday was 30th November and I feel this particular election, I want to participate. I have been explaining to people that participation is engaging in open debates, that is participation, campaigning for someone that is participation. Contesting a seat that is participation,” Samwimbila said.

“So for Now I have made a decision to campaign for Edgar Lungu and I want to participate hence I had to follow that instruction from the Secretary to Cabinet for me to resign. The position of the board chairperson, I don’t do selections myself, I just receive reports from the committees and from management that run the affairs on a day to day basis. Then to say the process of disbursements, the process of selections of that empowerment fund was done and completed. So for me there is no conflict between what I have chosen to do now and the programs at the National Arts Council of Zambia.”

Samwimbila said he wanted to join active politics because he had a lot to offer on the governance and political matters affecting the country.

“Right now myself, what I want is just to break my silence, I have a lot to offer to this nation. I have been in the matters of governance for a long time and I understand a little more than many others who are busy misleading people, and I felt that I cannot continue holding this knowledge, this wisdom to myself, I need to offer my services to the nation at another level. I am a Zambian who wants to take part in the governance and the political matters of the nation. Why do it in November? Because my supervisors, there is a circular to that effect that if you are a civil servant and you want to contribute to these debates, I am ready to contribute to these debates hence I had to break my silence by resigning. One of the things that come to my heart is where people are busy instead of campaigning telling the Zambian people what they want to do for them but they are bringing debates that are dead. The debate of eligibility of President Edgar Lungu is a dead debate,” said Samwimbila.