ZAMBEZI East UPND member of parliament Brian Kambita says it is difficult to take President Edgar Lungu’s warning that a second wave of COVID-19 is on the horizon seriously because his actions don’t match.
On Tuesday, President Lungu warned that if citizens stopped adhering to the COVID-19 public health guidelines, the predicted second wave of the pandemic would be devastating.
But in an interview, Kambita noted that President Lungu conducted work visits from one province to another with large gatherings that did not adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.
“Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Zambia, we sounded the warning and we did communicate to the citizens. As much as I do appreciate that leadership is responsible for ensuring that our people’s health is taken care of, it must be devoid of political decisions. What I seem to see in most of these statements and especially those coming from our colleagues in the Executive is much more targeted at what will advantage them in terms of upcoming elections and what will disadvantage the opposition, even in their actions in terms of influencing the police to get to deny permits for the opposition to gather. At some point we even had challenges to hold intra party elections. People had to go in the bush. And yet on the other side, we have seen mobilization rallies on the Copperbelt, we have seen the Head of State make his work visits to places like Luapula, Southern Province and many other places outside of Lusaka,” Kambita said.
“We have seen huge crowds, many people who were not masked, close to each other and all that has been happening. All that, he has put a blind eye on. And when it favors the PF, it is okay to break the rules of the coronavirus. But when it is anything that threatens their stay in power, then they pull out these guidelines and pretend like they are serious. For me, such statements I don’t take them seriously. And I think any well-meaning Zambian should not take such pronouncements seriously because it is an action that speaks louder than just words. I think the Presidents’ statement is neither here nor there, it should not be taken serious because in action we don’t see him encouraging the good behavior towards prevention of the coronavirus.”
Kambita, however, urged members of the public to always adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.
“We are not telling citizens that there is no coronavirus. There is coronavirus that is a fact. What is probably saving our people in this end of the world is probably their immunity levels. People have been tested and have been found positive including some of my colleagues members of parliament. We need to take it seriously except that when we are applying these measures, they need to be applied uniformly. Let us not be making these decisions with a political mind. We are challenging that statement that it is simply being made for purposes of political mileage and not really the seriousness that comes with reality because the behavior is not consistent with the statements,” said Kambita.
“It is one thing to issue a statement, it is another to do actually what you say. It is difficult for people to believe in those statements when the actions are in contradiction with what one is stating. Except I would urge Zambians to take precautions when going into public, mask up. When you touch surfaces, always wash your hands and make sure you move with a small bottle of sanitizers and avoid crowded places.”
Quoting President Lungu in a statement, Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Isaac Chipampe said the Head of State was concerned that while the second wave of COVID-19 was on the horizon, people had relaxed the adherence to health guidelines.
“The President Zambia has cautioned that a new wave of COVID-19 seems to be on the horizon and all citizens must abide by the health guidelines put in place by experts. The President has observed with dismay poor adherence to prescribed public health measures that has contributed to the sudden increase and geographical spread in the country in the last two weeks. The President says it is mandatory that all citizens must wear masks, maintain social distancing, avoid shaking hands, and wash hands frequently with soap. The President has noted with concern a generalised spread of COVID-I9 with North-Western; Muchinga, Copperbelt Central, Lusaka and Southern Provinces most affected,” stated Chipampe.