SPECIAL Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Isaac Chipampe says the President Edgar Lungu will not succumb to public pressure to fire Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo over last month’s fatal police shooting because Cabinet changes remain the Head of State’s prerogative.
Last week, aspiring 2021 PF presidential candidate Kelvin Bwalya Fube (KBF) demanded Kampyongo’s dismissal, saying State Prosecutor Nsama Nsama and Joseph Kaunda’s blood was on his hands following the deadly police shootings around the Force Headquarters area on December 23.
But commenting on Fube’s appeal, Chipampe said President Lungu could not be drawn into hiring or firing Cabinet Ministers based on appeals made by stakeholders.
“People are free to talk. This is the democracy we talk about, freedom of expression and people are free to debate in a democracy because we don’t live in a dictatorship. People are free to express themselves. I am sure there are people who also have different opinions about what you are saying. At the end of the day, the person who is in charge of what you are referring to is the President. And the President makes decisions on behalf of the Zambian people. At the moment, the decisions he has made, the reshuffles in the police are informed decisions, when he makes any decision, it is an informed decision,” said Chipampe in an interview.
“The use of ‘most’ [people] is neither here nor there because we haven’t done any research to say this number of people are more than the other number of people. So, to use the word ‘most’ would be unfair. That is not the way the President operates; he can’t just be making changes based on what people are saying on social media. That is not how you preside over national issues. Yes, you respect people’s opinions in a democracy, but when it comes to decision-making, you make a decision as the person in charge. You can imagine, even yourself, if people started speaking about you that, ‘Diggers! should fire Julia’ and just because of that, your boss fires you? No, that is not how you manage affairs.”
Speaking during Hot FM’s ‘Hot Seat’ programme last Thursday, KBF complained that too many people had died under Kampyongo’s watch.
“Every Ministry has a chain of command. Why was Stephen Kampyongo on TV addressing the nation before this event? Because he was the Minister in charge. He must take responsibility. How many times have you had political differences between the opposition and the ruling party and someone has to be killed? Whether it is Western Province, Southern Province wherever, the two clash under Kampyongo’s watch, someone must die. For what? No! This is irresponsible,” said KBF.
“The Minister has been irresponsible throughout his term. How many people have died under Kampyongo’s watch? He doesn’t know what he is doing. When you give him too much force to use, he thinks the only way to resolve issues is to be brutal. Times have changed. In a democratic dispensation, you expect a minister to think, ‘how am I going to handle this situation if this happens?’ Fire him! Get someone who can think. Why are you reshuffling these people? The police took instructions from the Minister. Why are you firing [Bonny] Kapeso? What has he done? Even if you fire him, to what effect? How does that change what has happened? Let Kampyongo know that we are not happy with his administration.”