UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says abusing public institutions like the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) to suppress press freedom by threatening News Diggers! newspaper is wrong.
And Hichilema says because of former health minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya, many Zambians are treating sexually transmitted diseases and dealing with unwanted pregnancies.
Meanwhile, Hichilema has asked President Edgar Lungu to release the report on who shot Nsama Nsama and Joseph Kaunda to the public.
Speaking on Diamond TV’s Diamond Live programme, Tuesday night, Hichilema wondered how NAPSA could work on an instruction from Lusaka lawyer Tutwa Ngulube.
“I think we are talking about a rim of threats; no one should talk about the health pandemic resources, anyone who talks is threatened with big bills. I understand a lawyer, Tutwa Ngulube, wrote to NAPSA to do an investigation on the Diggers! and NAPSA acted on the instruction of Tutwa Ngulube and wrote a letter to Diggers that they would do an investigation on NAPSA contributions. This is abuse of public institutions, suppressing opinions and views, so that tomorrow even if there is corruption happening no one should talk. If they were using their private money we wouldn’t talk but because they are using people’s money we must talk, Diggers must talk,” Hichilema said.
“They must have their freedoms to say the things they have seen. What is challengeable is to say was Diggers right or not? Was there expired medicines? There was! What did the Parliamentary Committee resolve over Honeybee? You watched it on television. You watched the proceedings of the Parliamentary committee, so why go for Diggers? [You want] to suppress Diggers, shut it down the way they shut The Post, shut everybody down they way they shut Prime Television, tomorrow they will come and try to shut Diamond Television down. That is an autocratic way of doing things. This is why it is time for change. We cannot continue with this sort of behaviour where you use state institutions to threaten the media.”
Hichilema said News Diggers! did not participate in any scandals but merely reported what was obtaining in the country.
“The Anti-Corruption Commission is in the process of investigations and you shut them out indirectly by threatening them through threatening those who are reporting. What is the meaning of the media? It is a road of which news passes, they are not the news generators. Diggers! are not the ones who were corruptly involved in the contract, they are just reporters. The thing is that, can we assess the correctness whether there was a contract where drugs were expired. That is what we were told. So why go for Diggers? We must stop this! This is why we must all work together, all the people of Zambia must say ‘can we afford another five years of such destructive behaviour?’ Certain things we must say it hasn’t worked in the past, it won’t work today, it won’t work tomorrow. This PF horse is dead! You can throw a dead horse, it won’t move, it won’t win you a race,” Hichilema said.
And Hichilema said some people had syphilis because of Dr Chilufya.
“We are aware of the Honeybee issue and an individual who is accused, alleged to be involved in the Honeybee scandal today is appointed as a member of the budget committee in Parliament. What is that? This is what is happening, we can’t do things like that in the UPND because we understand the implications of that contract. Those expired drugs, someone is going to be pregnant when they didn’t want to because the condom was not working, someone would have syphilis because the drugs and the equipments were expired. You can’t now promote them and put them in the budget committee of Parliament. That is a joke, that is a disaster! So you will not see such decisions in the UPND,” Hichilema said.
Meanwhile, Hichilema asked President Lungu to release the report on the killing of Nsama and Kaunda and insisted that justice would only be guaranteed if an inquest was done.
“Now will Nsama Nsama and Joseph Kaunda get justice? The answer is no! in the first place, you can’t ask the police to investigate themselves. What do you expect? You expect the police to indict themselves? The answer to that is the inquest. Joseph Kaunda’s family have asked for an inquest, they must get it! Nsama Nsama’s family have asked for an inquest they must get it! In addition, that report is long over due and should be made public. Why sneak it to the DPP? This is a rear development, make it public. Who shot dead Nsama Nsama? Who shot dead Joseph Kaunda? It is a matter of public interest. First make the report public then allow the inquest. Nsama Nsama’s family have now come to ask for an inquest. Inquest will bring more independent results than the current situation,” said Hichilema.
“Then you cannot have justice if the Commander, the rank Commander-in-Chief, must have known what was happening and I think that is why he was conveniently out of town. We must start speculating, what instructions did he live behind? Secondly, the Home Affairs Minister was it by chance that he was in Chinsali when these things were happening? I don’t know I am not sure. I doubt if there will be justice, let us have an inquest.”