VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina says the PF has nothing to do with the people splashing cash on social media, alleging that those responsible are UPND members pretending to be PF in order to tarnish the ruling party’s image.

And Vice-President Wina says government is not shielding any senior police officer responsible for State prosecutor Nsama Nsama Chipyoka and Joseph Kaunda’s murder.

Meanwhile, Vice-President Wina says government does not know how much money was paid towards the US $17 million Honeybee Pharmacy Limited tender and cannot presently go into details as the matter is before the courts of law.

Speaking during Vice-President’s Question Time in Parliament, Friday, Vice-President Wina said the alleged cadres seen splashing cash in social media videos that went viral were “watermelons” and merely brandishing money to dent the PF’s image.

(Watermelon is a political term which was coined by the UPND in the last general election to describe people who were seeming “green” on the outside but “red” on the inside in order to avoid being attacked until poll day).

She was responding to a question from Mapatizya UPND member of parliament Clive Miyanda, who wanted to find out where party cadres were getting huge sums of cash when government itself was broke.

“Mr Speaker, the police are already investigating these so-called cadres who are brandishing loads of money in public and the PF is distancing itself from the purported PF cadres, who are seen in several videos that have gone viral brandishing money. This is the more reason why, Mr Speaker, the police have taken keen interest in the matter and has instituted investigations. I will not be surprised, Mr Speaker, to learn after investigations that actually, some of these cadres masquerading as PF belong to other political parties because they are ‘watermelon’, you are right. They are merely brandishing money to dent the image of this hardworking PF government. So, the police and the Drug Enforcement Commission are investigating this matter and we will inform the nation of the outcome at an appropriate time. Mr Speaker, I thank you,” Vice-President Wina replied.

And in response to Kalomo Central UPND member of parliament Harry Kamboni, who wanted to find out what government was doing to ensure the senior officers who were named in the Human Rights Commission report over State prosecutor Chipyoka and Kaunda’s murder, Vice-President Wina said investigations in the matter were still ongoing, insisting that no one would be shielded from the law.

“Mr Speaker, this case is still under investigations and the senior officer in the police who was mentioned in the case was relieved of his duties to allow for more investigations to take place. So, no one is being shielded in this matter. President Lungu himself has insisted that justice should prevail. So, the matter currently is before the court of law. Mr Speaker, I thank you,” she replied.

Meanwhile, Vice-President Wina said that the full details of the Honeybee case would be known once the courts determined the matter.

She was responding to Chikankata UPND member of parliament Kabwe Mwiinga who wanted to find out if there were any mechanisms put in place to recover money from Honeybee Pharmacy that was paid for the sub-standard drugs that were delivered.

“Mr Speaker, the Honeybee case is before the courts of law and the details of the whole case will only be known when the courts have determined the outcome of the case. So, for now, we cannot really go into detail as to how we get back the drugs or the monies, whether monies were paid or not, we still don’t know and how much was paid upfront to this company, we do not know yet. So, the nation will be informed about the outcome of this issue. And if need be, the Minister of Health (Dr Jonas Chanda) will come back to the House to inform the nation on this matter of the Honeybee company and the drugs in our hospitals. I thank you, Sir,” Vice-President Wina said.

And in response to Lukulu East MMD member of parliament Christopher Kalila, who wanted to find out when Zambia would begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, Vice-President Wina said once Cabinet made a decision, the vaccine procurement would begin.

“Government is taking all necessary steps to stem further spread of COVID-19 and particularly mitigate the projected third wave. Mr Speaker, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance are submitting a Cabinet memorandum to Cabinet on the COVID-19 vaccine financing and deployment, and Cabinet will guide very soon; members of the public will be informed accordingly. And government is taking the matter of the COVID-19 seriously and would like to commend all cooperating partners, the United Nations family, the private sector and other stakeholders for the great interest shown in the COVID-19 vaccine. So, once Cabinet has made a decision, the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines will resume and a vaccination schedule will be given to us by the Ministry of Health,” she explained.

On Zambia Airways’ operationalisation, Vice-President Wina stressed that there was still hope that the long-awaited national carrier would fly again despite the aviation sector’s challenges caused by the Coronavirus.

She was responding to Nakonde PF member of parliament Yizukanji Simwanzi, who wanted to find out what plans government has towards the revival of Zambia Airways given the impact of COVID-19 on the aviation sector.

“Mr Speaker, all Zambians are anxious to see Zambia Airways in the air again. Because of the current pandemic that has affected the whole world, the government has to go back to the drawing board to see how we can operationalise Zambia Airways in the new normal. Currently, a lot of countries had grounded their airlines because of the restricted movements of persons from one country to another. Very few countries have maintained their flying schedules. I would say most of the countries reverted to cargo, transporting goods from one country to another and for us in Zambia where we are just addressing the issue of starting an airline, it will take us some time to configure the modalities of which this new airline will be run. For now, Mr Speaker, we still have hope that Zambia Airways will be flying once again. I thank you, Sir,” replied Vice-President Wina.