TOURISM and Arts Minister Ronald Chitotela says the ruling Patriotic Front feels sorry for the people whose livelihood is hand to mouth and that is why party members are sharing mealie meal because they share the pain.
And Chitotela says the PF is planing to translate the Constitution Court judgement into all local languages to ensure that people understand that the court said President Edgar Lungu did not serve a full term when he was elected in 2015.
Meanwhile, Chitotela says the corruption song has failed to discredit the Patriotic Front and critics have since resolved to peddling an anti-third term narrative which is baseless.
Speaking on 5fm ‘Burning Issue” radio program Chitotela said President Lungu was doing his best to stabilise the economy and those fighting him should be mindful that they may be fighting God.
He said President Lungu was destined to be Zambia’s leader.
“For you to be called President, there must be people you are presiding over. President Lungu is President of Zambia and he can be proud to see that every Zambian is living in harmony and comfort. I can tell you, except that I am under oath so I cannot disclose. President Lungu cautions all of us to be sensitive to the needs of the people in our community. That is why you are seeing some mealie meal that some people are sharing, it is not that we are taking advantage of the vulnerability of people. It is the desire of wanting to share with the less privileged. You feel your brother’s pain whose livelihood is hand to mouth. PF is feeling for those people. I understand the sufferings of the people,” Chitotela said.
“It is not that when the Dollar is high, us we are celebrating. So the President is trying everything possible to stabilise the economic activities of this country. If we can refer to the Bible President Lungu was destined to be President of Zambia, look at where he is coming from. There are certain things you don’t fight otherwise you begin fighting God.”
And Chitotela said some people were trying to disfranchise and confuse voters by suggesting that the PF has no candidate to field in the upcoming general elections.
“Those who are talking about Lungu they are just afraid, because they know that Ba Lungu is the most popular Presidential candidate today. They are creating a disfranchising process, because they know that legally, President Lungu qualifies. I know that I will be ridiculed by our social bloggers but the truth must be stated. According to What the judges had written, whoever wants to insult me can insult, I am reading from the Judgement, the problem is that we don’t read. It was not a majority judgement, it was unanimous judgement, all the seven judges. Anyway our friends have the legal right to go back, even us we went back as Ministers to ask the Constitution Court, did the Constitution Court change their position? No! I am not a lawyer but I am just being practical, the term is starting in 2016, the question that you asked whether he is qualified or not it is not necessary because he did not serve that term,” Chitotela said.
“So, I don’t know where this question is coming from. The same lawyers who were speaking today were part of the lawyers that petitioned. When you go for a competition you must understand that there must be a winner and a loser. We were contended in the Constitution Court as Ministers we lost and we accepted. They contended the eligibility of the President and the court ruled and they lost, but they don’t want to accept.”
Chitotela added that the party would ensure that the judgement was translated into all the major local languages so that people can understand that President Lungu was eligible.
“They are doing politics, they want to disfranchise people, those weak minds to tell them that ba Lungu will not stand, it is a third term so that people should start believing, not that they have any legal leg they are standing on. It is just politics. Us in PF our friends in Luapula this judgement we have printed and we have given it to all the districts. We will also give those who know how to translate, to translate to all languages especially in Luapula in Bemba. We will also ask the chairman in Western Province to interpret in Lozi, even in North Western and Eastern we will distribute so that we give those people who don’t understand English, they should be reading for themselves. So that they know that what our friends are speaking is just politics. They want people to start thinking that maybe what this lawyer is speaking is the truth, A lawyer can win a case in court, a lawyer does not win a case in a newspaper, a lawyer does not win on social media. If they have a strong case against President Lungu what are they waiting for? That ‘we want when he files his nomination, that is when we are going to challenge him’, let them go now and stop him,” Chitotela said
“Let them go to the same court so that they can stop him. Why are they waiting for him to file in his nomination that is when they are going to challenge him. What they are standing on is disfranchising, they just want to disfranchise President Edgar Chagwa Lungu so that the weak minds who are standing on the fence will believe to say it is a third term. Our friends in opposition know that if they are three things that Zambians don’t like is a third term, corruption and violence. They know that the song of corruption has not been sticking, so now they go to issue of third term so that they start bringing issues. Chiluba was President for how many years? Ba Lungu has worked for how many years? Six. Those that made the law stated that President is supposed to serve two terms. We define a term of office as 36 months on three years, did President Lungu serve 36 months? No!”
Meanwhile Chitotela said he would ensure that the Treasury settles all salary arrears owed to national Museum workers.
“As at last year December and January, they got the salaries. If they had arrears it is before I became a Minister maybe we can agree but from the time I became a Minister of Tourism the last month that they have not been paid, and I am pushing the Ministry of Finance to release the funding, it is February. If you say they have stayed for nine months without being paid as though you are telling me that since I was there they don’t get paid. I accept on that which I found. I take responsibility for month of February and I am pushing the Treasury to release the funding. Before I became a Minister yes I found a backlog and I have been engaging the Treasury to mobilise resources to clear the backlog that I found. My workers know what I have done. Government will endeavour to clear all the debt that I found in terms of salary arrears to the workers,” said Chitotela.