TOURISM Minister Ronald Chitotela says he is now walking with his head high after suffering public ridicule on allegations that he was a corrupt man.
And Chitotela says the insults that people throw in President Edgar Lungu have a damaging effect on his family.
Meanwhile, Chitotela, who is also Pambashe PF member of parliament, says the Constitutional Court ruling on the grade 12 certificate should be respected, and went further to declare himself ‘overqualified’ to stand, as he passed at first attempt.
Speaking when he featured on Radio Phoenix’s Let the People Talk program, Tuesday, Chitotela said some Zambians don’t want anyone to get rich.
“We need to celebrate one another, we must not kill each other, please. One former first lady said the challenge we have in Zambia, everybody wants to get rich but we don’t want anyone to get rich. If your friend starts rising, we all gang up to bring that person down, again umbi atampa ukwima (when another starts rising), we bring them down, as a result, we all live in this confusion where we are just fighting one another, we don’t want anyone to do anything. Umunenu ngatampa ukuchita bwino, nikabolala, aliba corrupt (when someone starts doing well, you label him a thief or as being corrupt). They scare you to the extent where if you are in a ministerial position or government, you are almost grounding, you even fail to make decisions, halting the operations of government, you are scaring to say if I do this…now leadership is about decision making, as long as your conscious tells you, ‘you are doing the right thing for the betterment of Zambians’, Zambia first, you must move,” he said.
“I am a practical example, I am moving with my head high. The time I was at infrastructure, I was ridiculed left, right and centre. I was social bullied, ‘he is corrupt, he has bought houses’. I told people, I have what I have in Zambia, I have never invested outside Zambia, what I have is in Zambia because I am a Zambian, I am a patriot. The intention was to frustrate me from implementing the programs to benefit Zambians and people thought government was spending a lot of money without realising that money that we saw in infrastructure development was a project financing, no single ngwee came to Zambia because we marketed infrastructure well. Investors came from outside Zambia and negotiated with government to say okay, ngatwamipangila umusebo uyu (if we make this road) for so much, mukesa tulipila (you will pay) after 17 years, and people begun investing. The airport was the same, Ndola airport, lusaka decongestion, I had to send PS Mushota to India to go and negotiate with the Indian government for what we are celebrating today as Lusaka decongestion. There must be somebody to make decisions for the betterment of Zambia but that’s why up to today I am a proud minister that I superintended over infrastructure for four years with zero audit query.”
He added that President is being frustrated because he is focused on bringing development to the country and some people don’t want that.
“So what I have realised in Zambia is that if you are doing the right thing, they would want to frustrate you and because President Lungu is focused on development, people are not comfortable, they would want to frustrate him, they have tried corruption allegations, you remember they started with his citizenship… That’s why I say even if someone is a President, we must realise that he has family, he has children, he has nephews, he has people who respect him. The way you social bully or the way you insult him, you are hurting those people that believe in that person. Can’t we have a situation where we sanitise politics, we differ on policies and not on personal? We must have differences on policies where we sit and say my friend, these are my goals, these are your goals, lets debate. Name calling, insulting, accusing people of things that they have not done, we are bent on destroying their reputation, you may think you are destroying me today, tomorrow it will come back to you,” Chitotela said.
And Chitotela said the opposition are using the Constitutional Court judgement to disfranchise President Lungu by creating doubts in the minds of undecided voters.
“All the judges agreed to this position and signed…that’s why I am saying that what our friends are doing is disfranchising President Lungu, those of opposing views. The best they should have done is going back to court and ask as ministers because we thought the constitution court will make a different decision, we went back to court three times and they maintained their position so we had no choice but to pay. What our friends are doing now it is disfranchise President Lungu by creating doubts in the minds of people that are sitting on the fence. No it’s a third term, no it’s not a third term, from 2015 to 2021, how many years, it’s six years. President Lungu has just served for six years,” said Chitotela.