PRESIDENTIAL Spokesperson Anthony Bwalya says at no point or time has President Hakainde Hichilema referenced or taunted his predecessors, directly or indirectly.
Meanwhile, former Kabwe Central PF member of parliament Tutwa Ngulube has written an open letter to Bwalya, urging him to desist from clarifying every statement President Hichilema makes.
Speaking upon arrival from the United Kingdom, Saturday, President Hichilema said a clique of thieves had been feeding off public resources since independence.
“You have to be careful when you ask questions of ethnicity. First, you must start from the premise that all Zambians are entitled to jobs and we must not make an issue because that is a human right. You are entitled to be a Journalist that is why you are a journalist. Are you a tribalist because you are a journalist? You are not. That is mischief by the tribalists, the hegemonists who did not want this country to be run by anyone else other than a clique of thieves like them,” said President Hichilema.
“And I call them a clique of thieves because they have been feeding off public resources from independence and they don’t think that someone else, other people can run a country in a better way to redistribute jobs, to redistribute resources. This is what a callous mind does and it doesn’t bother me a lot at all. This country was divided in the last 10 years, Cabinet came from only four provinces, 95 percent of Cabinet came from four provinces. Today, the Cabinet comes from all 10 provinces. You should be proud of that.”
But this statement has been received with mixed feelings among netizens. While some say what the Head of State said was an understatement, others feel it was disrespectful towards all past presidents.
And in a statement, Sunday, Bwalya attempted to clarify President Hichilema’s remarks.
“President Hakainde Hichilema on his arrival from COP26 summit in Scotland emphasized how crucially important it is that the new administration shifts the balance of resources from central government and much towards communities where our people live. The President has on numerous occasions indicated this to be the only way to deliver people-centered development, by allowing the people to be in charge of how resources are dispensed with at local level, as well as be accountable for the use of these resources. At no point or time has the President referenced or taunted his predecessors, directly or indirectly as part of the new administration’s flagship decentralization policy, except to highlight what has been a perpetual culture of short-changing the people of Zambia by a heavily centralized system of managing public resources,” stated Bwalya.
“The new administration’s policy on decentralization is aimed at bringing an end to the counterproductive norm of centralized government bureaucracy which has historically acted as a catalyst for corruption and theft of public resources, thereby limiting development dividends for ordinary citizens at community level.”
Meanwhile, in an open letter shared on his Facebook Page, Sunday, Ngulube said President Hichilema should desist from attacking his predecessors or former government officials publicly.
“Sir, of [let] your President has been quoted as having attacked his predecessors and also the that you inherited empty coffers. We crave your President to please desist from attacking his predecessors or former government officials for three reasons: collective responsibility, oath of office, oath of secrecy by collective responsibility. Your President and his Cabinet are bound by all government decisions made by the past regime and he can’t escape or attack such publicly. Some information that he comes across is not meant for the public,” read the letter.
“Let him strike a balance between national duty and personal wishes. Kindly also desist from clarifying every statement the President makes. Right now, our main problems are not statements but Zesco, fertilizer, roads, jobs etc. I hope and trust that this letter will find you in good health and in a mood that will enable you to be at peace with me. Your supporters will not see sense in this today but when the sun rises, they will remember this. We shall continue to educate you in the spirit of One Zambia One Nation.”
Ngulube advised Bwalya to familiarise himself with the Cabinet Handbook adding that whatever the Head of State said became a government policy.
“With due respect Mr Bwalya I write to request you to please read this and discuss it with the President. I want to request you sir to familiarize yourself with the Cabinet Handbook. Sir, whatever the President or Minister says becomes government’s policy. Remember that you are not Chief Government Spokesperson and you are not Information Minister and you must remember that State House is just an office and not government. Sir, at Parliament which holds the Executive accountable, there is a Committee on Government Assurances. It takes stock of all the promises you make and will summon your vice- president and Ministers to account and all their answers will be put in a book called “Action Taken Report,”” stated Ngulube.
“Sir, we don’t want to see your President’s name in that book because he accused predecessors of theft. We urge you sir, to differentiate between his position as Party President and his Position as Head of State( HE). As HE, he is in Charge of all the State institutions including Defense Forces. Sir, he has so much power that even his joke can land someone in jail.”