ECONOMIC Front leader Wynter Kabimba says the UPND government’s decision to cancel all drug supply contracts which were signed by PF claiming that they were corrupt is political pettiness.
Meanwhile, Kabimba says sitting Presidents must not have immunity and must face the law if they commit a crime while in office.
Speaking when he featured on Millennium Radio, Wednesday, Kabimba claimed that UPND had told its party supporters to register companies so that they could supply drugs.
“In clinics, there are no ARVs, so people are dying when AIDS has stopped killing people in this country, in fact in the world. Malaria is killing people in the world today than AIDS because people can live for a long time on ARVs. There are no ARVs in hospitals. And somehow, everybody is singing this is a new dawn, this is a new death trap. The UPND government has come into being to decimate the population of this country as if we are in the war in Ukraine. Go and find the money and finance the purchase of drugs. But the cause of this is political pettiness of the UPND. They have cancelled all the contracts of drug suppliers under PF claiming that all those guys were corrupt,” Kabimba said.
“They have told their cadres to go to PACRA and register new companies to supply drugs. So, I don’t see how a reasonable government in my view can cancel contracts, risk the lives of people just because you now want to pass those contracts on to your political vessels or supporters.”
Kabimba said the health system had completely crumbled.
“I watched a clip last evening by the Minister of Health. I actually thought she was going to issue a ministerial statement on the state of our health care. I was surprised and possibly shocked that she was addressing the nation through Parliament and talking about recruitment of health workers, which was interesting. She said health workers are not only referring to doctors and nurses, it is also referring to drivers. Driver ni health worker? (Is a driver a health worker?) I found that ridiculous. I am still challenging the Minister of Health and President, let them give us a breakdown of that 11,200. To play with our intelligence by telling us that a driver is also included when we know that all they want to do is employ their UPND cadres as drivers and cleaners. Those are the ones that are going to swallow the 11,200. The Minister of Health should address the state of our health care system which has completely crumbled,” he said.
And Kabimba recalled how he was charged with the responsibility of moving a motion in Parliament to strip off late former president Rupiah Banda’s immunity.
“I was charged with the responsibility as Minister of Justice after RB lost power to Michael Sata to put together a motion for presentation to Parliament to strip him of his immunity so that he could face prosecution for alleged corruption activities when he was Head of State. And this matter went to Cabinet, I remember addressing a caucus meeting of all PF members of parliament at government house and everybody was agreeable that we were doing the right thing. When the motion came up in Parliament, there was so much protest from the MMD then and I think rightly so for them because RB was their member and the former President, joined by the UPND, walked out of the House twice and I remember the Speaker had to call in state police at one point to come and control order in the House,” he narrated.
“Finally, I was given the opportunity to present the motion and on a simple majority because the PF had the numbers, the motion was carried. That was in 2013, in 2014, Michael Sata dies and after the election of ECL, RB went court, he instituted a civil suit because before that if you remember, Mutembo Nchito who was the Director of Public Prosecutions was hounded out of office by PF, so the prosecution couldn’t start against RB. Following that event, RB went to court, he instituted a civil suit and demanded that his immunity be restored.”
Kabimba said he felt betrayed by the PF because he was projected as the bad “boy” for moving the motion.
“What really surprised me, nobody in the PF has been able to explain that to date, how the same people that voted for that motion to strip RB off his immunity, were the same people that again supported the restoration of his immunity. So, did I feel let down? Yes. Because then what was projected was that all these guys were the good guys, I was the bad boy. So, banisambila bonse (they washed their hands off the case), they became good guys, so I was projected I am sure to RB and the nation at large that I was the bad boy. They also projected the impression that this was an agenda between Michael Sata who was dead then and myself and all this is not correct,” he said.
“So, I came to learn that we have a problem of leadership in our country, we have people that are in leadership positions that take positions that they don’t believe in and I think what the PF did was not good. I felt betrayed. If they wanted… because this was a party and government thing, they would have gone back to RB and apologised. But to project an impression like because I was out of PF and Michael was dead, and therefore they must renege on this position was an act of betrayal.”
When asked if he had apologised to RB over the matter, Kabimba said the two never discussed the issue.
“We never discussed it. At no point did RB bring it up with me. I remember one day when I was at his house, there was a group of ministers and parliamentarians that came to pay him a visit, and RB was talking about reconciliation, he was talking about how we should live together and he made a comment in passing and he said ‘look at Wynter, he moved a motion against me in Parliament to strip me off my immunity, but here he is, I am seated with him, having a cup of tea with him.’ That is the only time RB made mention of that incident, meaning that he did not take it to heart,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kabimba said sitting Presidents must face the law if they committed an offence, arguing that the article in the Constitution which confers immunity on a Head of State should be done away with.
“I think the issue that we should start debating now is whether or not we should continue with the article in the Constitution that confers immunity on the President against prosecution while they are in office and outside. I believe and I take this view that that article in the Constitution must be done away with. We should go the line of other countries including the United States where if the President commits an offence while they are serving, immediately they must be subjected to the arms of the law. They must be investigated and if they are found wanting, they must be prosecuted and they must be removed from office,” said Kabimba.
“In my view, this is bad law because it allows every criminal or criminally inclined candidate to aspire for the office of President and hide under this cocoon of immunity and do sorts of wrong things and wait for this process of removal of immunity. In the meantime, the man and woman in that position have already done great damage, adverse damage to your nation and the interest of the nation. Nobody should go into State House with the view of committing an offence.”