DEMOCRATIC Party president Harry Kalaba says the way President Hakainde Hichilema defended his Ministers and other appointees involved in scandals is exactly what used to happen under PF.
And Kalaba says he believes Milingo Lungu’s claims on being offered immunity because his version of the story seems to be more sincere than the President’s.
Speaking when he featured on HOT Fm’s Hot Seat programme, Tuesday, Kalaba said if the President continued defending his Ministers, then the situation would be no different from what was happening under PF.
“The President did not even deal with the issue as was asked by [Dingindaba] Buyoya from Diamond TV. He didn’t deal with the issue of why Levy Ngoma and [Josephs] Akafumba have still gone scot-free despite them having been heard in that audio. The President just skirted around the thing and says ‘I will tell you, we should talk’. Why do you want to talk in private over a question that is asked in public? He also went ahead, His Excellency the President, to defend Minister of Foreign Affairs [Stanely] Kakubo. He said ‘I called him and he explained to me’. If that is how corruption is going to be investigated in this country, then nobody will be prosecuted. It is not for the President to just call somebody and find out that ‘did you do this and that’, no he doesn’t have the tools,” he said.
“That is why the President himself, using a statutory instrument, dragged the Anti-Corruption Commission, the police under his desk. So if the President has said the ACC and the DEC are under his desk, why didn’t he ask the ACC and DEC to say ‘please look into this matter and get back to me ASAP’? The way the President was defending his Ministers, this is the same way we used to witness in the PF regime where President Hakainde Hichilema is today telling us to give him evidence. The issue with the President proceeding in that fashion of defending his Ministers that unless we give him evidence that’s when he can act, is that eventually, we will end up with the situation which we had in the PF.”
Kalaba said if the President would take it upon himself to defend his Ministers, then the Anti-Corruption Commission should be disbanded.
“If the President could not give the ACC an opportunity to investigate his Minister Kakubo who was found with what he was found with at Sinoma cement, then he says ‘I called him and it ended there’. The President also called his principal private secretary who was mentioned in the Milingo Lungu saga and it ended there. Then the ACC should be disbanded. I hope the standard he has started with Kakubo is the same standard he will use with all Ministers,” he said.
And Kalaba said it was unfortunate that DPP Lilian Siyunyi had been judged and condemned before her side of the story was even heard.
“In my view, I think the DPP has been judged before she is even heard by the Judicial Complaints Commission. I think His Excellency the President went overboard with his analysis with the issue of the DPP. She was condemned before she is even heard by the JCC which I think is not correct. In this vein, I would want to ask His Excellency the President to lift the oath of secrecy from Madam Lillian Siyunyi, the DPP so that she can also tell her side of the story,” he said.
“I think it is only fair that her side of the story is also heard. With the oath of secrecy that she is currently under, it will be difficult for her to tell us her side of the story. Unless the oath of secrecy is removed, because even if you go before the JCC, there are certain things that you cannot say. But if she is given that liberty, I think in the interest of good governance and in the interest of good administration it is only right that the DPP is heard. She has been condemned and this is how people’s careers get destroyed.”
Kalaba said he would rather believe Milingo over President Hichilema on the alleged immunity offered to the former KCM provisional liquidator because his version seemed more sincere.
“You see, a President who was denying [that] I never met him then he realises that he met him not at this State House but the fact is that he met him. That’s why for me I’m saying I believe Milingo because I think what Milingo is saying is more sincere than what the President unfortunately is telling us. Then he says you are on your own. Whatever that means ‘you are on your own’ I don’t know. Meaning Levy Ngoma did not act alone in that audio, Akafumba did not act on his own in that audio and that is why they are still there,” he said.
“So in every transaction that the President has been mentioned in, it means he has been involved and it is only sad because the highest fountain of authority must restrict itself from things like that. It seems to me it’s a one man show government that the President is running. It’s everything about him. For him [you are] on your own if he is not involved. If you take a decision and he is not involved and [it] backfires, you are on your own. So everybody must line up, be it Ministers, permanent secretaries, they should all line up and hear his version of the story before they take action.”
Meanwhile, Kalaba said President Hichilema should be ready to meet him in 2026 on the battlefield if he didn’t actualise his promises.
“We are not going to be afraid of the President by the way because that is not in our vocabulary, it is not part of our DNA. We are going to tell Mr Hakainde Hichilema with respect that ukubepa abantu tachawama (lying to people is not good). It is not a mark of good leadership. So we are asking the President to begin re-reading through the very many promises he gave. We have been busy here saying mupeniko (give him) seven months. We are the ones who will even make him fail because we are failing to call him to order. We are giving him too much leeway, too much space. It is now that we will tell him because if he doesn’t do it, he should be preparing himself to meet us in 2026 on the battlefield,” said Kalaba.