Arrest Kambwili for ‘defaming’ Lungu

President Edgar Lungu with former Information minister Chishimba Kambwili

When we first heard Honourable Chishimba Kambwili calling President Edgar Lungu a corrupt thief, we were convinced that he had dug his own grave in which he would immediately be buried. We felt that he had gone too far.

Before Kambwili made these accusations, there was no politician who had the courage to bluntly call the president corrupt. Opposition leaders were beating about the bush, calling State House advisors criminals, but not the Head of State himself.

It was understandable why our opposition leaders were afraid of placing corruption allegations on the President’s head because President Lungu has made himself a name as an intolerant leader whose style of politics does not take kindly to open castigation. This is not a President whom you can call names and walk away with it. A Chingola businessman was arrested last October for merely filming one of the controversial fire tenders and saying “this truck cannot cost K9.5 million, Lungu you are a thief”.

But Honourable Kambwili has gone from radio to television, naming and shaming the President. He is preaching to the public that Zambia is under the leadership of the most corrupt President; a kabolala, a pompwe! In his own words, Kambwili says: “Lungu, ukufuma kutukondo ukufika kumishishi (from his toes to his hair), it is all corruption! His walk is corruption, his talk is corruption, his sitting is corruption, whatever he touches is corruption.”

Two weeks ago the former minister of Information moved a step further to single out one incident in which he claims the President corruptly and personally awarded a government contract to a company of his interest.

Kambwili says before he was fired, the Head of State phoned the controlling officer at the Ministry of Information and ordered the cancellation of the tender process for Digital Migration so that the contract could be given to Star Times of China. He claims President Lungu personally phoned the Permanent Secretary and gave a directive for single sourcing, after he had already directed the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) not to object.

Given the speed at which the police moved to arrest the offender in the Chingola fire tender accusation, we thought this claim would be considered a clear case of defamation of the President. We were afraid of what would happen to the former minister for lying because State House has made us believe that the Head of State is a dignified man who cannot do such a thing, and be that careless for that matter.

Since Kambwili made these allegations against President Lungu, we have been waiting for him to be arrested and charged for defaming the Head of State. It has been two weeks now and there is silence; the police are just malingering around with trivial charges against the former chief government spokesperson – accusing him of faking his son’s signature.

Is that all the State has against Kambwili? Why is State House silent on such a damaging accusation against the President? Are they not concerned about the reputation of the Head of State anymore? Why is the state running away from this very big issue here?

Bwana Inspector General Sir, Kambwili is praying day and night that you arrest him for calling the president a corrupt thief. What are you waiting for? This is a case for which you don’t need State House to give you orders. Simply arrest the man and take him to court. What are you waiting for?

This silence actually ‘sounds’ as if the police have been told not to touch Kambwili on the Digital Migration claims. It seems the State fears that prosecuting the former minister on this issue would open a Pandora’s box. Maybe there is more that the President did which has not even been revealed yet; otherwise we don’t understand the apprehension from the police command.

Can Mr Kakoma Kanganja explain why he is allowing Mr Kambwili to continue ‘defaming’ the President? We believe that lying against a Head of State is a serious offence which should not be tolerated, especially from a man who is still under oath of secrecy.

But it seems Honourable Kambwili knows that oath of secrecy doesn’t mean protecting the criminality of the President. That is why he is courageously challenging the Head of State and the entire government to take him to court. He wants to divulge more of what he knows about the President, but with the protection of the law.

This is exactly what Zambian citizens are yearning for. They want police to arrest Kambwili for defaming their President, so that he can prove his allegations in court. Citizens want to know if indeed they voted for a Pompwe who has been stealing from them all along, as the former minister charges.

The consequences of failing to arrest Kambwili on this matter are that the rest of us as citizens will have no option but to believe that the President is indeed a corrupt criminal. All Zambians will then be free to call the Head of State a pompwe, a thief. Already, we are beginning to believe that truly, President Lungu broke the law by making a phone call to the Ministry of Information to give illegal orders.

The ruling party has challenged former ministers who have left government to be specific in their corruption allegations against the President. Now we are wondering how specific Kambwili is expected to be in his accusation against the Head of State. He has already reported to the public that Mr Lungu abused his Presidential powers by getting involved in the tender process for a government contract. Does he have to name the network which the President used to call the Permanent Secretary or does he have to describe the model of the phone that was used? What more does the PF want?

         

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