In this video, President Edgar Lungu’s spokesperson Amos Chanda says there are rampant cases of people going round private companies extorting money in his name and that of the Head of State.
And Chanda says if Zambia was not a democracy, he would have been beyond the reach of the judiciary; but because there is democracy he has been compelled to obey a court summon even when he does not know why he is wanted.
Chanda said this from the State House stand and the ongoing Zambia International Trade Fair in Ndola today.
“The practice of people extorting money from private companies is rampant. The reason why we are talking about it is because some of this extortion is in the name of State House. Some of it is in the name of the Vice-President, some of it, in the name of the First Lady. And I can tell you, in terms of abuse of the name, it’s the President, the vice president, myself and the first lady,” Chanda said.
He said people were using his name even more than they were using the name of Vice-President Inonge Wina.
“In that order the highest number of cases of using people in high positions it’s the President, then my name is even more rampant, then the vice president, then the first lady, then there is minister Chitotela in that order. It could be much more. These companies, some of then are so scared to refuse when they hear that it’s in the name of Mr Chanda. I think I will be seen on TV to say I didn’t send that person,” Chanda said.
He said if he wants to beg for money from private companies, he will do it himslef without asking a representative.
“So police are at liberty to investigate such cases which have already happened. But for those who are not yet victims, we are stating here that if an incident like that were to occur, I would speak to them myself. If need was to arise for me to ask for money from private companies I would speak to them, but I cannot foresee that need arising. Unless if I am a member of a cancer foundation raising money,” Chanda said.
“But I am not saying the act of kindness must be curtailed, There is no law here which stops funding of political parties, so if a company has a relationship with a political party and they want to donate in a normal way, that is acceptable.”
And Chanda said he does not know why he was summoned to appear in court for contempt, adding that if Zambia was not a democracy, he would have been beyond the reach of the court.
“I was in court myself; if you look at the definition of dictatorship, those in power are beyond the reach of any other system, but for us we are obeying. When the court calls, even when I don’t know why I was called, I will go and listen. If they say it’s adjourned until fifth, I will go back on the fifth. The independence of the judiciary is in motion. I am a member of the executive myself but I don’t know why I was called, I will hear when the day comes. So those are not the elements of a dictatorship,” Chanda said.
“The affirmation of Zambia as a democracy does not lie in the notion of lawlessness. That people should throw stones at private property, must set fire to private property, must bring down power lines and when they are not arrested, then democracy exists, that’s absurd. Democracy presupposes that there will be rule of law, protection of private property, guarantee and safety of life, that’s when you can say there is space for democracy.”