(Chimweta Luyando and Mwape Mbwelela)
CHISHIMBA Kambwili has accused President Edgar Lungu of being a corrupt man who is not fit to be a Head of State.
And Kambwili says instead of applauding those in the PF government who are stealing public resources, Zambians must unite to challenge the plunderers.
Meanwhile, Kambwili says now that he has known the meaning of a pro-PF political jingle, dununa reverse, he regrets participating in singing it at the height of the 2016 general elections campaigns.
The Roan PF member of parliament has further disclosed that he used to buy PF deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri toilet paper.
Addressing journalists at his Woodlands residence in Lusaka this afternoon, Kambwili, who is Roan PF member of parliament, said while he respected the President, he did not respect his corruption.
“President Lungu is corrupt and there is no way we can be beating about the bush. The man is corrupt and is not fit to be a Head of State. If telling him that he is corrupt is an insult, I’m 100 per cent guilty and come and arrest me. If you are corrupt, we’ll not call you humble man [because] there is no humbleness in stealing. Mwakubelaminafye mulya ati (it’s just a hiding place) humble. Whoever says President Lungu is a humble leader is being economical with the truth! Lungu is corrupt,”
He parried public assertions that he was only denouncing corruption now because he was out of the government, emphasising that “the truth of the matter is that I have always fought corruption”.
“For those who want to hide under the umbrella of ‘why is he talking about corruption now?’ you must know that my circumstances are now different. At that time (as minister), I would fight corruption right inside the government] and my reasoning was that if I resign, what am I going to achieve? Then I’ll just be leaving the thieves to continue. By the way, that is the reason why I was removed out of government. One, my stance on corruption and secondly, President Edgar Lungu was scared of me – I was a threat to him. So, for those who want to ask me ‘why were you not talking about it….? like today, there is this young man from the Daily Nation who was following [asking] ‘why were you not talking about corruption when you were in Cabinet?’ We know you the Daily Nation; they are an extension of State House propaganda,”
“So, I want to make it very clear; you can ask people in Cabinet and they will tell you; if the President gives me the immunity to tell the nation what used to happen in Cabinet, you’ll get surprised that some people even stopped talking to me in Cabinet. Somebody even approached me and said ‘mwamona mweba Bemba ifyo mwaba (Have you seen how you Bembas are), you are attacking your fellow Bemba…. [But] it’s not about being Bemba but it’s about corruption. Somebody in that Cabinet approached me [and asked] ‘how can you be attacking your fellow Bemba, abanensu imitundu yabo tabaichita attack (our colleagues don’t attack their tribesmen) and I told them that it’s not about being Bemba but it’s about Zambia. So, in a nutshell I used to talk about corruption even when I was in government. So, for those who want to sing this song of ‘why is he talking now’; the truth of the matter is that I have always hated corruption!”
The former information minister and chief government spokesman disclosed that he was reliably informed that the ruling party was scheming to start a media campaign to dent his reputation.
“Epo mwingamwena ati (that’s where you can see you that) this government is corrupt and that there is no leadership. I received an SMS (Short Messaging System) from one of the PF members – I’ll not give you the name of the person but I’ll read the message just to show you that PF is finished because of corruption. The message is ‘we have just finished a meeting with the secretary general, Sunday Chanda and all blogs belonging to PF where we’ve been instructed to start scandalising you on issues that are neither here nor there. We were told they don’t care what information we give to the press – whether it is true or not true and that should we be taken to court on defamation of character and the court finds us wanting, State House is ready to pay compensation. So, Honourable Kambwili be strong; some of us are in here just to give you information – we are behind you’,” Kambwili revealed.
He added that those who became unnerved in the PF government whenever he talked about corruption were the ones who were corrupt.
“You know who is answering; those are the corrupt people! Have you ever seen Honourable [Dennis] Wanchinga standing up to insult Chishimba Kambwili? Have you ever heard Honourable [Mathew] Nkhuwa? Have you ever heard Honourable Chama? Have you ever heard Honourable [David] Mabumba? Have you ever heard Honourable Harry Kalaba? Have you ever heard Honourable Dora Siliya? The people that are insulting me and answering back are Bowman Lusambo-corrupt, Jean Kapata-corrupt, Kampyongo-corrupt. Icibemba chalilanda ukutila akanwa akamilandu kalaibala (a guilty mouth faults itself). All we are asking the PF is to give us answers to the issues that I have raised and it is folly for them to say ‘give us evidence.’ What more evidence do you want? I have said Kampyongo received three vehicles and these vehicles are at his house; the VX is in the garage being repaired [and] the Hilux and the Range Rover are pamwakwe Kampyongo (at Kampyongo’s residence). The evidence is that the vehicles are there and go and see them. I have given enough information!”
“I have even challenged them that if what I’m saying is not true, take me to court [but] none of them has gone to court. President Edgar Lungu came into office as a President and told us that he had K2.5 million as a total asset portfolio. One year later, he declared that he had K23 million! Go and ask him ‘where did you get K21.5 million’ in one year? That’s the evidence. Mwebantu ba Zambia ndemyumfwila uluse (I feel pity for you Zambians), I feel sorry for you because this anti-corruption crusade, if we were united aba bapompwe kuti baleka ukwiba (these thieves can stop stealing). But because of a few of you who want to champion answering for them, you are encouraging them to steal and the money they are stealing is your money which is supposed to take children to universities, which is supposed to build hospitals. Instead of you joining us to fight these people to stop stealing, you want to protect them! That is your own problem…”
And Kambwili pointed out that despite him being in business since 1993, he had never made a mammoth profit of K21.5 million in a year, like President Lungu had done.
“So, these are the issues that we are raising but then you want to help them to answer, abene nabekala ziii (the concerned have kept quiet). I said Kaizar Zulu is now owning a label designer shop in Dubai…The question is simple; when did you acquire this shop? Where did you get the money to start this shop? To start a designer shop in Dubai, the minimum you need is US$10 million. Kaizar kuti akwata US$10 million iya genuine? Yabu kabolala (it’s from theft)! The first person who is supposed to ask Kaizar Zulu where he has gotten US$10 million to invest in Dubai is President Edgar Lungu. The President knows all this but he is quiet! Balya bonse (they eat together), beba bonse (they steal together); birds of a feather flock together. Ba Lungu balayaipusha shani Kaizar because nabena balekula Lusaka yonse (How can Mr Lungu ask Kaizar to account for his wealth when he is also building through Lusaka?) Have I been lying about Lungu’s buildings? Pa barrack apa, there is an upstairs building for Lungu, ku Lilayi kuli building iyakwa Lungu, pa Down Town pali building iyakwa Lungu, apa Leopards Memorial, there are two houses there, go to State Lodge, [there are] over 15 flats being built for Lungu. Kwena nangu walikwata indalama (Lungu you have money indeed), all these projects ulekula pamuku umo (you are building all these projects at once!) Nibupompwe (it’s theft),” he explained.
“When I came into government, you knew me; I was fatter than this. But bambi ilyo baishile mu (but when others went into) government from bu minister…tulete ama pictures apa, mwalamona nokumona ati kwena uyu umuntu aleiba (if we brought pictures here, you’ll see that for sure this person is stealing from public offers). Balemoneka kwati balilwala (they used to look like they were prone to) marasmus. Ilelo nababuta, nabatelela kuli bukabolala (today they have become smooth and soft, thanks to theft). What vehicles did they come with? Tubulefye ba Lungu (let’s pick on Mr Lungu); baishile na (he came with a) Corolla! Lelo isuleni gate pamyabo palya mumone imyotoka ishili mu yard (go and see the kind of vehicles that they now have in their yard)!”
On the issue of him being slapped by Copperbelt minister Bowman Lusambo and lands minister Jean Kapata pouring water on him within the precincts of Parliament on Tuesday, Kambwili vowed never to abandon his anti-corruption crusade on account of violence by some ministers.
“Yesterday’s (Tuesday) issue at Parliament, I’m disappointed; it is part of their plan so that I react but I’m above them…Since when did you hear me beating anyone in a Parliament or being involved in a physical confrontation even outside Parliament? But Bowman has got that history. I don’t fight and I’ll never fight. All they are trying to do is to intimidate me to stop exposing [but] I’ll not be intimidated by a few slaps and punches from Bowman Lusambo but I know that you’ll pay for those punches and slaps. If I meant to retaliate what Bowman did yesterday (Tuesday), kuti mwaisakana ati li sitima ilyamupunkile (you won’t believe it, you will say he was bashed by a train). But I’m a decent person and there is no way I can fight at Parliament,” Kambwili noted.
“For my sister Jean, the questions are very simple; you went and announced to this country that you have banned the export of Mukula. The question that I’m asking you, Jean is that why is your ministry still issuing export permits to Chinese?”
On the dununa reverse jingle that President Lungu’s campaign team heavily relied on for populism, Kambwili expressed regret for being part of the PF campaign team.
“And I have regretted one thing – let me say this; I didn’t know the meaning of dununa reverse! Naleshanafye (I was just dancing to the jingle). It is now that I have realised the meaning of dununa reverse; it simply meant that we are going back to MMD. I have always been looking for a chemical to clean my brain to clean what I was singing ati dununa reverse. President Rupiah Banda and President Edgar Lungu are the only ones who knew that they were taking PF in reverse to MMD and that’s today, the ministers who are in the PF government are MMD. Twali igong’a ba PF (we short-changed ourselves),” he explained.
Meanwhile, Kambwili reminded PF deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri not to provoke him because he avoided talking about her “because you a friend”.
“Elo ba Mumbi Phiri, my sister, if you live in a glass house, don’t throw stones! I have avoided talking about you, Mumbi Phiri, because you a friend but you are messing yourself up. Don’t go on the radio and start defending yourself, ‘Oh! I’m married to a wealthy man and that’s how I built that house’ when you have not even been asked! Wait until Anti-Corruption [Commission] will ask you one day to explain. Mumbi, don’t tell people that you are married to a wealthy man; I used to buy toilet tissue for you, bathing soap for you who is married to a wealthy man! Mulekwata insoni (you should feel ashamed). I would walk into your house, Mumbi Phiri, nasanga namulepula nyushi esho mubikele mu toilet (I would find that you’ve put shred newspaper pages in your toilet as your toilet paper) and I start telling you ‘Mumbi, MP nyushi mu toilet (shred newspaper pages for toilet paper in a member of parliament’s toilet)!’ I would then buy tissue for you. If I’m lying, say it! I’m even sorry to have revealed this but it’s because you are forcing me; better keep quiet because ifyo twingalanda fingi (there is so much that we can say),” charged Kambwili.
“Don’t think that by keeping quiet we are stupid; ni respect twamikwatila. Walk in the house, tamuli bathing soap, tamuli ifyakusanfila imbale; nayakushitila, Mumbi, ku Shoprite, lelo ati you are married to a wealthy man! Ninshi bakaso ba wealthy man, abalefilwa nokushita tissue (The wealthy man must be parsimonious for him to fail to buy even toilet paper).”