CHIENGI FDD member of parliament Given Katuta says the resignation of Harry Kalaba as foreign affairs minister has sent shivers in the PF government. And Katuta says she salutes Kalaba for taking development to Bahati Constituency through pledges that have been made after he resigned as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Meanwhile, Katuta has accused former FDD spokesperson and deputy national secretary Antonio Mwanza of blocking party members from fully participating in party affairs.
Speaking when she featured on Muvi TV’s The Assignment programme on Sunday night, Katuta, the FDD’s only member of parliament in the House, observed that Kalaba’s departure from the government had unsettled the ruling party, especially in Luapula Province.
She, however, noted that the Bahati PF member of parliament’s resignation was a blessing in disguise in that government functionaries were now pledging to initiate or actualise developmental projects in the province.
“This is a place (Luapula Province) they (PF) thought was their bedroom. When you look at it, you’ll find that Chiengi is under [the] opposition party, Chipili is under an independent and now Harry Kalaba resigning [as a foreign affairs minister], it raises a lot of anxiety in the camp of PF, because according to them, that’s where they are so strong. They are so strong in the area where there is no different – they have taken advantage of the people of Luapula. It’s a very sad situation taking advantage of the disadvantaged. If you look at the GDP (Gross Domestic Product), the contribution that is coming from Luapula is nothing to talk about! If you go there and look at the levels of poverty and illiteracy, you as a human being would say I would not want to take advantage of these people,” Katuta said.
“If these Cabinet ministers were so caring when their colleague (Kalaba) was a member of Cabinet, the health centres which the Minister of Health has constructed in his constituency which is just a neighbour of Bahati, he would have given to his friend. He would have spread those health posts in Luapula…To my surprise, the Minister of Health has managed to have his health posts in Mansa Central. When their colleague resigns…I’m speaking as somebody from Luapula, when their colleague resigned, I don’t really know what went on in their own party. When he resigned, it’s like he sent a shiver in their camp! They started panicking; first it was a mini-rally which was conducted by Honourable Chilangwa. After that, Honourable Kalaba went in with a massive rally or is it a welcome. Then a few weeks later, we see Cabinet ministers leaving their national duties to go and try…I don’t know what they went to defend there! Why should people only be told today that they will be given a hospital? Why? Why should they be told that FTJ University is going to be constructed?”
She hailed Kalaba as a politician who carried the pain of the people of Luapula Province.
“When you listen to the way Honourable Kalaba articulates issues, he is not talking as a politician – he is talking from the pain. If you look at the way he is coming out, to me he is not ranting. My thinking is that Honourable Kalaba now is like a lion; they say a lion keeps something under the armpits. Once he drops that thing…. If somebody is a nobody, why should the entire Cabinet be using the Airforce planes in the name of party mobilisation? Why should they do that which they have never done? Ever since the 2016 elections, I haven’t seen such a thing in Luapula – I have never seen that kind of an entourage,” Katuta explained.
She further lamented the sufferings of the people of Luapula.
“People in Chienge are suffering. You know what? Luapula is the only place where you can give a T-Shirt or a K1 coin and they vote for you! Go to the Southern Province; I have been to Southern Province – those people live in the bushes but they own cattle, goats, sheep. So, when you look at them, can you give them a K1 and they vote for you? But in Luapula we are so poor! The poverty levels there are unbelievable,”
She said the recent developmental pledges made by some Cabinet ministers in Luapula Province ought to be credited to Kalaba’s resignation from his ministerial position.
“If anything, I salute Honourable Kalaba because it means he has brought development to Bahati Constituency. If he had not resigned, we would not see the hospital they are talking about, the FTJ University, tarring of the road to Mansa Secondary School. Kudos should go to him [because] he is the one who has triggered this development,” Katuta said.
On Mwanza’s resignation from the opposition FDD, Katuta said his exit has had no impact.
“I would really avoid to talk about him. You know why? I don’t like to make somebody important when they were not. If it was so (Mwanza being politically important), FDD would have collapsed! [But] he wasn’t. Not at all! Because of his exit, we’ve received credible men and women who are saying ‘oh yes.’ Let me tell you something; people didn’t want to be associated with something that they would not be proud of. If it (Mwanza’s departure) had an impact, you would have heard a lot of resignations from the secretariat – those who are in the NPC (party’s National Policy Committee) would have followed or from those from Munali constituency. The people who were surrounding the presidency of the party…. But him is like was the one who was seen to the public, like in the media,” Katuta explained.
When asked by the programme host, Master Chimbala, if the FDD had one individual in Mwanza who was blocking membership, she said: “I will take it that way!”
“There are people who just say ‘I cannot associate with this.’ If you go to Kaputa, go to Nsama, go to Mpulungu, go to Kasama, go to Chienge, FDD is very strong at the grassroots. But what we need is to have our NPC done. If there’s somebody who is always like trying to think this one will take my position, trying to block others…You saw what happened after the 2016 elections; there was just an individual saying things. Did you see others? I know what I have seen in FDD, what others cannot see, maybe. FDD is going to re-construct itself; people know what the FDD is all about,” said Katuta.