APPOINTING Dr Christine Kaseba Sata in Foreign Service is not only an insult to the former first lady but the entire nation as ambassadors are Chola boys of ministers when they travel, says Roan PF member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili.
President Edgar Lungu last week swore in Dr Kaseba as Zambia’s Ambassador to France. But Kambwili said he was extremely upset that President Lungu would “insult the founding mother of the PF in the manner he did”.
He said President Lungu’s appointment of Dr Kaseba as Ambassador to France was not done in good faith as it was a demotion for the former first lady.
“The views that I am going to express are in no way representing the Sata family or indeed the Kaseba family but I am going to give these issues based on my own understanding and the way I interpreted the appointment of Dr Christine Kaseba. First and foremost, President Lungu is not sincere and will never ever be sincere. This appointment is nothing but a smokescreen, nothing but trying to hoodwink the people of Zambia that he is a man who cares,” Kambwili said.
“If I tell you what has been happening behind closed doors between Dr Kaseba and President Lungu, you would not believe that he can even appoint her in that junior and insulting position. President Lungu has insulted Dr Christine Kaseba, taking advantage of her goodness. Dr Christine Kaseba by nature, naturally, she is a nice person and I think she did not want to turn that job down because she would have been misunderstood and I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that Lungu did not mean to give her the job, he thought she was going to refuse so that he can use it against her that I gave her an appointment and she refused.”
He said it made no sense in recalling Miriam Kaseba and then appointing her elder sister into Foreign Service in a very junior portfolio.
Kambwili said Dr Kaseba’s contribution to PF was significant and the position of ambassador was an insult to the distinguished former first lady.
The Roan member of parliament recalled when “President Lungu and his clique” referred to Dr Kaseba as Black Widow soon after the burial of her husband.
He maintained that President Lungu had never liked Dr Kaseba and the appointment was a result of PF’s loss of popularity.
Kambwili, the now National Democratic Congress consultant, said Dr Kaseba pumped so much money and personal time in the PF and the appointment as ambassador fell short of what she deserved.
“I think Dr Christine Kaseba used wisdom to accept that job regardless of its position in the governance of this country. When President Michael Sata died, Dr Kaseba’s immediate younger sister Miriam Mulenga Kaseba, who was married to my late elder brother, was recalled from foreign service, she was ambassador in Turkey. I personally went to plead with President Lungu that please don’t recall this lady because she is a sister in-law to President Sata and obviously the input of Dr Kaseba and Sata family into the creation and establishment of PF cannot be over emphasized. Dr Kaseba, I can tell you, sometimes we would be at Mr Sata’s house when we were in the opposition and people would come from Eastern Province and Mr Sata would tell us that can you bring money so that we can give these women or men to go back but sometimes we all of us would not have money but Dr Kaseba would offer and say Bashi Chilufya I can go to the ATM and give them,”
“She would drive from the house and go and get money from the ATM and give the visitors to go back. And sometimes when there was need for money in some provinces and Mr Sata didn’t genuinely have the money, she would offer to go and get from her own salary when she worked as a Doctor, then at UTH, and offer that money to send to the structures. Now, such a woman, who sacrificed, the insults on her husband in the formulation of PF, you know how Mr Sata was insulted left, right and centre and obviously the pressure and stress ended up with Dr Christine Kaseba, she took up so much pressure and stress and when the husband becomes President, three years later he dies but you recall her own immediate young sister from foreign service. Dr Kaseba was called by Lungu and group, the inner circle of Lungu, as a black widow. They were saying that uku vota pachililo, they were saying to vote for Dr Kaseba kuvota pachililo and I tell you, I was inside, they hated her like nobody’s business.”
He recalled that when Dr Kaseba was evicted where she was staying due to non-payment of rentals, he got in trouble with President Lungu for apologising on behalf of the government.
“At one time, Mumbi Phiri issued some derogatory remarks against Dr Christine Kaseba and as government spokesperson, that was the time she was evicted from the house, remember that saga of her being evicted from the house [in Kabulonga] because of failure to pay rent by government…I apologised on behalf of government but when President Lungu found me in Malambo, at that time we had a by-election for Shuma, there was a by-election in Malambo Constituency in Eastern Province, President Lungu was upset with me. He shouted at me that ‘why should you apologise, that woman is a bad woman, why should you apoligise?’ But I said to him that Mr President I am sorry, I was just doing my work, but as government we error by not paying rentals. He was very upset with me,”
He said President Lungu had never appreciated Dr Kaseba since the death of Sata.
“Now that he knows that PF has lost so much popularity, and now people are saying people who are benefiting from PF are MMD and those Lungu has brought from outside PF, to try and cover it up, he goes to insult Dr Christine Kaseba by appointing her as Ambassador,” Kambwili said.
“Like everybody has said, ambassadors are chola boys for ministers. If a minister, say Dora Siliya, is transiting from Zambia to Germany through France, she (Dr Kaseba) has to go to the airport, wait for her, organise the VIP room, be with her until she boards the next flight…is that the job you want Dr Kaseba to be doing after doing so much in the formation of PF? I think Lungu is taking advantage of Dr Kaseba’s goodness because she is not a confrontational person; she is not a person who wants to complain. This appointment is an insult, a big insult.”
He said it was absurd that home affairs minister Stephen Kampyongo would be appointed minister and Dr Kaseba, who is not only qualified but the wife of the founder president of the ruling party, is being appointed as Ambassador.
“Kampyongo, a boy from Katondo street, who was a money changer is Minister of Home Affairs, Mumbi Phiri, nominated as MP, he should have used that position to bring in Dr Christine Kaseba and give her a ministerial position, she is a well qualified person but he didn’t do that and today he wants to deceive the people of Zambia that he cares for the Sata family…I don’t think so, this appointment is an insult of the worst kind,”
“I heard some confused mayor, whoever that mayor is, he is a confused one, I heard him saying Lupando Mwape was vice-president and then appointed into foreign service. Lupando Mwape, the President was doing him a favour because he lost the elections. After that loss, he had no means of survival so as a way of helping him, he was appointed into foreign service. You cannot make that comparison with Dr Christine Kaseba after what she did for PF and the loss that came in later. You put in so much money in an organisation and your husband is only at the helm for three years and you lose out every investment you had pushed in. You then go and appoint such a person as Ambassador! You can see even the body language that Lungu was not happy. Those that know Lungu will know how he talks when he is talking to a person he is happy with.”