HARRY Kalaba says time for Zambians to redeem themselves is now.
And Kalaba, who is Bahati PF member of parliament, has charged that recent scandalous revelations in the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) point to a vote of no confidence in the government.
In a phone interview with Kasama’s radio Mano on Tuesday, Kalaba, the former foreign minister, reminded Zambians that their country was not poor but only lacked inspiring leadership.
“This country is not poor. The hardship that this country is facing is not the lack of fertilisers for farmers, neither is it about the late distribution of the E-voucher and not even because of lack of jobs for youths or parents failing to raise money for the education of their children. But the problem we have in Zambia today is about leadership. The moment we restore the kind of leadership we have, everything will be back on track. But the leadership that we have today is broken and selfish, instead of caring for the under-privileged in society,” Kalaba, who spoke in Icibemba, said.
“When you look at what is happening, we are exporting Mukula tree to China and then start importing desks and tables from there. Is that normal? It isn’t! If there is anywhere in this country where poverty is rampant, it is there in Kasama. Pantu nimwe mulanda ati uwakana ukwela, akana nokocha but mwebena lu Bemba mwalivotela ba PF (It’s you who say he who refuses to work should not eat but you people in Bemba land massively voted for the PF). My plea to the people of Northern Zambia is to get into this political movement as a way of redeeming themselves. Time to redeem ourselves as citizens is now and let this liberation start from Bemba land.”
He also regretted that while the people of Northern Province voted en masse for the ruling PF, they had been repaid with lip service in terms of developmental.
“You voted for the PF to be in government so that you can be cared for kanshi mwalebashindikafye (meanwhile you were just escorting them). Mwabashindika pafula (you have escorted them enough). Naimwe inshita iyakwilubula naifika inoine (time to redeem yourself has come and it’s now). If anything, let’s not even do politics of malice because that’s old and dirty politics. Let’s just concentrate on pointing out what is wrong,” Kalaba noted.
“If you look at what has just happened, the Democratic Party has invited me to stand as their presidential candidate in 2021. Before I could respond to the invitation letter from the Democratic Party, the Registrar of Societies wrote the party saying it was earmarked for deregistration. For what? They say we went to your party secretariat but we didn’t find anyone! So, kuti mwamona ukutila balefwaya ukutila abantu bamone ati Kalaba alilwala ifibashi (So, you can see that their intention is to portray picture like Kalaba is suffering from leprosy). Whoever tries to invite me to work with them, they raise eyebrows. Our democracy can’t grow if we restrict political players from freely associating with those political parties they prefer. It’s actually the PF that was saying Kalaba is not a political factor but why following me everywhere now?”
He further assured the Democratic Party (DP) that there was no cause for worry as he would respond to their invitation letter at an appropriate time.
“The Democratic Party was registered in 1991 but they were not active all these years. This is 2018 and now that they are becoming active, you start hinting that you’ll deregister the party! You can know that things have gone sour! But they won’t manage! Batila pungwa tasakamana ubuchenjeshi bwa nkoko (A hawk is undaunted by a chicken’s cleverness),” Kalaba said.
Asked for his comment about the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) latest Trends Report, Kalaba said: “They want to fire Mrs Tshuma because she published details about some murky deals. They are now saying the report was wrongly published. But is that how it’s supposed to be? When we say Kalaba resigned on count of swelling corruption levels in the government, you doubt. But here is the Financial Intelligence Centre saying seven per cent of the national budget went into people’s private pockets. How can such a huge sum of money be personalised? It’s not right! If it were in these western countries, leaders would have started resigning. But it seems they are taking advantage of Zambians. The Centre that is revealing these things is not a private institution but an establishment of the government itself. The Financial Intelligence Report was launched at an event graced by the Attorney General but today, some people are saying Mrs Tshuma should go. Why aren’t you mentioning the Attorney General as well? What are you talking about? That report is simply a vote of no confidence! The biggest thing they (those in government) are concerned about is to ensure that they satisfy their needs and also silence those who dare point at their strategies of accumulating wealth. Only a few are benefiting while the majority are suffering. But I offer myself that I will be speaking for the downtrodden.”
Meanwhile, Kalaba told Rusangu University students in a recent motivational talk session that the academic degree they will acquire should correspond with their levels of confidence.
He was invited by the University to talk to the students on the topic ‘the importance of competitiveness in a global world.’
Kalaba told a packed auditorium that life was a journey in which “you and I are privileged partners in advancing a sense of patriotism”.
“Your parents or guardians from all the corners of the country where you came from have sent you here at Rusangu University because they believe that you are the change that they are looking for,” he said.
“One of the issues that I have always valued is honesty because that is a virtue. You will never go far in life if you lack that, whether it is here in this institution or anywhere else. First of all, you exist because God created you as an individual. So, for me if I come against issues that don’t speak to my very fundamentals, I’ll choose to be at peace with my conscious than be at peace with the establishment.”
Kalaba also told the students that confidence was all that they needed in life.
“Your degree will not even make you come and stand in front here if you don’t have confidence. I’m a member of parliament and in that Parliament, we have Professors who have failed to speak when it was time for them to speak. They could not speak because it is all about confidence. Once you’ve got confidence, you have conquered part of your challenges,” he shared.
Earlier, Rusangu University deputy vice-chancellor Professor Jacob Malungo pointed out that the University had undertaken to host eminent scholars and people of business acumen and also “people with a high standing in society so that they can come and share their experiences and their perspectives with students”.