CHIPILI independent member of parliament Jewis Chabi says it is wrong for President Edgar Lungu to contest the 2021 general elections.
And Chabi has said PF wouldn’t be in power today if the MMD government was as intolerant as it is towards opposition parties.
Speaking on KFM Radio station in Mansa last week, Chabi said it was shocking that President Lungu started talking about contesting 2021 elections four months after winning the 2016 polls.
“It is not right for President Lungu to contest the 2021 general elections. I remember he said this four months after the 2016 elections. Let me give you a scenario, when I come to your house and you prepare nshima with chicken…even before I taste it I hear you telling your children to prepare more nshima for another visitor…even before I could eat my share I tell you to include me as you prepare the next meal, is that being normal? If I had a chance to advise him (President Lungu)…If I was Kaizer Zulu, I would advise him to leave the stage when people are still clapping. He is only 62 years…he should have some time to enjoy his benefits after working as president,” Chabi said.
Asked if he had intensions of joining former foreign affairs minister Harry Kalaba’s path of politics, Chabi said: “I am very close to Harry Kalaba in so many aspects of life, even political. As to whether Harry Kalaba sponsored me to stand as an independent member of parliament, it’s not true. Yes, he gave me moral support…in fact, Hon Kalaba was one of those who stopped me from contesting and sticking to civil service.”
He said it was impossible for him to re-join the PF.
“Let’s talk about digital migration for example; do you know how much Zambia has paid for that? US $273 million. Do you know how much Botswana paid for the same thing? US $20 million, Namibia- US $25 million. I am sure you will say it’s the population difference. Ok, forget about Namibia and Botswana because of the population difference with Zambia. South Africa which has more people than Zambia; those people are about 50, 60 million but do you know how much they paid for the same project? US $120 million. Now you ask yourself, why are things in Zambia very expensive? The Lusaka-Ndola dual carriage way, earlier they said they would spend US $1.2 billion. When people started talking they reduced it to US $900 million; now I hear it’s about US $700 million,” Chabi said.
“In some countries they are buying fire tenders at US $250 000, but here it’s US $1 million and you want me to be part of that? Me? Not me. Ambulances…and I want health minister Chitalu Chilufya to explain to the people where the ambulances are. Why hasn’t Savenda brought the ambulances? Those ambulances they said would cost US $218, 000…they are not yet in and the Zambians are quiet because we are not difficult people. We glorify wrongdoers and rise against those who speak the truth. What kind of people are we? It’s not correct! You go to buy an expensive ambulance which cannot even be used on our bad roads. This is what former president Rupiah Banda did on mobile hospitals. Having mobile hospitals is a good idea but do you have proper roads in the country? This is what we are doing when we talk about buying expensive ambulances.”
He said today’s PF government was worse than Banda’s administration with all the issues Zambians were complaining about when MMD was in government.
“I am sure you remember how I used to speak out against president Banda but today, I am able to say with all his weaknesses, I give him credit on one thing; I am not saying he was a good man, I still maintain that he was a wrong leader but today, I give him credit for one thing. He allowed the opposition to freely do their politics. We are not seeing that today. If what the PF is doing today is what MMD was doing to them when they were in opposition, they wouldn’t have formed government. I was in PF and we used to organise meetings. No police officer harassed us. We used to have our meetings in a peaceful way. I used to organise people and we would undress and say ‘we don’t want MMD here’ but no one stopped us from doing what were doing. But today, when the PF hears that there is an opposition political party meeting, they send police officers to disrupt the meeting saying it’s an illegal gathering,” said Chabi.
“That is bad governance, bad leadership and I cannot be part of that because I believe that a great leader is somebody with the ability to protect the rights of everyone even those opposed to his views. That is what great leaders do. You have to protect my rights even if I do not agree with your opinion if you are a leader worth your salt. Not doing what the PF is doing, following people around, for what? They are being cowards.”