(Profile photo: President Edgar Lungu swearing-in Kambwili as information minister in 2015. President Lungu later dropped Kambwili in 2016)
EVEN if they gave me the whole world, I can never work with President Edgar Lungu, opposition National Democratic Congress political consultant Chishimba Kambwili has charged.
And Kambwili, who is Roan PF member of parliament, says Zambians should not leave room for voter apathy in the 2021 general elections but rise up to vote out the PF government.
On Prime TV’s Oxygen for Democracy programme on Monday night, interviewer, Kalani Muchima, asked what his reaction would be if President Lungu asked him to join the PF government.
But Kambwili responded: “President Edgar Lungu and I can never work together!”
“Even if they gave me the whole world, I can never work with President Edgar Lungu [because] then I’m not principled. The man has no integrity, has no plan for this country, no direction – ni chipantepante (he is clueless.) Can I swallow my words and say ‘yes, President Lungu, give me Ministry of Defence I will come?’ I will not do that! That stage kwalipwa (is over),” Kambwili, a former information and broadcasting services minister in President Lungu’s government, stressed.
“President Edgar Lungu and me [it] is positive and negative, it’s north and south pole. Politically working together under President Lungu ine mwana Kambwili (me, son of Kambwili,) kulya amalushi (is like going back to one’s vomit!) I cannot do that! Even [if] today he says ‘I have appointed you as a minister’, I will tell him that take it and give it to somebody else, not me. I don’t believe in the man anymore!”
On whether he could be addressed as National Democratic Congress (NDC) president or political consultant, a smiling Kambwili said; “It’s up to you; you can choose any title. But I’m [a] consultant. If you call me president, I will be happy [and] if you call me consultant, I will be happy.”
On voter apathy, a trend that glared in the Lusaka mayoral by-election on July 26, Kambwili urged Zambians not to adopt such a tendency in the 2021 general elections.
“Stop the apathy; go and vote. It is only your vote that can remove Lungu from this government. It is not Chishimba Kambwili, it is not Harry Kalaba, it is not Mulongoti, it is not Hakainde Hichilema. It is your vote! But when there is apathy, they will get the people that they have corrupted to go and vote and they will remain in power. So, in 2021 rise up – five o’clock we must see queues so that Lungu can be treated the way Rupiah Banda was treated. Enough is enough!” he noted.
And Kambwili lamented that President Lungu was indifferent to the plight of majority Zambians because he was usually airborne and could not directly relate with citizens’ hardships.
“From independence time, we used to see the motorcade of the President from Kabwe to Lusaka or even from State House to Independence Stadium. [But] today Edgar Lungu everywhere he is going, even going to Mulungushi International Conference Centre from State House, he uses a helicopter. Do you think such a person can see the suffering of the people? To watch football at the Heroes Stadium, he goes with a helicopter. To [go] and hold a rally in Matero, he uses a helicopter! Do you think such a person who doesn’t interact with the poor would even know the living standards of our people? Did you ever see president Michael Sata going for a rally [in Lusaka] in a helicopter? President Michael Sata going to Mulungushi International Conference Centre in a helicopter! President [Frederick] Chiluba going to Mulungushi International Conference Centre in a helicopter!” Kambwili said.
He said further that ideal governance was about providing for the poor people.
“If you cannot provide for the poor people, why should you get in government? What NDC will do, if given an opportunity to be in government, is first and foremost, ask itself ‘what is it that we should do in order for the poor people to have more disposable income?’ The first thing we will have to look at is the tax regime. Are these taxes affordable to the people? If the answer is no, we have to look at certain taxes that we can reduce in order to cushion the poor people,” Kambwili explained.
He argued that the much talked about economic growth in Zambia was theoretical.
“The economy we have right now is a consumption economy. We don’t produce anything to talk about – everything that we use in this economy is imported. A country that imports everything that it uses, including a toothpick, can never create employment. I’m a very good example of ‘buy Zambian’. You see me most of the times I’m in a chitenge shirt; my tailor is in Kitwe because I believe in creating our own manufacturing base. How do you create jobs in your country? You need to restrict the importation of these cheap clothes from China,” he observed.
Meanwhile, Kambwili charged that Avic International, a Chinese construction firm, was “a conduit of corruption by the PF government.”
“All the contracts now are either [awarded to] any other Chinese or Avic. But Avic has got the largest share of the contracts in Zambia now. Everywhere you go in this country is (utters nonsense syllables likening them to the ‘Chinese’ language.) Is that the way we are going to run our country? Imbwili inga yaisa (when Kambwili takes over), you will see!)” said Kambwili.