(By Oliver Chisenga in Chipata)
I CAN tell you that before 2021, I can foresee President Edgar Lungu stepping down because he has run out of ideas, says Chishimba Kambwili. Meanwhile, Eastern Province Commissioner Lackson Sakala yesterday told the NDC leaders that he could have allowed them to hold their public rally if Kambwili was not in attendance. Addressing the media after police blocked all radio stations in Chipata to stop him from accessing them, Kambwili said the best one could do was own up and resign.
Kambwili urged the party leadership in Eastern Province to continue mobilising the party, starting with the grassroots.
“For you the good people of Chipata, I just want to thank you and direct the provincial executive that continue party mobilisation; the party is all about the grassroots. What we need is to have a strong grassroots. You know that this man [President Lungu] has no message; firstly the treasury is empty, and they have stolen all the money. They are not able to pay a good number of institutions salaries, councils have not been paid for six months, RDA have not been paid, RTSA have not been paid, University of Zambia, CBU, so this is a total break down in the governance of this country. The best one can do is own up and just resign but I can tell you that before 2021, I can foresee President Edgar Lungu stepping down because he has run out of ideas to run this country,” Kambwili said.
“I would have forced matters to address the meeting but we want to be law abiding citizens. And we don’t want this nonsense of police coming to teargas people, using live ammunition because that’s what they want, they want to cause confusion or even kill somebody and then say Kambwili has killed somebody.”
Police cancelled the NDC rally that was scheduled for Mpezeni Park after word went round that Kambwili would be the main speaker. Riot police stationed to disperse all would be attendees turned away NDC leaders Menyani Zulu and Lombani Msichili from the venue. The officers, led by a Superintendent Chilekwa, who surrounded the venue, issued matching orders to the NDC leaders, insisting that the rally was not going to take place.
After about 30 minutes of arguments, Chilekwa advised the NDC team to seek audience with the provincial police commissioner. The NDC leaders later met Sakala, who did not mince his words stating that the planned rally would not go ahead owing to Kambwili’s presence in Chipata.
“IF only CK (Chishimba Kambwili) was not there, I would have allowed you to have the rally. I asked for the list of speakers, the list you gave me did not say he was going to speak and the radio announcements said he was going to speak. What did we agree here? We agreed that the rally will have Central Committee members but we heard announcements on radio that Kambwili will be there,” Sakala said.
He maintained that he was not informed that Kambwili would be among the speakers, therefore, rendering the permit cancelled. After an hour of deliberations, Sakala, who was flanked by a Mr Nkhuwa, told the NDC leaders to ensure Kambwili left the city for him to consider allowing the rally.
“I want to see CK out of this province. I want to hear that he has left then we can talk. I have connections all the way out of the city; they will be updating me that he [Kambwili] has passed. For now there will be no rally,” he said.
The NDC leaders reluctantly went to brief Kambwili. The news from Sakala did not please Kambwili who asked his team to accompany him to meet the police commissioner. Just as Kambwili arrived at the Chipata Central Police Station, a Toyota Landcruiser laden with ready for combat officers arrived. The officers ordered journalists and cadres to leave their offices but their directive fell on deaf ears.
The officers, however, kept vigil as everyone waited to hear what would come out of Kambwili’s meeting with Sakala. After about an hour, Kambwili emerged from the meeting and informed his members and the media that the status quo had not changed. He, however, said there were many ways of skinning a rat and vowed to still address Eastern Province residents through radio.
“The police have refused us to go ahead with the rally. They have said the rally can only go on if I leave the province. As long as I am in the province, they will not allow the rally. We have a permit here which allows us to have a meeting and the permit is very clear and it says people to address the rally are the members of central committee, of which I am a member of the central committee but they have refused totally,” Kambwili said.
“We know that it’s not the fault of the police, they have just instructed them to make sure I don’t address the people of Eastern Province but what I can tell them is that icho Lesa aimya, tapali uunga chiminika (the nation God has raised, no man can stop it). They can refuse me to address people in Eastern Province or any province but there are many ways of skinning a rat. But when you are dealing with dunderheads as government, this is the end result. So there is no problem, I am going to the radio station, just tell the people to listen, tell the people to tune in. I will be there for two hours and I will speak what I wanted to speak at the rally.
“So where does that leave you [home affairs minister Stephen] Kampyongo and President Lungu? Ultimately, I will still address people through the radio station but I feel very sorry for you, I feel extremely sorry for this government because they are scared like rats, nomba nalimyeba ati imbwili yalisa, imbwili ni mbwili (I have told you that the Tiger is a Tiger, it has come to sort you out). Tukembana nenu inama mumeno, this country is not about PF, you see PF having meetings all over but they are not stopped them but when Kambwili wants to have a meeting, it’s a problem. Anyway 2021 general election ileisa, I will not worry about rallies, I will use radio stations, I will speak as much as I can and the people will listen to me. But mwishibefye ati ni kolwe piteni ne mbwa, start preparing ama cells, ififungo those will be your hostels bakabwalala imwe,” said Kambwili as the police watched.
After Kambwili’s resolve to have a radio programme, the police surrounded all Radio stations in the city to make sure the NDC leader is blocked from accessing them.