THESE people are not our masters; they are there to serve us, if they are not prepared to serve, listen to what the people want, let them get out, says Jack Kalala.
In a number of tweets, Kalala, president Levy Mwanawasa’s special assistant for projects implementation wondered what had happened to Zambians under the PF administration.
“Have they been hypnotised? They have been reduced to zombies. I can’t believe some of the idiotic things they accept and tolerate from PF. They have become mentally enslaved. It’s so shocking! #Zambia,” reads one of the tweets. “Church leaders, where are you to speak for the downtrodden masses? Have your voices been choked with mouthful of corrupt money? Are you beneficiaries of the PF corruption? Even when you are insulted by the power that be, you conveniently keep quiet. You’ve really shocked me.”
Kalala also noted that during the times of Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Frederick Chiluba, Mwanawasa and Rupiah Banda, church leaders were very vocal on behalf of the people but now their silence was “so loud”.
“Are things better now than they were then? What has made you so blind to the plight of the people, your flock? #Zambia,” he tweeted last week.
Asked to elaborate on his sentiments, Kalala, from his farm in Ndola, said statements from ministers and others in the PF were not making sense.
He said statements from ministers like Dora Siliya that there was no mealie-meal crisis and that things will be better next year in March were silly.
Kalala wondered what would happen between now and March next year.
“Does that make sense? You see, for-example, like the statement from [PF secretary general Davies] Mwila, where he is blaming [UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema] HH that he is releasing State secrets; what State secrets? Does it mean if somebody has got information on a crime that has been committed he should keep it to himself? As a citizen, he has a duty to expose that crime. Now how do you turn that into treason? It’s actually them who are committing treason against the people of Zambia. You know those statements from Mwila, they don’t make any sense,” he said. “HH has no access to state security, how do you accuse him? How do you want to arrest him for that? How do you want to withdraw his passport because as a concerned citizen he exposes wrongdoing? Him as a leader, Mwila, he is supposed to welcome that and look for the culprits, eh. You see these are the silly and stupid statements that are coming from PF.”
Kalala also wondered whether there was any political sense in statements from Lusaka Province minister Bowman Lusambo when he said Hichilema was not supposed to “donate” or “visit a place where there is a water problem”.
“Who says that?” he wondered. “HH is a national leader, he is aspiring to become Republican president. In America, the Office of the President actually is supposed to brief him on certain issues. In civilised countries…Now how can a mere cadre minister stand up and say ‘no this man should be arrested?’ No, that is wrong.”
Kalala also condemned police behaviour under the stewardship of Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja, whom he branded the “most useless IG we have ever had” who was allowing being manipulated by politicians and cadres.
Kalala said the police were not supposed to get directives from party cadres.
He said under Mwanawasa, leaders and cadres never gave directives to the police and, or their commanders.
“I can challenge anyone with information that we the advisors or the ministers gave directives to the police to arrest somebody, no. We never did that. There was an incident when [Michael] Sata admitted publicly that he had done the picketing on the Copperbelt, even Mwila was involved, president Mwanawasa directed that no politician should be involved. This George Chulumanda, that time, without permission travelled to the Copperbelt to try and mobilise the party cadres, MMD party cadres, to counter that (Sata’s picketing). The president directed him to come back to Lusaka. He said ‘can you come back to Lusaka, who has given you authority to go to the Copperbelt?’ ‘No sir these people’; he responded. ‘You are not the police, the police will do their work. That’s how we are supposed to work,” Kalala explained.
He said now the police were arresting people even over general statements like a dog from Chawama and people of Chawama demonstrate against such.
Kalala also wondered what had become of Zambians that party cadres were even suing Law Association of Zambia for challenging Constitution (Amendment) Bill 10.
He also remembered that during the recent Katuba parliamentary by-election, President Edgar Lungu mocked Hichilema that he has never built a toilet in the area.
“Now he [Hichilema] donates a genset, he donates 600 tonnes of maize and so forth to hunger stricken areas, the same Lungu rejects those things and we the people of Zambia accept that! We accept to go to hospitals where there is no electricity and no machine is working and yet one of the citizens has donated a genset!” he said. “You see, this forest land (Lusaka East Forest reserve 27), it was reserved for a purpose. What has happened defeats the purpose of having kept that land so that the rivers do not dry. In UK, Hyde Park has been in existence for centuries, nobody has gone to build a house there. Now why are we all flocking to build in Lusaka?”
Kalala wondered why people were scrambling for land in Lusaka when they claim to hail from districts with beautiful sceneries like Mpulungu and Luapula Province where they could go and build houses.
“So these are the things that I am talking about. Why are we allowing this nonsense in this country? Have we been hypnotised or what? A leader goes to buy a very expensive plane, he puts gadgets and so on and we are just seated, dying of hunger!” he said. “You know in Cancer Hospital, those old machinery is breaking down daily. There is nobody who has been cured of Cancer at that hospital, it’s just a transit to death. I have lost relatives there. The medical personnel are ready to work but the equipment is not there. They try to treat people, the machines break down and you know when it keeps breaking down, then the cancer starts developing. I have lost relatives in Cancer Hospital. It is not serving the purpose for which it was built simply because nobody cares. It seems the President doesn’t even care.”
Kalala wondered what purpose of “this nonsense” of having prestigious roads like in Lusaka and airport in Ndola.
He said planes do not follow the airport.
“If you build that airport in Ndola but you have no hotels and so on, even if you have hotels, what are people going to do here in Ndola? To stay in the hotel? To just land at the airport? People will go where there is business. First build business, develop business, develop multi-facility economic ones, add value to copper, don’t export raw copper, export cables,” Kalala said. “I have never heard that the price of cables has gone down, no. Finished products never go down. When you have developed your industries, then people will come. Develop tourism then people will come, not building the airport there to be a white elephant.”
Kalala said the Ndola airport project was not even started by PF but was a UNIP plan.
“It has been there all along. Even the site, it’s for UNIP, they selected that site. So they [PF] should not claim that they are the ones who initiated that, it existed. Now because there was no money and they realised that it was not a priority, they shelved it,” he said.
Kalala also said one could not decongest a town by building new and more roads like in Lusaka.
He said the strategy should be finding out why people were coming to Lusaka.
He said if districts are developed, people would flock to the new opportunities opened up in districts and not move to Lusaka.
“You saw how people flocked to North Western Province when we opened those mines? Actually we planned to develop Lumwana and Solwezi into modern towns, that plan is there at local government. That’s what you do to decongest a city,” Kalala said.
And Kalala wondered why logs were cut from areas like Western Province and ferried to Lusaka and even exported in raw form when a directive could be given to those interested to create an industry in areas like Lukulu where logs could be processed into furniture and “exported” to Lusaka.
“We are importing furniture from China and other places! We can’t import furniture from Lukulu? Now we are accepting all this nonsense eh! I don’t know what has happened of us,” he said.
On the church, Kalala said they had kept quiet when human rights were being violated.
He recalled that during Mwanawasa’s reign, the Catholic Church, monthly issued pastoral letters to criticise the president and his administration.
“But now they are so quiet. When there is a priest who speaks, I hear here on the Copperbelt, there is a priest who has been confined because of talking, why should we do that? And it is Archbishop [Alick] Banda who is doing that simply because Archbishop Banda and Lungu seem to come from the same area. Is that how we serve the people? Is that how we are going to serve God? No,” he said.
Kalala said the other anomaly was in accepting the closure of the Copperbelt University and pleading with the PF government to reopen it as if they were doing the nation a favour.
He said CBU was closed because the government had no money.
“They squandered all the money but then we have to go back to them, to plead! It’s like somebody steps on your toes but now you start apologising to him to say ‘sorry sir, you have stepped on my toes, it’s paining, I am sorry sir’. We have crawled to them pleading to open the university which they didn’t even build, eh!” he said.
Kalala called for a very big change of mindset and urged Zambians to start getting annoyed at certain things.
“These people are not our masters, they are there to serve us. If they are not prepared to serve the people, to listen to what the people want, to do what the people want; to develop this country, to build industries and create jobs for the youths that they are abusing, let them get out,” he said. “Let them get out, okay.”