AS YOU arrest me and when I sleep in those cells, please spare my life, don’t inject me with illegal substances, Chishimba Kambwili has pleaded with the PF government.
Reacting to a call-out from the Drug Enforcement Commission a day after he questioned President Edgar Lungu’s association with Lusaka businessman Valden Findlay, Kambwili warned the Head of State not to abuse power.
He said power was sweet but should be checked.
The US District Court Southern District of New York transcripts that were recently made public have linked well-known Zambian businessman and close friend of President Edgar Lungu and main financier of the ruling party [Patriotic Front], Valden Findlay to one of the biggest mandrax syndicates in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In his testimony in New York, convicted drug lord Vijaygiri “Vicky” Goswami linked Findlay to the biggest mandrax syndicates.
The transcripts stem from the cross-examination of Goswami, who is currently in detention in the US where he and the notorious Akasha brothers were extradited from Kenya by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) to face charges for various drug-related crimes, vehicle theft and murder, stated that Findlay was part of the syndicate.
Goswami had once ran his narcotics trafficking operation in Zambia from the late eighties to the early nineties until he fled to South Africa around 1993 after the Zambian government gave an order to have him deported.
Kambwili, who was summoned to the Drug Enforcement Commission offices in Ridgeway yesterday, said unless he is killed, arrests would never intimidate him to stop talking about issues affecting Zambia.
“Nobody has died from going to prison, nobody has died from being in detention, nobody has died from being arrested. All I can ask is that as you arrest me, when I sleep in those cells, don’t inject me with illegal substance,” he said. “Don’t play with my life, don’t kill me. Spare my life because even if you killed me today, you will also die one day. In this world there is a day to be born and a day to die.”
Kambwili said he was doing President Lungu and Zambia a favour by uncovering what was already being discussed on an international front.
“I don’t know if it is intimidation or lack of foresight, professionalism or not knowing what to do when an issue arises. What I was doing was doing President Lungu a favour and was doing Zambia a favour because this thing has been in public domain for a long time and discussed in international and social media,” he said. “Probably people had no guts to go and tell President Edgar Lungu that this is what is going on but for me I was merely telling him what is going on. We are now as a country being suspected of being involved in drug dealing at a very high level. If somebody gives you a hint, the best you can do is follow it up and the information I gave them is the information that I have, nothing else. The onus is on them to go and find out from Findlay, find out from the US courts. But to start bringing a call-out to me, for what?”
Kambwili said he had information of his summoning and meetings to that effect the very day he held a press briefing over the drug story.
He said there were meetings between State House and the DEC where the agency was instructed to concoct a charge within the Drug Commission Act and arrest him.
“I am not surprised, but I have told them that this chimo nokweba ati mulefwaya ukutinya icaitinya, teti mutinye icaitinya (You can’t scare a fearless man). Me nalikosa kunse na mukati (I am strong inside out), if they want they can arrest me. I am not scared of being arrested. Unless they kill me, arrests and intimidation will never work because I will never stop talking. Nobody can intimidate me,” Kambwili said.
Kambwili said while the nation was falling apart, the government was wasting time issuing call-outs to people advising them to put their house in order.
“This is a failed leadership but anyway I am not scared of going to DEC. It’s just that I have had a bout of malaria since Sunday and the doctors gave me three days bed rest. I will be fine on Thursday and the lawyers will discuss with them when we can go there,” he said. “Otherwise, I’m ready and was ready the time I heard that there was some meeting going on and people being told that they should find a charge for me within the DEC Act.”
Kambwili said the idea of sending a battalion of officers just to deliver a call-out should end.
He urged President Lungu to reflect on his associates.
“All I can say to my brother and friend Edgar Lungu is that when people talk about certain friendships is to reflect and stay away from certain characters. This idea of wasting time about investigation, investigate what?” Kambwili asked.
Kambwili rubbished State House response to the Findlay allegation.
“It was ambiguous because it did not state the people that were involved. When I issued a press statement I mentioned the people that were involved but the statement from State House avoided to mention [them]. They just said these issues of drug trafficking. I did not speak generally. I was very specific. So from that statement it shows you that all these issues of investigating it’s just a smokescreen,” said Kambwili.
Meanwhile, police have askedPrime TV for footage in respect of Kambwili’s press briefing over the Findlay expose.
“Police are carrying out investigations relating to the above subject matter where Mr Chishimba Kambwili is alleged to have uttered words which bordered on the defamation of the President of the Republic of Zambia. The coverage of his press briefing at his residence was done by yourselves and aired to the members of the public on the 9th September 2019,” stated Zambia Police’s Lusaka division deputy criminal investigations officer Assistant Superintendent W. Mugala. “In order for us to conclude these investigations, we humbly ask you to avail us with the full footage in question. Your quick response to this request will be highly appreciated.”
However, the DEC in a statement following commentary on their summoning of the opposition leader, stated that it was for an interview to enable him provide ‘any further information he may have in relation to the allegations he made earlier this week.’
“The interview is a routine process undertaken to validate information that may be of help in any enquiries investigators may have. The Commission operates on an open door policy which allows any member of the public to provide any information they may have in relation to illicit activities under the Commission’s mandate and be treated with utmost confidentiality,” reads the statement. “An invitation to an informer to furnish further information on allegations does not in any way constitute an arrest as it is provided for under the Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Whistle blowers) Act No. 4 of 2010.”
DEC urged members of the public to take advantage of the open door policy and always report any information they might have on illicit activities without fear of retribution or intimidation.
On Monday, National Democratic Congress leader Chishimba Kambwili said he was afraid Zambia was under State capture.
He said there was fear that maybe the Zambian Presidential jet on which Valden Findlay flies with President Lungu was being used to courier drugs.
“We see when you go abroad and when coming out of the plane, the next person to come out is Valden Findlay. There are allegations by the people of Zambia and world over that maybe the presidential trips and plane is now being used to courier drugs. This man (Findlay) has been mentioned in drug deals in America by Goswami, who was also locked up by Dr Kaunda here in Zambia and deported. This man has given to the American government and courts to the effect that Valden Findlay is as associate in drug dealing.”
“Are we under State capture by Valden Findlay? What business do you do with Valden Findlay, your excellence the President? The people of Zambia want to know. We have seen of late that now even jobs in government have started going to people who are close to Valden Findlay…. This Chellah, who is the Special Assistant to the President for project monitoring and implementation was a chola boy for Findlay but now he has got a government job, we are wondering your excellence. This one I don’t want your press aide to answer, I don’t want anybody to answer, I just want the President himself to answer to the people of Zambia whether we are under State capture with Findlay,” Kambwili said.
“Those are allegations but very serious allegations. And we cannot run way from it as a country. That’s why now you can see K13.6 million presidential initiative fund without knowing were the money comes from but I have said that can we be told where the Presidential empowerment money comes from….”
“There is even an allegation that there was money that came from Israel on the Presidential jet, I have no facts but there is an allegation trunks of money came from Israel on that Presidential Jet but I leave it with you my dear President, my dear brother. Don’t think that I hate you, I have nothing against you but I am trying to protect your integrity, protect Zambia’s integrity and protect the ordinary people of Zambia. Because if it is proved that indeed there are some dealings in drugs going on then we are in trouble as a nation and the people who are going to suffer is not Findlay, it’s not President Edgar Lungu, it’s actually the ordinary poor Zambian people…twasukeni ba yama, namutotela mukwai (uncle answer us, thank you).”