WHEN I said my business was suffering I did not mean mwana Kambwili is suffering but typical of people who have never managed even a katemba, President Edgar Lungu only managed to trap smoke, leaving out the fire, says Chishimba Kambwili.
Reacting to President Lungu’s statement that his mouth is the reason his business has gone down, Kambwili said his business not only serve him but many households who work for his companies.
During a media reception at State House last Friday, President Lungu, in response to a question from ZNBC reporter Mark Ziligone on his ‘reconciliation’ with the NDC leader, said he had gone to church to remember late Michael Sata.
He said he did not know that Kambwili was in the crowd and the priest called him and they shook hands.
“I was lamenting at that point. I was saying what have I done to be called for reconciliation because I have never differed with this gentleman. In short, I have no issues with Chishimba Kambwili, save that he has offended some people, including members of my family, by calling me a thief, a corrupt person and a drug dealer,” President Lungu explained. “To cut the long story short, after the meeting the priest saw it fit to call us in his office and there I told him (Kambwili) what I have said. I said, ‘you can’t reconcile with me, even if the Church [feels] that to be the case or the nation wants that to be the case, because I have no issues with you and it’s you who has issues with me. So, if you say I’m a thief, you should lay the evidence that I’m a thief, I’m a corrupt person, I’m a drug dealer. If I was a private person, I would have sued you’. Those were my words and then I promised that I’ll not talk about this matter because his response to my position was that he is suffering. His family and businesses have suffered and I told him, I said ‘your family and businesses are suffering because of your mouth’. I explained further by saying that ‘your mouth is so negative that people who want to work with you fear that they will be perceived to be supporting your cause and so some of them have been withdrawing business association and interest from you’. It’s not to do with me because I know what it means to suffer blackout or sanctions in that manner. So I don’t know whether you can say that was reconciliation or not. I have spoken the way things happened! After that, we left.”
President Lungu said whether there was reconciliation or not, he does not have to reconcile with everybody.
“But you make peace with yourself, first; find out whether what you are saying is truthful or not. If not, retract. I went further and I said ‘look, GBM [Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba] reconciled truthfully’. He went public and said he is sorry about it and so on. The Mayor of Lusaka [Miles Sampa], we reconciled because he went public and said, ‘look, I want to work with you, I’m sorry’. We did this not in the bedroom of my house or the privacy of State House. But he (Sampa) went public because the public is affected by these things,” he said. “So that’s where we are.”
But Kambwili said it was illogical for the Head of State to say his mouth has made his company to go down when it was clear that he was behind the loss of business.
He reminded President Lungu that it was the same mouth he is despising today that campaigned for him to become what he is and defended his government when he was chief government spokesperson.
Kambwili said instead of President Lungu addressing the troubles affecting the economy and the country as a whole, he wasted journalists’ time lying about him.
He recalled how some people wanted former president Levy Mwanawasa to tamper with his businesses when he used to supply Maheu drink to all mining companies but that he refused.
Kambwili added that President Mwanawasa refused to do what the current government has done because he knew that he was not only a family man but also an entrepreneur and tax payer contributing to the economy of the country.
He said President Lungu’s speech last Friday was empty and not befitting the hullabaloo the event attracted.
“There was nothing that came out of that press briefing. It didn’t give hope to Zambians. Here is a President who has not spoken to people for four years but he comes to issue an empty statement. It was a joke and nothing to write home about,” Kambwili. “I have been a businessman for a long time before President Lungu even became an MP so squeezing my business because he finds what I tell him challenging is unfair and illogical.”
He said he had been a businessman because he does not want to wait to be in State House to be rich like others have been.
Kambwili said President Lungu would not shut him up using his business because he has a duty to speak for the Zambian majority who are suffering at the hands of the PF government.
He said President Lungu needed to be reminded that no matter how much he squeezes his businesses, talking about the wrongs in his government would not be affected.
Kambwili advised President Lungu to change and do what is expected of him.