NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili has challenged President Edgar Lungu to “come out of hibernation” and address the nation on the deadly COVID-19.
And Kambwili says Zambia is not ready to combat the coronavirus owing to the lack of seriousness by the government.
Addressing the media at his Lusaka residence, Kambwili said government’s readiness and preparedness on the dreaded virus left much to be desired.
“I have been compelled to call for this press briefing concerning the coronavirus pandemic or the COVID-19 because I have observed with concern that the government’s approach and preparedness over this COVID-19 leaves much to be desired. I want to appeal to the President: ba President, wherever you are; and for lack of a better term, wherever you are hibernating, wherever you are, come out of that comfort zone and start addressing the people of Zambia over this COVID-19. We are sick and tired of seeing Chitalu Chilufya and Dora Siliya taking a front row in this [fight against the] pandemic,” he said.
“We have failed to show seriousness as a country concerning COVID-19. We have failed to show seriousness over this pandemic and we are treating it with kid’s gloves; and that’s not the way it should be. This COVID-19 is a killer; coronavirus is not something we should gloss over. And if a country cannot be serious over such a serious matter like the coronavirus then we are as good as declaring ourselves that we don’t have a government.”
The NDC leader lamented that when other Heads of State were taking the lead in addressing their respective nations over the virus, President Lungu had remained quiet.
Kambwili said health minister Chitalu Chilufya was not the one people voted for as President.
“Look people of Zambia, all the countries in the world…first and foremost, the inter-ministerial committees that have been formed in all the countries in the world are being chaired by respective Heads of State, presidents and prime ministers. But here in Zambia the inter-ministerial committee for COVID-19 is being chaired by Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya, and that shows that we are not serious as a country,” Kambwili said.
“If the United States of America can have Donald Trump chairing the inter-ministerial committee, giving updates to the Americans, if the British Prime Minister can be in the forefront chairing the inter-ministerial committee and giving updates to the country, if our neighbours in Tanzania can have the President heading inter-ministerial committee and giving updates to the country; if South Africa can have the President chairing and updating, if Kenya can have the President heading the inter-ministerial committee and giving updates, then why shouldn’t Zambia do the same?”
Kambwili wondered why the PF government was still allowing aircrafts from high risk areas like China to land in the country.
He insisted that aircrafts from high-risk nations such as China, France and Italy, among others, should not be allowed to land in the country.
“The status quo shows how our President takes a laissez faire attitude towards important national issues. People did not elect Chitalu Chilufya and Dora Siliya to run this country; people of Zambia elected His Excellency the President Edgar Chagwa Lungu to run this country and we want to hear from the President, and nobody else,” said Kambwili.
“This disease is a killer, once one goes into pneumonia stage it will need that person or individual to be subjected to the ventilator. But how many ventilators do we have in this country? UTH, the biggest hospital in this country has only 12 ventilators against a population of 17 million. And some of the hospitals in the peripherals, including Roan, Nchanga North, may have only one or zero ventilators. And this disease, without a ventilator, once you go into pneumonia stage…you are gone. But Chitalu Chilufya is telling us that we are ready for COVID-19.”