NEW Labour Party leader Fresher Siwale has charged that President Edgar Lungu is not ready to let go of his corruption sources hence his failure to declare a state of health emergency after the two cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the country.
Siwale is saddened that with the advent of the coronavirus in the country the government has failed to provide leadership.
He said the country was in a disaster as long as it lacked leadership and he feared that people were going to die as their leader was slow in making decisions.
He imagined what would become of the country if the virus spreads in places like city market, Kanyama, Lilanda and Chawama as the country’s hospitals are incapacitated to handle even minor emergencies.
“Now what more when the virus (COVID 19) strikes? We are headed for a national disaster. We appeal to the international community to come and help us because we do not have leadership in this country,” Siwale said.
He was worried that four months after the first cases were announced in China, Zambia was still not ready for coronavirus despite the World Health Organization (WHO) calling on countries to respond and prepare for the coronavirus.
“As late as three weeks ago, the WHO was complaining of the inaction of certain countries towards the response to the virus and Zambia is one of the countries that has not responded and prepared for this coronavirus,” Siwale said. “Two weeks ago I did call on Lungu to declare a state of health emergency so that it would have triggered the international community to help us prepare for this coronavirus and also it should have triggered the mobilisation of resources locally, financial as well as human resource. Lungu has been procrastinating, he has refused to declare a state of health emergency because once he does that it means all the sources of corruption funds will be closed. It means that all resources towards these corrupt roads that they are doing should have been diverted towards coronavirus preparation.”
He said President Lungu was not prepared to let go of the corruption resources and had exposed Zambians to great danger.
“Even the measures they have announced of closing schools of what effect does it have? When Zambia does not have test kits, we don’t have labs around the country, we have no protective clothing for health personnel so what effect has closing of schools done?” he wondered.
Siwale stressed that Lusaka as a town, Cairo road, Lumumba road, City market and Soweto were very dirty and information to the general citizen had not been forthcoming as the citizenry was equally not prepared for coronavirus.
“This is a period Lungu should provide leadership not to go and hide like a chicken which hides its head in the grass exposing the backside when it is in trouble,” he said. “We need leadership in this country because by now we should have been preparing for a lockdown. Our borders should have been secured and also testing kits and protective clothing should have been at all the borders including the airports but that has not taken place.”
Siwale said citizens who were making a living on the streets should have been moved back to their respective compounds to allow for the mobilisation of health personnel, defence forces and volunteers so that the city of Lusaka and other urban areas could be cleaned.
“By now we should have had a fumigation system and we should have taken advantage of this period between March and May when we have warm temperatures to start the fumigation, social distancing, people must go into self-quarantine – this is the period we should have done that,” said Siwale. “The period after May will be cold and the incubation of the virus will be heightened but the man you call your President has gone into hiding, your health minister is as ignorant as a person who has never even attended school.”