A CABINET minister says the Patriotic Front “is rotting” and is fortunate that the media are not exposing it.
Meanwhile, the minister has wondered why justice minister Given Lubinda is the only one in a Cabinet of 30 people who is trying hard to “force-feed” Zambians with Bill 10.
The minister and a PF central committee member met this reporter last week and gave a long-winded interview.
Except for nods, occasional laughter and intermittent comments of ‘yea, true,’ the central committee member did not speak.
The duo requested anonymity.
Meanwhile, the minister notes that it will be a waste of time to talk about Vice-President Inonge Wina’s declaration to run as running mate next year as the 78-year-old leader “hasn’t got the energy even today” to be in office.
Asked why the minister could not resign from government given their views, the minister responded: “there are consequences. These guys are ruthless! You resign, they inconvenience you by taking you to ACC (Anti-Corruption Commission) even when you don’t have a case. You’ll start hiring lawyers [and so] it’s better for me to just keep quiet, although I have shared with you this stuff (laughs).” “So, all is not rosy in PF. We have camps strategising on how they will fare at the PF general conference. If you can see, the ‘sole candidate’ song is only for the secretariat; it doesn’t filter through to the body called PF.”
The minister said President Edgar Lungu was the head of the PF and secretary general Davies Mwila was the “stomach and engine” of the party.
“Now, the head and the stomach are receiving food which can’t go to organs of the body – the body starts rotting. PF is rotting (laughs) but we are just lucky that you the media just focus on the confusion in the opposition. There is chaos in this PF of ours,” the minister said.
Reminded that Vice-President Wina recently declared that she would be the running mate in next year’s general elections and the implications for the party, the minister answered: “in all fairness, her declaration amounts to nothing. First and foremost, she hasn’t got the energy even today to stay in that office, worse still to be the running mate in 2021.”
“You see Chambwa, let’s not even waste time on ba Inonge because whatever she said is a non-starter,” the source said. “These abena [health minister] Dr Chitalu Chilufya you people keep on saying ‘running mate, running mate,’ can’t even win an election within PF. Now, how can he go and win an election outside our party?”
The minister emphasised that the PF was “committing political suicide” by sticking to President Lungu and the status quo.
“The earlier we change the party president, the better. You know what? When a party is losing power, ministers and other senior government officials start refusing to grant interviews. Nifi fine (it’s just like this), giving interviews anonymously muma (in) dark corners (laughs). You can get an interview from an opposition leader at short notice because they are not being held to anything – they are not shackled to anything. When things are going on very well, each time you buy a paper you read about minister (mentions name),” the minister explained.
“But today when you buy a paper, it’s only [Brian] Mundubile, Lubinda, Makebi Zulu. But ministers like myself and others don’t talk. Have you seen the Minister of Higher Education [Brian] Mushimba talking? Very intelligent! He will not issue a political statement to back our party because his brain is functioning.”
The minister added: “we are not running this country from the space.”
“We live among you people. Some of these ministers are not like me (laughs); they are still younger and probably want to see themselves beyond 2021, until they exhaust their energies,” the minister added.
On Bill 10 and the government’s continued attempts to have it enacted, the minister said: “I don’t like the way Lubinda is trying to force-feed the people of Zambia on the Bill 10.
“But you can see that our party has intimidated everybody and boxed Lubinda in a corner. That Bill 10 has been reduced to a party document and you don’t handle a Constitution like that,” the minister stressed. “The best we could have done is to shelve it and build consensus, [be] magnanimous enough to even hold a meeting of the opposition. Whether the opposition agrees or not, Lubinda must reach out to them. These constitutional matters must never be partisan and especially that the document itself raises matters which border on Edgar Lungu – whether he is not eligible here and there.”
The minister charged that no sane person would go and stand on the podium and back Bill 10.
“The other day I was talking to a colleague, a Cabinet minister and I said ‘but this Bill 10 is just being talked about by this guy Lubinda and Mundubile, yet we are a Cabinet of 30 people.’ If you include provincial ministers, we become 40. But let’s remove provincial ministers and Mundubile; we are a Cabinet of 30 but why is it just Lubinda who is talking about Bill 10? Where is the 29 of us?” the minister wondered. “The minister I was talking to told me that ‘Honourable, this thing, you’ll only burn your fingers. This document is discredited but you and I are just moving with this collective approach.’ That’s about it! In any case, what is it that one can go public and say we have done this as the government and we are proud about it? The economy has collapsed, the country is divided.”
The minister further noted that the truth of unity in the PF would only be seen when the party loses power.
“We shall disintegrate! I pity the people who want to shine this time, in the midst of chaos and I mean Makebi Zulu, Mundubile, Lubinda. These guys’ political career is gone,” said the minister.
“Some of us who have taken a back seat might survive the next day. We have constituencies but some of us sometimes even fear to go there because there is so much poverty. Then you must go on a podium and say ‘everything is okay!’”