ZAMBIA is too playful, every calamity like COVID-19 presents an opportunity for people to enrich themselves, says Chikondi Foundation president John Mambo.
Bishop Mambo, who is also a Civil Society for Constitutional Agenda (CiSCA) chairperson, said Zambia was not an island which cannot learn from others on how they were handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Until yesterday, members of the public had questioned President Edgar Lungu’s absence and silence on the coronavirus outbreak when Heads of State in other countries have been leading the process.
Several African leaders including Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni have taken prominent role in addressing the outbreak in their countries by appearing on national media.
On Tuesday, in defending the President on a ZNBC special interview, chief government spokesperson Dora Siliya said strategies to fight the COVID-19 should not be a copy and paste situation and that President Lungu would speak at an appropriate time.
Bishop Mambo said Zambia should not be subjected to ministers who were contradicting themselves with statements on hours of bar operations and church gatherings.
“If you have seen the lion that is coming towards you and you do not climb a tree, the lion will catch-up with you and eat you. Our friends in South Africa, they have just introduced a solidarity fund. The government has put in money and companies that are running within South Africa are not just issuing sanitary towel. They will be contributing towards that fund and already there is someone independent to look at that fund,” Bishop Mambo noted. “Now for Zambia, we are too playful. Corruption is always in our mind. Every sad situation we see an opportunity to enriching ourselves. Even if we are happy, we still have a lot appetite for money. God will punish those who will use this COVID-19 to enrich themselves.”
He said President Lungu should lead the fight, in supplementing efforts of health minister Chitalu Chilufya before the virus spreads to shanty compounds.
Bishop Mambo said Zambia had no capacity like China that had manage to stop the spread of the virus.
“In Zambia, God forbid, we are playing. Even I, as strong as I am in faith, I live in fear. If it happens in Matero, I do not know whether we shall keep Matero. If it happens in Misisi Compound, I doubt if we will manage to control it, so as rural areas,” he said.
Bishop Mambo said President Lungu should lead with drastic measures that should stop the import of the disease.
He said President Lungu was not voted to sit but to work for every Zambia.
Bishop Mambo said the fight against the coronavirus should not be left to ministers who were contradicting each other but that President Lungu should provide leadership.
“Shutdown means that we even stop the movement but going to a grocery is allowed. But all I am saying is that it is an appeal, let the President regardless of how people are going to feel come out and address the nation. Inform us as Commander-In-Chief, the father of the nation because Lungu was not voted by PF alone, no! He has many sympathisers that are not behaving like cadres but they supported him,” he said. “Zambia is not an island. Apart from ZNBC, Zambia Daily Mail, Times of Zambia, The Mast, Prime TV, people are watching news on international media on how other presidents are taking this pandemic seriously on every hour. The international media is also saying the situation is bad.”
Bishop Mambo said Zambia was not ready to lose lives the way it happened during the “man-made gassing” attacks.
He said COVID-19 knew no politics or race but that it would affected every Zambian.
“I know that they will take it wrongly like always but this sickness has no politics, it is not partisan, there is no tribe about it. If it happens to Zambia, we have no capacity. Financially, now we are not paying lecturers at the university, we are not paying some of our councils,” said Bishop Mambo. “I think Zambians, let us put our heads together for once. Let the President come out and address the nation.”