A WELL placed PF member of the central committee says in an attempt to avoid questioning and possible arrest at the Anti-Corruption Commission today, health minister Chitalu Chilufya has been pushing for mass targeted screening of all ministers who attended a Cabinet meeting last Wednesday.
He says Dr Chilufya, alongside information minister Dora Siliya, wants to see the nucleus of the government effectively quarantined.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, says it will not be surprising to hear that Dr Chilufya got swabbed and tested positive to COVID-19 to thwart his imminent arrest.
Siliya on Saturday announced that she had been tested positive for COVID-19.
The source, however, argues that Siliya’s story about testing positive to COVID-19 is a hoax.
“It is part of the greater scheme between Dora, Chitalu Chilufya and others to rubbish the President and his address on the COVID-19 pandemic. She took a test three weeks ago and she tested negative,” the source said.
“So, what prompted her to take another test after three weeks? She claims that she took a test on Monday and the results should have been out within 48 hours or 72 hours. So, the latest her results would have been out is Wednesday or Thursday. But let’s give her the benefit of doubt that the results came out on Thursday, why did she hold on to the results until Saturday after the presidential address, to reveal to the public that she is positive.”
The source asked: “who forced Dora to reveal that she is positive to COVID-19?
“What is so special about Dora? The test she is talking about was simply a hoax, a smokescreen because she, together with Chilufya, is preparing to launch an assault against the presidency and to try to prepare a ground for Chilufya to avoid appearing before the Anti-Corruption Commission on Tuesday,” the source said.
“Chilufya is afraid that he might get arrested officially on Tuesday and he’s been trying to make all forms of excuses. One of them was to push that all those that attended the Cabinet meeting at Mulungushi International Conference Centre last Wednesday must be tested and quarantined. The Cabinet meeting was at Mulungushi because they wanted to maximise social distancing and social distancing was observed.”
The source stressed that there was no risk whatsoever of anyone in Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting contracting COVID-19.
“As per yesterday (Sunday), Chilufya had instructed his senior medical officers to start screening and testing all those who attended the Cabinet meeting, including support staff. They wanted to cause drama so that come Tuesday (today) Chilufya should have an excuse not to appear before the Anti-Corruption Commission,” the source said. “This mass targeted testing which they wanted to do yesterday was thwarted by senior State House officials. Senior State House officials called the health ministry permanent secretary Dr [Kennedy] Malama and told him that no one should go ahead and have a testing of anyone. That’s how Chilufya’s scheme was stopped yesterday. Ask Dr Malama about all this and see how he will stammer to respond! All Chilufya wants is to skip questioning and possible arrest at the ACC tomorrow (today). He is always trying to put a slap on the President’s face that the President doesn’t know what he is doing.”
The source asked the media to “keep your eyes open, keep an ear to the ground, because Dr Chilufya is going back to the Anti-Corruption Commission on Tuesday and he’s likely to be arrested”.
“He’s going back to the ACC on Tuesday but his contacts within have briefed him already that the team there is determined to arrest him. So they have told him ‘to bring along your jersey because you may not return home’ – unless he gets a bond,” the source said. “The ACC are saying if the President wants to save Dr Chilufya from arrest, he’ll have to call the Commission directly as their Commander-In-Chief. They’ll only lay off if the boss gives instructions in person. They have chosen to ignore what the President’s men, those proxies, are ordering. The ACC guys say they have received too much flak from citizens and other institutions over their perceived failure to deal with corruption allegations especially involving politicians in power.”
The source disclosed that Dr Chilufya had many people under his payroll in the government, the PF and “even in ACC.”
“So, he is receiving a lot of intel. He knows what is happening all the time. So this gives him time to prepare ways to frustrate the looming arrest,” the source said.
The source asked, “why do you think critical people are questioning Honourable Siliya’s COVID-19 results?”
The source said there has been a consistent pattern whereby each time President Edgar Lungu addresses the nation and issues measures to ease some restrictions, the following day there is a bombshell.
“Remember a day after he allowed some sectors to open, the follow day Dr Chilufya announced those huge numbers of coronavirus from Nakonde and those deaths. In the case of Dora, we gather she went for testing on Monday or Tuesday and she got her results on Friday. Even when the President was addressing the nation she already knew the results,” the source said. “But those inside are seeing through it – that this is an agenda to undermine the President’s desire to return or unlock the economy under the new normal.”
The source charged that Dr Chilufya had become very sophisticated to the extent of “capturing the State”.
“He has contacts at ACC. His arrest didn’t take place last time because he knows what is happening there at every stage. He’s working hard to frustrate the whole thing. He knows once he’s arrested, that will throw his political agenda in disarray,” the source said. “But ACC have advanced to a point that he may not manage to frustrate them. But Dr Chilufya appears to have forged an alliance with Dora… Remember last Wednesday there was a Cabinet meeting. With Dora confirming her COVID positive status, the idea was for Dr Chilufya to now immediately capture all those that attended the meeting for testing. This means the President, Vice-President, entire Cabinet and State House officials, all provincial ministers and the secretariat – Cabinet Office. The idea was to do express testing and results would have been announced today (yesterday). Part of the scheme was to frustrate his imminent arrest and paralyse government.”
The source said considering the COVID-19 outbreak and public health measures being followed, President Lungu took the last Cabinet meeting to Mulungushi International Conference Centre where all those in attendance kept a good social distancing of more than a metre.
“The President was alone on a podium. All ministers were spaced and masked in line with the new normal. In that meeting, Dora never opened her mouth – there was no contribution from her. During tea break, she didn’t participate,” the source said. “She only removed her mask during lunch and she sat with one provincial minister and another. Those are the only close contacts. Basically, there is no basis or justification to demand that all those who attended the last Cabinet be subjected to testing. This is part of State capture to paralyse everything and frustrate the impending arrest of ba Chilufya.”
The source added that Siliya appeared to be helping Dr Chilufya presidential bid, knowingly or unknowingly.
“You see, we gathered that a month or so ago she took a COVID-19 test and was negative and she never issued a statement on Twitter. So what motivated her second test, especially that she was not showing any COVID symptoms?” he wondered. “You know during this COVID period she has stayed away from Twitter. But why did she use Twitter to announce her positive status instead of say, ZNBC? And we hear the person she lives with has tested negative and yet she wants a number of government officials tested as her contacts.”
The source said with Siliya testing positive, it means her permanent secretary Amos Malupenga, directors and other essential staff would have to be swabbed and should they test positive, the entire ministry would be paralysed.
“This is why people are saying this coronavirus is a cash cow. We suspect Honourable Siliya and Dr Chilufya have forged a very close partnership politically and businesswise. But it’s a State Capture that has failed again,” the source said. “Let me tell you this, Tuesday arrest is looming. But ba Chilufya is paying a lot of people both in government and the party. He gets a lot of information. Even in the ACC, there are people on his payroll. But you can’t compromise the entire population just because of one man’s greedy and selfish agenda. He has heard from his contacts within ACC that his arrest is looming, possibly tomorrow (today).”
The source said if Dr Chilufya’s plan had not been thwarted, the government would have been forced to implement a total lockdown.
“But imagine the damage that would have been inflicted on our already struggling economy? With a collapsed economy, it would mean the President has failed and then people both from inside the PF and the outside would start looking for a messiah – a Moses!” said the source. “All they are doing is to portray that the President doesn’t know what he is doing. This is how powerful Dr Chilufya has become. He can devise a State capture without the President even knowing. He wants to cause unnecessary panic in the country. The scheme is designed to create panic and tension. The boss, ba President is blinded. This is why some people are saying he has created a monster in Dr Chilufya that will soon devour him.”