LUSAKA Province minister Bowman Lusambo says he has not gone quiet in the fight against COVID-19 but that he has led the way and expects others under him to follow suit.
And Lusambo says those alleging he’s part of a team intimidating the Anti-Corruption Commission over health minister Chitalu Chilufya investigations, are doing so because “I am a political heavyweight”.
Soon after Zambia recorded its first COVID-19 case, Lusambo was all over enforcing measures to fight the pandemic but of late he has gone mute after public condemnations.
At one point Lusambo led police officers who whipped citizens that defied the presidential directive on patronizing bars.
However, Lusambo has told The Mast that his shoes are heavy and he has left the space for light weights to enforce the public health measures.
“I am not quiet, I am not quiet. I am not working alone, it’s a multisectoral response which we are doing [as government]. As a provincial minister I have permanent secretaries, deputy permanent secretary, provincial heads of department, so I expect when I lead then others should follow. So I have already made a step and I expect others to do so in terms of being proactive,” he said. “I am working well with district commissioners. They have been so proactive especially Chilanga, Kafue, Chirundu, Chongwe – they have been proactive – but overall all the district commissioners have been so proactive. So for me I’m not quiet. You see my shoe is very heavy. You see what I mean? My foot is heavy so I am not supposed to be using my foot anyhow. When I use my foot, I have to withdraw so that a light foot may continue works. You see what I mean? So I’m still here, very active and I’m following the activities of COVI-19.”
Lusambo said he was now preoccupied with schools that are reopening on Monday.
“You know schools are opening on the first of June. I’m going through schools to see the progress in preparation of the opening, so that we see how ready they are. So I am 100 per cent active and also in my constituency (Kabushi) I’m also making sure that I am preparing my constituency as well. You know I am just an ambassador here [Lusaka],” he said.
Meanwhile, Lusambo said those saying he is part of the team intimidating the Anti-Corruption Commission over health minister Chitalu Chilufya investigations, are doing so because he
is a political heavyweight.
“That’s a laughable thing. Why? Why should I be part of the thing, the team, that is shielding? We have investigative wings in our country and I can’t comment on that because it is very insane that my name can be mentioned in those useless things. The President himself, His Excellency, is the President of law not by name. So when the President is governing this country, he is governing this country through the Constitution of our country,” he said. “So that is a very laughable issue. It’s a very laughable issue. My goal is to see the people of Lusaka have masks, they are maintaining social distancing, they are accessing shopping malls, they are having a new normal lifestyle. That’s my preoccupation, so the things they are talking about its neither here nor there.”
Lusambo said it’s very unfortunate that his name was being maligned.
“You know in each and every society…we know that even in the media fraternity you have
strong media houses and you know that this is a strong media house. When they talk or when they publish stories, people will listen. Even in the political fraternity, we have heavyweights, so being a heavyweight does not mean you can be put in a stupid…or bringing your name into disrepute. I know that my team through His Excellency, President Edgar Lungu has asked me to be who I am,” said Lusambo. “So I am here through the guidance of the President, the Office of the Vice-President and my colleagues whom I work with. So the position which I’m occupying and the popularity which I am enjoying it’s because of the advice I’m getting from people. So even in the political circles, they know that that one is a heavyweight, this is a lightweight. So when they are pointing at you just pray to God that ‘can you protect me from these evil spirits’.”
On May 19, the ACC interrogated Dr Chilufya.
Sources informed The Mast that Dr Chilufya, who was supposed to be arrested immediately after the interrogations, survived due to “heavy interference from some influential people within government and the PF”.
The source said the lady who was interrogating Dr Chilufya was under substantial intimidation that she failed to arrest him even after he was warned and cautioned.
The source said the interference was exerted by one of President Edgar Lungu’s aides including Lusambo.