THE fight against corruption is being derailed and made impossible by the office of the President, Chishimba Kambwili has lamented.
And Kambwili has urged health minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya to show magnanimity by stepping down on his own.
Lamenting the swift arrest, charge and release of health minister Chitalu Chilufya last week, Kambwili said President Edgar Lungu is making the Anti-corruption Commission work very difficult.
He warned against using the ACC to launder government official facing corruption charges.
“I would like to condemn President Edgar Lungu and his attitude towards the fight against corruption. It is not long ago that we heard the President telling ACC in their investigations for those who are perceived to be corrupt but to my surprise, Chitalu Chilufya was arrested by ACC, within a minute, he was released on police bond when a boy who is charged of libel is kept in police cells for over 10 days without a police bond,” Kambwili said.
“Even me, I have never been released on police bond. What does this show? That this nonsense of arresting Chilufya is just as smokes screen, there is nothing that is going to happen to him. How can you explain what happened; a serving minister is arrested and one hour later he is in Parliament giving a statement and answering questions in Parliament? What a way of fooling Zambians.”
Kambwili said he was convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the PF was only using provisions of the law, which says one cannot be prosecuted on the same offence twice.
He said the action of the ACC was meant to launder Dr Chilufya and other people in government.
“But I want to tell them that they are wasting their time because when we come into government we will remove that provision or establish fast track tribunals to deal with corruption cases and not through the normal court process. So they are wasting their time to launder themselves because we will find a way to get to them. Let them stop wasting our time by pretending that they are arresting people,” he said.
The NDC leader lamented that President Lungu was not showing seriousness in the fight against corruption because if he were, he would have dropped Dr Chilufya from his position.
Kambwili also said although he has not been dropped, on the day of the arrest, Dr Chilufya should not have gone to Parliament but should have gone out of public domain even for a week.
“Kutumfya abantu uku…like I have always said, insoni ebuntu (having shame is what makes a human) but it appears our colleagues nensoni tabakwata (have no shame). It’s an open secret that this fight against corruption is being derailed and made impossible by the office of the President. How would the anti-corruption feel? In fact, the anti-corruption Act clearly says that any public officer who is charged with an offence and appearing in court, must be suspended. So is President Lungu creating his own rules because he is abrogating the constitution with impunity. There is no way under the earth that a minister can be coming from his office with a flag on his car to go to court and in the afternoon is back in the office…no, God help us,” Kambwili said.
“Lungu my brother, I urge you to do the right thing. You see all these things are not reflecting on Chitalu Chilufya but it’s reflecting on you and the danger that we have now is that the Ministry of Health is funded by donors but how do you expect the donors to have confidence in funding the Ministry of Health when a minister in charge is facing serious corrupt charges? To my brother Chitalu Chilufya, show magnanimity by simply stepping down on your own, some of these things you don’t need the President to tell you. Show integrity yourself that there is nothing you are hiding, so the best way is to step down.”
Kambwili noted that in Zambia, everything was micromanaged by the executive and feared that even the magistrate would not be free to hear a case of a sitting minister.
The NDC leader lamented that Zambia now was an embarrassment to the entire world.
Kambwili said what President Lungu is doing is a disservice to the people of Zambia and the ACC.
“So when you find ACC becoming relaxed, don’t blame anybody, blame President Edgar Lungu,” said Kambwili.