BREBNER Changala says the arrest of health minister Chitalu Chilufya is part of the PF scheme to launder themselves.
He noted that there is a strong perception that the President Edgar Lungu is the gang leader “in this corruption which we are seeing in PF; he’s the head. And he has never, never made an effort to clear this perception. If anything, he has entrenched the perception that what the people say behind the scenes could actually be true.”
Changala challenged President Lungu to face the people directly.
“So, the President of Zambia Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, get out of those State House trenches, or tunnels as they call them. Come and face the nation, tell the nation, what are you up to? We don’t know what he’s up to. The man doesn’t say anything other than seeing these notes coming from Isaac Chipampe, which are a sign of disrespect to the people of Zambia. You cannot run a country through press statements,” he said. “We want the man to stand and face the media, face the questions, answer them. Why is he behaving the way he’s behaving? Why has he turned this country into a police state? Why can’t the youth protest and organise themselves in a formidable force that can help us develop this country and come out of these poverty levels? So, my take is that, that statement from State House is a total insult to the people of Zambia. He must face us on, we want to talk to him. He wants to be elected again, elected on what basis? How do we elect a fugitive? The President of Zambia is nothing but a fugitive issuing statements from the tunnels. He must come out public!”
On Wednesday, State House told the nation that Dr Chilufya, who has been arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission and charged with four counts of being in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime, is innocent in the eyes of President Lungu.
Responding to that statement, Changala, a good governance activist, said PF leaders were using the law to cleanse themselves.
“We understand that they have used the law many times under lawfare to stay afloat, to acquit themselves. We, the people of Zambia, have come to realise that they know very well that they’re going towards the end of their term. And no sane Zambian citizen will vote for them again,” he said. “They have a scheme where they are now laundering themselves by taking each other to court, knowing very well [that] they have issues with the law in the manner they have handled the treasury, in the manner they have handled the law itself using the lawfare. They are going to court willingly, summoning themselves to go to court. And they’re getting arrested. And once they get arrested, they’re taken to court, and at the courts of law they’re acquitted.”
Changala said they were protecting themselves against possible prosecution when they leave office next year.
“They are creating a buffer to protect themselves so that when the government changes; they cannot be prosecuted because there’s a law that says you cannot prosecute somebody on the same charge [twice] because that will be abuse of court process,” he explained. “And that’s why when these ministers are acquitted, the institution that takes them to court is the one to appeal. But they’re not even appealing these cases because that’s the closure of the file. There’s a period in which you are supposed to appeal if you are not satisfied. And it should not be out of time. And after one year you cannot go and revisit that case. I am telling you and mark my words, that what the President is doing is the scheme of PF. And he will defend it to the core.”
Changala challenged President Lungu to explain how he convicted the other ministers that he dismissed on the basis of corruption.
“When did the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu convict Emerine Kabanshi? When did the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, convict Chishimba Kambwili; the people he fired because there were allegations of corruption elsewhere?” he asked. “And I must remind the President, in good faith, that perception is stronger than fact. There’s a strong perception that the President of the Republic of Zambia is the gang leader in this corruption which we are seeing in PF; he’s the head. And he has never, never made an effort to clear this perception. If anything, he has entrenched the perception that what the people say behind the scenes could actually be true.”
He challenged President Lungu to explain how he suddenly became rich after ascending to power.
“Chishimba Kambwili has asked the President on several fora and several times, how has he become so rich in a very short period of time? President Edgar Lungu takes it that he’s so smart, clean and humble that he cannot answer to questions or to allegations that are labeled against him,” Changala said. “And President Edgar Lungu is building a consortium of colleagues who are suspects, corrupt suspects. And they are now walking to the courts on daily bases, flying the Zambian flag. And getting acquitted and flying the Zambian flag. What will the Zambian people, including President Lungu, lose if Chitalu Chilufya went on forced leave or indeed he took leave so that he can resolve his issues with the Anti-Corruption Commission?”
He said the mantra of presumption of innocent until proven guilty by the courts of law has been used several times by other leaders.
Changala said President Lungu was a wrong person to lecture people on that score.
“We, the people, we knew who was Edgar Lungu before he became a minister. We the people, we knew Edgar Lungu before he became the President of this Republic. And we have come to see how he has transformed himself to be one of the Rockefellers of this country, to be the Bill Gates of Zambia,” said Changala. “We have seen how he has transformed his cabinet and cabinet ministers to have more money than Tom Mtine, to have more money than Enoch Kavindele, to have more money than Costain Chilala – people who spent all their lives planning on how to make money. And him walks a few steps from Chawama to become one of the richest men in town. He has got the capacity to donate K1 million to the Catholic church and many other donations that he has been making.”