EDGAR LUNGU’S refusal to fire Chitalu Chilufya is not only a demonstration of hatred towards those that are fighting corruption but also a show of a lack of respect for investigative wings, says Gregory Chifire.
Reacting to the State House statement that health minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya is innocent of all corruption charges until proven guilty by the courts of law, Chifire said this does not surprise anyone because the presidency neither believes in fighting the theft of public money nor wanton corruption.
“If Lungu was a responsible leader, he could have either fired or asked his ministers facing corruption charges to resign on their own accord so that investigative wings can do their job without impediment. The statement by State House claiming that Chitalu Chilufya is innocent does not surprise some of us because the people that run State House neither believe in fighting the theft of public money nor the fight against wanton corruption,” Chifire said.
Chifire, the exiled Human Rights activist, lamented that President Lungu was a strange man who loves to twist the law to suit his desires.
“One wonders why he has made it a priority to shield those accused of corruption. Little wonder people are saying that State House has become a den of thieves,” he said.
He wondered why if Dr Chilufya could he not be excused from his ministerial position to face the law without the coat of a minister if he was innocent as President Lungu was claiming.
He wondered what was with Dr Chilufya when ordinary civil servants investigated for criminal offenses were sent on forced leave and put on half salaries.
Chifire, who is also Southern Africa Network Against Corruption (SANAC) director, said it was just common sense that the same, if not harsher conditions, should apply to ministers.
“Edgar as usual is hiding in a questionable legal interpretation. Zambia is the only country in the world where a minister accused of corruption by State agencies continues to hold office. We have actually become a laughing stock in the eyes of the whole world, all thanks to Mr Lungu and his love for corruption,” Chifire said.
He noted that President Lungu had consistently demonstrated his love for corruption having failed to fire Ronald Chitotela, earlier.
“Now he has failed to fire Chilufya. He will never fire anyone on the basis of stealing public money, corruption, being in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime or indeed abuse of authority. On the other hand, he can only fire those challenging his hold on to power,” he said.
Chifire said Zambians should never think that President Lungu would fight corruption as he was both the benefactor and beneficiary of corruption.
He said the Head of State fears to fire those involved in corruption because he benefits from the deals in question.
“He is actually the one who should be fired first. Lungu is like a hyena, which has been made shepherd. Regardless of the responsibility you give a hyena, it will never stop to pounce on the sheep. Not until we change the Sheppard, the sheep will continue to go missing,” said Chifire.