Governance activist Brebner Changala says President Edgar Lungu cannot fire arrested Infrastructure Development Minister Ronald Chitotela from his position because he is also a beneficiary of the corruption that the minister has been charged accused of.
And Changala has told President Lungu to keep Chitotela in his house if he does not want to lose him.
Changala told News Diggers in an interview that President Lungu was the grandmaster of corruption and that his public declaration that he could not relieve Chitotela of his duties merely on corruption allegation only confirmed his participation.
Last week, President Lungu said he was not going to fire Chitotela, who is also the ruling party’s Pambashe member of parliament, saying he was not willing to lose him.
“The real issue now which the people of Zambia must take into account and very seriously is that President Edgar Chagwa Lungu is equally a suspect now that he has refused to drop Chitotela. There is no way the wings of government that help you to govern a country in a more profound and accountable manner blacks out one of your men, one of your ministers as a suspect and places him under investigation and you refuse to deal with him. What he (President Lungu) was supposed to do if he was serious and he was doing his work on behalf of the people of Zambia and with the interest of the country at heart, was to suspend Bwana Ronald Chitotela so that the man can stay out of authority and does not interfere with the investigations that the ACC have now mounted,” Changala said.
“The same government suspended a very junior worker in Kalomo because they were going to investigate whatever he did at the hospital and he only went back to work when he was cleared. In this case, the President says he can’t surrender Chitotela. In fact, in his own words he says ‘I can’t lose Chitotela’. Yes he can’t lose him; he can keep him at his house but not in government offices, not at all. What the President is telling us is that he’s not running a Cabinet that serves the interest of the people of Zambia. I am getting worried that it looks like the President is running a syndicate. The only problem with this syndicate is that it’s on tax payer’s cost, it is at our cost.”
Changala insisted that Chitotela was a suspected criminal who should not be allowed anywhere near public office.
“The people of Zambia do not want Chitotela, he’s of no use, he’s a suspected criminal. You cannot allow a suspect to continue presiding on national issues so that he continues doing wrong things that he’s suspected of doing. But to protect yourselves as a syndicate, the President who seems to be the boss of this syndicate, he cannot let go of one of his own henchmen. President Edgar Lungu must realise this and the earlier he realises, good for him that he will be made to account one day. He has no muscle to protect himself once the veil of the Presidency is removed from him. He will suffer and suffer consequences. But my take right now as a citizen, President Edgar Lungu is equally a prime suspect in this matter and Anti-Corruption must look in that direction, they will find some smelly stuff.