HEALTH minister Chitalu Chilufya has requested President Edgar Lungu to have all Cabinet ministers tested for COVID-19.
This follows information minister Dora Siliya’s announcement on Saturday that she had tested positive to COVID-19.
According to sources at Ndeke House, the Ministry of Health headquarters, Dr Chilufya had requested for permission from the Head of State to have all ministers tested for the novel coronavirus.
On Sunday, State House rejected that idea.
“The man is stubborn. He thinks he controls the President. With this request, if the President were to allow it, it means all Cabinet ministers, provincial ministers and Cabinet Office personnel will have to undergo this unjustifiable test,” ministry sources said. “But look, even his running mate Dora Siliya who says she is positive, the person she lives with is negative. This Covid testing cannot be a matter of mandate unless one has symptoms or wishes to do so. But it looks like Dr Chilufya does not fear the boss. It looks like the President is now his puppet. He wants everyone to believe we’re in grave danger but only yesterday [Monday] there were 178 discharges. Even his running mate, Siliya, if at all she’s positive, within a week or so will revert to normal status. She’ll be fine. The way he handles himself, he seems to be clear in his mind that the President will respond by sanctioning his request to test all the ministers.”
Last Wednesday, President Lungu had a Cabinet meeting at Mulungushi International Conference Centre where everyone in attendance wore a face mask and maintained a social distancing of more than one metre.
“The President was alone on a podium. All ministers were spaced and masked in line with the new normal. In that meeting, Dora never opened her mouth – there was no contribution from her. During tea break, she didn’t participate,” the source said. “She only removed her mask during lunch and she sat with one provincial minister and another. Those are the only close contacts. Basically, there is no basis or justification to demand that all those who attended the last Cabinet be subjected to testing. This is part of State capture to paralyse everything and frustrate the impending arrest of ba Chilufya.”