(By Oliver Chisenga and Mwaka Ndawa)
WE have a President who is every arrogant, uncompromising, and has forgotten that it’s the Church that helped him to be what he is, says Chishimba Kambwili. Addressing journalists at Lusaka Magistrates’ Court Kambwili said President Edgar Lungu was hurt because bishops, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia and the Council of Churches in Zambia refused to attend the NDF.
President Lungu said at Christ the King International Church in Ndola’s Nkwazi township on Sunday that he was not ashamed to challenge the clergy that feel holier than others.
President Lungu said having a big cathedral or a synagogue does not make some churches bigger than others.
“I have been touched by the sermon this morning that we should worship God in truth and spirit. I will challenge the Zambian church, I am saying this because on 1st May 2019, during Labour Day celebration, as we were talking to each other with some labour leaders, one leader said the Church was not at the National Dialogue Forum, and I said which church? This is because some people think they are the church. The church is all of us who are believers in Christ,” President Lungu said.
“So those who think, those who want to talk to us because they are the church, we are in church here now, those gathered; one, two, three and four and ‘calling upon my name’ that is a church. I challenge those who think because they have ultra modern buildings, synagogues and cathedrals and believe they are the Church, they cannot be the Church, the church is all of us as a community.”
President Lungu said people should stop thinking holier than others.
“So let us stop feeling holier than others because you are in Kabushi, no! Even in Senior, Nkwazi you are the Church. I challenge those of the clergy who think are holier than others, let us all worship in truth and spirit.”
He said those that were angry with him should take him on. But Kambwili said President Lungu’s insults and castigating the church clearly showed he had forgotten that it was the church that helped him become Head of State.
He said that God’s grace had been taken away from President Lungu owing to his pretence.
“Leadership is not by might or by strength, it’s by grace and when God removes the grace from you, no matter what you are going to do, the grace would have been moved away from you, this is what has happened to Lungu. Look, he goes to church and starts insulting the Catholic Church and other big churches that ‘if you are upset, take me on, it’s not by synagogues’ but we know that he was referring to the Catholic Church because bishops, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia and the Christian Council of Zambia (now Council of Churches in Zambia) refused to go to the NDF and it has hurt him because what they wanted to do was to manipulate the constitution. But I can tell you that our hope is in our MP and UPND MPs not to allow that constitution to see the light of day,” he said.
Kambwili maintained that God was punishing Zambia going by the so many misfortunes among them exchange rate which had gone crazy.
He said God was bringing calamities on President Lungu and the country and urged the Head of State to resign before the Zambians die of hunger.
“So this idea of insulting everybody, castigating the church…Lungu has forgotten that when there was commotion in PF in 2015, when Mr Sata died, it’s the church that helped him to be what he is. There was no ‘small churches’, it was the Catholic Church that helped him to become President, he has forgotten…that’s why we say power is sweet but it must be checked. We have a President who is every arrogant, a President who is very uncompromising, a President who only thinks of his pocket,” he said. “I have told you and I want to say it again when we were campaigning in 2011, President Lungu had a RAV 4, nga kalefuma uku, kumwenafye kuchushi kwati smelta ileisa (if it is coming this direction, you notice it by the smoke it was producing; it was like a smelter was coming your way) but today the man is the richest in Zambia. I have told him straight that tell us where you have gotten the money because the goodness of this constitution is that when you are President, you declare what you do and President Lungu only declared that he was just a President and he doesn’t do any other business but the three years he has been in power, he has become so rich and powerful that his political advisor can beat people at will…
“Look at the exchange rate, the pound is now K18, one pound to K18. Lesa nga afulwa talekufwaya, he brings calamities on you. My dear brother President Lungu, resign before the people of Zambia die of hunger, Lesa alikufulilwa filyafine ucita waiba elo waya mu (God is annoyed with you when you steal and you go to) church ati I am a man of God,” Kambwili said.
Meanwhile, Kambwili said what happened to him in Chipata where police stopped him addressing a rally and blocked radio stations from hosting him was a case of a scared government.
“You only get scared, as a government, if you are not doing the right thing. Those who work hard don’t fear competition. When people are scared of competition, just know that they have failed. If you know that you are a hard working person, you would even want somebody who is harder working to challenge you so that you can improve on the status quo. But when you are not hardworking, you are always scared of your shadow. They employ somebody at your company and he has superior qualification than you then you become more jittery and always find fault in him until he is fired, that’s a scared boss and really what happened in Chipata is a case of a scared government,” Kambwili said.
The NDC president said the PF were scared of him because his message was centred on stating the “bitter truth” regarding the current governance system.
“They are scared, they don’t want Chishimba Kambwili to speak to the people and they know that once I talk to people, I will tell them the truth than what they are being told on ZNBC because ZNBC has been rolled out to all parts of the country but it’s full of nothing but deceit…. ZNBC, the Daily Nation are what can be referred to as image builders for the PF but they are failures. Where I come from they say ifilala fyamunda yanama, you can cheat people to some extent but you cannot cheat them always.”
Kambwili further said he was not worried about the PF schemes to prevent him from addressing Zambians as there were many ways of doing so. He added that even the police’s frantic efforts to drive him out of Chipata were enough news for the residents of the boarder town as witnessed by the thunderous welcome and reception accorded to him. Kambwili, however, said PF’s misconduct would soon come to an end.
“You saw how we were welcomed in Chipata; thunderous welcome. So as far as I am concerned we did our work because the people of Chipata welcomed us even if we didn’t speak to them. We plan go back there. Even when we wanted to go to the radio, they cordoned all the radio stations but ukucenjela kwa nkoko pungwa tasakamana (the eagle is not bothered by a chicken’s intelligence); I can fly into Chipata even tomorrow quietly and speak on the radio and by the time they realise, I am on the next flight back to Lusaka. So there are many ways of skinning a rat like I said and we are not worried about PF misconduct, it will come to an end,” said Kambwili.
Earlier in court, the Electoral Commission of Zambia has asked the Constitutional Court to dismiss the matter in which Chishimba Kambwili is challenging Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini’s decision to nullify his Roan parliament seat for lack of merit. According to a witness statement filed by ECZ voter registration manager Emma Mwiinga, the electoral body acted within the provisions of the law when it called for a by-election in Roan Constituency. Mwiinga stated that on February 27, 2019, Dr Matibini had notified the Electoral Commission of Zambia that the Roan Constituency seat had become vacant after Kambwili crossed the floor when he pronounced that he was the NDC leader whilst he was still a PF member of parliament for Roan.
She said following the notification of the vacancy, a by-election was supposed to be held within 90 days.
“The election dates for Roan Constituency National Assembly by-election were set and published in the Government Gazette with 14th March 2019 set as the date for nominations and 11th April 2019 set as date for taking polls,” Mwiinga explained.
She told the court that ECZ acted within the provisions of the law when it conducted the by-election according to its mandate. The electoral body argued that it did not violate the law as claimed by Kambwili, therefore, the court should dismiss his petition with costs. In this matter, Kambwili wants the court to declare that the decision by Speaker Matibini to declare his seat vacant does not conform to the provision of Article 72 (2) of the Laws of Zambia and as such was not only undemocratic but also illegal, unreasonable, procedurally improper and unconstitutional.