I appreciate the fact that President Edgar Lungu has realised that people just framed me, but I’ll never take an offer to go back to PF because of what he did to me, NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili has vowed.
In an interview, Kambwili wondered who lied to President Lungu that he was vulgar to Anti-Corruption Commission investigators, when he was never interviewed while in government, until after a year following his dismissal.
Meanwhile, Kambwili has thanked God that he was removed from government, saying as Chief Government Spokesperson, he would have been defending wrong things.
Reacting to President Lungu’s praise on him last week, and the refusal to fire Ronald Chitotela, Kambwili said keeping the arrested minister in Cabinet was proof that the Head of State and the Infrastructure Development Minister were stealing together.
“So you want to protect people who even the kids know that these people have soiled hands and fire the innocent people who had only mere allegations. My dismissal in government is water under the bridge and I have forgotten about it. I have moved on. If Lungu fired me for no reason, it will haunt him. But I appreciate the fact that he has realised that people just framed me. The best President Lungu can do is to fire Chitotela. If the court proves him innocent, then they can reappoint him,” Kambwili said.
“But I think for now, it is a de-service to the nation. It is actually killing the whole fight against corruption that you can dismiss others on mere allegation and keep others who have even been arrested by law enforcement agencies. At the time I was fired, I was not even questioned by the Anti-Corruption [Commission], not even one day. I even tend to wonder who lied to President Edgar Lungu that I was not being corporative to the Law Enforcement Agencies particularly the Anti-Corruption. You and I know that I was questioned one year two months after I left office, that was when the Anti-Corruption called me. There had never been a time when I was in office that the Anti-Corruption came to investigate me on matters of corruption. It’s unfortunate that President Lungu is calling me that I am vaguer based on lies because I was never interviewed by the Anti-Corruption. And I think integrity tells that you treat people fairly and equally. This is not animal farm where Kabanshi can be fired on mere allegations, where Kambwili can be fired on mere allegations but Chitotela not fired even after he has been arrested and charged by the Anti Corruption Commission.”
Kambwili charged that keeping Chitotela in Cabinet was a sign that President Lungu and the minister were both thieves.
“It all goes to tell that Chitotela and President Edgar Lungu are all birds of the same feathers, they flock together. It is straight forward and you want to use my name to justify a wrong. In fact the integrity of government all over the world is that immediately there is just an allegation, an individual minister must just resign but in this matter the minister is even arrested by the Anti-Corruption [and] then the president says ‘I cannot fire him,’ it is clear that they steal together. There are many issues against Chitotela, we want to know who bought the guest house from Mr Maybin Mubanga at K600, 000 cash in Mbeleshi? We want to know who owns 40 Volvo trucks that are operating under the name of Swift or that have been concealed in the company called Swift which is run by Mr Mulubwa? there is an allegation that those trucks belong to Chitotela so can we have a clearance. And local people are saying that even his employees, the people who used to work for that company were saying the person who used to pay their salaries is Chitotela. Are you telling me that the Anti-Corruption does not know about these things? We want Mr Mulubwa to come out clean otherwise he risks being put in mud when he has been in business for too long,” he said.
Asked if he would consider working with President Lungu if he was offered a position again, Kambwili said it was too late because he had moved on.
“Once water is spilled, you cannot collect it. I have moved on. I have been treated very badly. Look how I was treated when I was sick, being put in custody, admitted in hospital, being guarded by the police as if I was a common criminal, my passport has been grabbed by the government, my businesses have been closed. Surely what is there to go back to PF for? What is there to go back to President Lungu for. I have said it and I want to say it again [that] I have nothing against the PF because we started the PF, we started the PF and yet other people are now making money out of the PF that we suffered to make, but for President Lungu particularly, I have every problem because he has never come to me to say ‘my brother I am sorry, I was misled.’ He never called me, he has never spoken to me, he has never approached me,” Kambwili explained.
He said if president Lungu really regretted losing him as minister, the best he could have done was to phone him and apologise.
“So how could I think of responding to a question as to where I would consider working with President Lungu or not? A person who cannot apologise to you or who cannot approach you and say ‘I think my brother this thing was done in bad faith without due consideration’ [how] do you even think of going to work with such a person? He knows my phone numbers, he can phone me and say ‘look my brother, I think I was misled’ but there was never such a thing. So what he was speaking here was merely to defend Chitotela, I don’t think it was meant for me because if it was meant for me, he could have told me. So I am not happy that my name was used in that manner,” Kambwili said.
Meanwhile, Kambwili thanked God that he was out of a corrupt regime.
“I forgave him a long time ago. I only pray for him that ‘forgive him father for he knows not what he does.’ I have no hard feelings against him. Maybe God took me out because I was chief Government Spokesperson, I may have been defending the wrong things but God said no, get out of this spot so that your name is preserved. So the question of going back to work with President Edgar Lungu is neither here nor there,” Kambwili said.
And Kambwili said the country’s integrity would be messed up if government decided to send Chitotela to represent Zambia at high level meetings abroad.
“Chitotela must be fired or he must resign on moral ground himself. There is no way that the international community donors will take us seriously like Kabimba said ‘there is an IMF meeting and you send Chitotela as part of the delegation’ do you think the IMF will look at you as normal people? because the whole world knows that a minister in Zambia has been arrested by the Anti Corruption Commission for corruption. And you know what the International Community does, I have been minister before, if I am going to the African Union for a meeting, the host of the meeting will google me, they will collect as much information about me. When you arrive they will tell you who you are, what you have done and everything. So immediately names are submitted that these are the people that are representing Zambia, they will google Chitotela and then all they will be finding [is that] he was arrested for corruption [and] immediately you go for that meeting, whatever you ask for will not be given because people will not take you serious,” said Kambwili.