By Gregory Chifire
Tuesday March 27th 2018
I have been following the recent debacle involving the medical evacuation for specialist treatment of Chishimba Kambwili.
In this debacle Chishimba Kambwili has turned down the offer by President Edgar Lungu but has caused public embarrassment to him.
In all this it appears that Lungu’s team has found a culprit- Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Emmanuel Mwamba.
Chief Government Spokesperson and Minister of Information Dora Siliya blamed Mwamba for the “rushed and zealous statement”.
She also stated that Mwamba should have let those back in Zambia to issue such a statement.
I don’t know the side of Mwamba on this matter yet.
This was followed by a statement from former state house spokesman George Chellah who called Mwamba’s “blunders” as unacceptable and advocated for Lungu to recall the larger-than-life-Diplomat to avoid “further embarrassment”.
First I was shocked by Dora Siliya’s strange statement as it is tradition that you cannot attack a member of your own government in public or have a public spat.
*Mwamba and his record in Pretoria.*
It would be folly to judge Mwamba by one incident.
In my view Mwamba has saved and served Lungu and the PF in many ways than no other would have during this period.
When Lungu locked up UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema for 126 days in Zambia’s horror prison, on trumped up treason charges, the local and foreign forces that came upon his government could not be contained.
We saw the strongest political activities against Lungu’s administration in South Africa.
We saw Gregg Mills of Brenthurst Foundation pen many articles against Lungu that were published all over the world.
We saw solidarity activities with South Africa’s largest public union, NUMSA picket the Zambian embassy.
We saw Opposition leaders Mmusi Maimane and Julius Malema speak against Lungu and demand Hichilema’s release.
Emmanuel Mwamba was always on SABC, ENCA and other media defending Lungu.
Mwamba was seen engaging the opposition leaders, and the union officials explaining government’s position on the matter.
Recently musician Pilato(Fumba Chama) sought refuge in South Africa and human rights international activists- Amnesty International were in Zambia’s case.
We saw Mwamba engage both Amnesty International and Pilato
We never saw similar defences or responses to Support or shore up government image in London, Newyork or anywhere else as we saw in Pretoria.
Besides all this, for me it’s Mwamba’s business and economic side of the Diplomacy we have seen from Pretoria.
We have seen numerous Investment and Business delegations to Zambia. He has held many well publicized investment forums in South Africa and Zambia.
And if you have been to South Africa, you will hear the good accolades by Zambians living in South about Mwamba.
Many have said including respected civil society leader Laura Miti, that Mwamba has been misplaced and should have probably been Minister of Information or something similar.
It is for this reason that when he makes what appears to be a blunder, he receives the strongest criticism not from outsiders, but from those inside who are blamed for Lungu’s current tattered political image.
To George Chellah, I think everyone knows your personal fights with Mwamba that date back to Sata’s days.
So the manner you jump at Mwamba’s issue just smacks of personal attacks; no matter how “well intentioned” your concerns are.
To President Edgar Lungu, the battles are many; Impeachment, Corruption allegations, rampant poverty, unemployment, lack of medicine in hospitals.. find a good team to handle these issues .