DEMOCRATIC Party president Harry Kalaba says President Edgar Lungu is battling a lot of fears “within him” because the political ground is now hot for him.
He says President Lungu has “annihilated” everything that late PF founder and fifth Republican president Michael Sata championed.
“…Lungu duped me – like he duped many Zambians – that he was humble and that he was going to listen to all his colleagues. He was playing his cards smart, not knowing that things will be hot in Zambia,” Kalaba said.
He said he foresees someone being arrested in future over the Presidential Empowerment Fund, an initiative of President Lungu.
Speaking on Prime TV’s ‘Oxygen of Democracy’ programme on Monday night, Kalaba said President Lungu had worked hard to undermine the peace of Zambia.
He observed that Zambia was more divided now than when Lungu took over the presidency in January 2015.
“The President is battling a lot of fears within him because he has seen now that the ground is hot for him,” Kalaba said.
“I want to thank God for those who are asking him to be a sole candidate in the PF. Let him be a sole candidate in the PF so that we can tell the Zambian people that there will be no third term. There will be no third term in this country! We’ll not allow a third term. He has gone ahead to acquire a third term and he wants to silence all of us! Unfortunately, it will not work – we are going to stand in his way.”
He said the President’s powers were not absolute.
“The President’s authority is always in check. But unfortunately for our President now, maybe he has been misled into thinking that he’s got all the powers. He doesn’t have! He remains a citizen of this country bound by the laws that we have in this country. Whatever he is doing, when he leaves, it will follow him,” Kalaba said.
The opposition leader noted that President Lungu’s attendance of president Sata’s fifth memorial service last Monday was mere mockery.
He said when he recently saw senior PF officials at the memorial service in Lusaka, he told himself that they were remembering: “a man that they have betrayed heavily.”
“They have totally moved away from what he was pursuing – they are pursuing their own things. When people want to pretend that they love Michael Sata, a man that they have completely managed to annihilate what he stood for, it is totally sad. Sata loved the poor [but] today Zambian entrepreneurs are languishing. Everything that Mr Sata stood for has been obliterated and sadly so,” Kalaba lamented.
“Mr Lungu has obliterated everything that Mr Sata stood for. So, even for him to go there [memorial service]…. That’s why maybe he didn’t even go to the graveyard to put flowers. He doesn’t go to put flowers there; he only ends up at church and goes back to his home.”
He said he did not know the reason the President was averse to laying wreathes on Sata’s grave.
“He doesn’t want to put flowers at Mr Sata’s resting place. Maybe he knows that he has betrayed the man and it is true. President Lungu does not believe in what Michael Sata stood for!” Kalaba stressed.
He further said President Lungu: “duped me – like he duped many Zambians – that he was humble and that he was going to listen to all his colleagues.”
“He was playing his cards smart, not knowing that things will be hot in Zambia. Things are hot now in Zambia! When I realised that Sata’s vision was being betrayed, I said I cannot be part of this,” Kalaba said.
On the implementation of the Presidential Empowerment Fund (PEF), Kalaba, a former foreign affairs minister, said somebody in future might be arrested.
He said the government had an expenditure trail.
“I have been in the civil service for 10 years and I know how government money works,” Kalaba said.
“The beneficiaries of those monies (PEF) are PF cadres. They will go to the market and say ‘are you going to vote for Mr Edgar Lungu’ and give out money to PF cadres. That money is being dispensed in a partisan way. So we’ll see where that Fund will end. But it is regrettable that it’s being disbursed in such fashion. Mr President, when you have a presidential fund, let it be inclusive.”
On the topical issue of an impending mining project in the Lower Zambezi National Park, where his name has been mentioned, Kalaba explained that there was a lot of ignorance around the matter.
He added that many people were adding their voice on the matter only because: “others are speaking.”
“But I can tell you that if people can read what I read, be privy to the information that is on the ground…. They should be careful because there are several stakeholders involved in this Lower Zambezi. It’s not just the environmentalists,” Kalaba said.
“President Lungu went into the Lower Zambezi and assured the chiefs that mining in the Lower Zambezi will go on. It’s on record! Have you heard him comment on this issue? We are waiting for him to comment! He (President Lungu) was Minister of Defence – he went there.”
Kalaba, however, indicated that it was difficult for him to: “speak about my elder brother Mr Hakainde Hichilema and his role in the Lower Zambezi.”
“But what I can confirm to you is that even when I was Minister [of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection], his name never appeared in any of those documents I was reading. Truth be told, I never saw his name anywhere! I’m just reading it [now] in the press; maybe they have information I don’t have,” he explained.
Over the police teargassing of the DP vision launch in Samfya on Saturday, Kalaba reiterated that: “the truth of the matter is that the President himself, because he has become so insecure, called Luapula Province commissioner of police Elias Chushi and said ‘this rally will not take off.’”
“They fired teargas because President Lungu told them to do that. I’m supremely confident because my intelligence told me that he (President Lungu) called Chushi directly and told him ‘nge ifyo naumfwa (what about this I’m hearing?) Can you cancel it!’” said Kalaba.
“We’ll go back [to Samfya] and have that rally because this country is for everybody. PF cannot be the referee in this game; it is also an interested party. PF is finished!”