By Walusungu Lundu
CHISHIMBA Kambwili says his move from the PF to NDC that eventually led to him joining the UPND alliance does not imply that he is a political prostitute.
But Kambwili argues that what is happening today “vindicates my decision to leave the UPND alliance. It is worse off than the PF”.
“Being in government is one thing but being in a wrong and underperforming government is another thing,” he stressed.
Kambwili, who during his tenure as NDC president was vocal against the PF government of Edgar Lungu to the extent of asking where God had gotten Lungu from, said despite his expulsion, he had always been PF at heart.
He charged that he never wanted to leave the PF adding that he even fought his expulsion in court.
Kambwili acknowledged that there were a lot of things that were done wrongly in the PF and that his rejoining of the party was aimed at helping correct the wrongs.
He said this when he appeared on Diamond TV’s “Costa” on Sunday programme.
“Excuse me Costa, to say that I jump from one party to another is misleading the people. I was expelled, I didn’t leave voluntarily. I said I will be the last man standing to leave PF. When they expelled me I even went to court to protect my position in PF and also to fight the expulsion.
So am not a person who jumps from here and there. Am one of the five people that founded the PF. And certainly, I said it and I want to say it that unless the expulsion that I suffered, I could not leave the PF. You see Costa, when you’re in politics, the interest that you must put is the people first and not individual’s interest.
There were so much mistakes that were made in PF when I was outside the PF,” Kambwili said. “The much talked about cadreism, corruption here and there, some people became arrogant, they could not listen to the views of the people and when people complained about certain things that were affecting them…In such an incidence you want to form an alliance to try and come together to fight that cause.”
He vowed that he wouldn’t behave like the past governments with regards to the rule of law.
“You know why I say it’s worse off? When you tell the people and you go through something, you wouldn’t want anybody to go through it. I for one would not behave the way past governments who have been detaining people unnecessarily and you know using the police for the cause because I went through it.
That is why it is worse because Hakainde Hichilema and I went through the same. Don’t think it’s correct for him to perpetuate the same things that were condemned,” Kambwili said. “When I was detained throughout the 12, 13 times that I was arrested, I was never kept in detention without being given bond for 11 days.
To the most I was detained for four days without being given bond. Today people are going up to 11 days, 14 days, that makes it worse. What transpired is water under the bridge, I don’t take things to the heart. But I would not want anybody to go through what I went through.”
Kambwili, the once considered ‘voice for the voiceless’ however charged that he believed in what he was voicing out against PF when he was leading the NDC.
He said the ruling UPND is worse than PF regime which the people hated for its “cruelty.”
Kambwili said it is very disheartening and disappointing to find that the lawlessness he and President Hichilema went through is exactly what was happening under the UPND government.
“I believed in what I was voicing out for when I was in an alliance. But I eventually stopped because I saw that where I was going was actually worse than where I was coming from.
And a reasonable person would rather go where it’s better than the worse situation that I found in the alliance. What is happening today vindicates my decision to leave the UPND alliance. It is worse off than the PF. Under PF, the price of sugar was K42. Today, the price of the same 2kg sugar is now K54. Under PF, the cost of fuel was K17 per litre today it is K21. Isn’t this worse off? People are being beaten…” he said. “My dear friend and colleague President Hakainde Hichilema suffered the same fate.
So it very disheartening and disappointing to find that what him and I went through is exactly what is happening today. There was a pronouncement by the President…His first speech actually after winning, it was done at his residence. He said when people are arrested, you should not arrest people before you investigate. But when someone is arrested, as long as the case is bailable give them police bond. Is this what is happening? You are not seeing what is happening in real terms.
My friend and colleague, Mr Davis Chama was arrested and detained for 11 days without being given bail or bond. Hon [Stephen] Kampyongo was arrested and detained for five days without being given bond. One of our cadres in Kasama was arrested for 14 days on a charge of assault and which assault happened in 2014 and was put behind bars for 14 days without being given bond.”
Asked if he qualifies to be PF president based on the party constitution that states that a person can only go for the top leadership position if he has been in the party for not less than five years, Kambwili, said the constitution does not exclude him from vying for the presidency.
He charged that late president Michael Sata saw the need for the party presidency to be insulated.
“The PF constitution does not exclude me from vying for the party presidency. Those that have been in the Patriotic Front for a long time understand the rationale behind article 52. That is why you heard …Moonga say Kambwili qualifies,” he said.
Kambwili claimed that he knew that if UPND won the August 12 elections last year of which is the case, the poor would suffer “the way they are suffering now.”
He charged that what happened to the fuel prices is purely capitalism because the current regime wants to make money.
Kambwili said he wouldn’t have wanted to be part of the UPND failures seen currently.
“Being in government is one thing but being in a wrong and underperforming government is another thing. I wouldn’t have wanted to be part of this failure that we are seeing today. The government which tells you one thing today and does the opposite,” he charged. “For instance, they were saying that PF were stealing on the fertiliser because they were buying the fertiliser from suppliers at $1,000 per tonne.
Today, they have given a contract to supply fertiliser to the government from a known businessman at $1,400 per tonne when they were saying that when we come we will make sure that we lower the cost from $1,000 to probably $700.”
Kambwili also reiterated that the PF “is sorry for its wrongs” and that it would do better if given a chance to run the affairs of the country again in 2026.
Meanwhile, Kambwili accused the media of being “too” scared of governments in power.
“Costa, Costa, the problem that you the media have is that you are so scared of the governments in power and I’m not here for you to ask me whether it has been proved or not.
It is a fact that Mr Jangulo [Maurice] has been given a contract to supply fertiliser at $1,400 per tonne when they were condemning PF…in the same period, they have given a contract to Nitrogen Chemicals [of Zambia] to supply at $1,000. Why should they give a parastatal to supply at $1,000?” asked Kambwili.