PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says he did not reconcile with National Democratic Congress (NDC) leader Chishimba Kambwili because there was nothing to reconcile about in the first place. He said this when he addressed over 200 journalists at State House yesterday in what was his first media conference in over two years.
On October 28, during a memorial for former President Michael Sata at St Ignatius Catholic Church in Lusaka, President Lungu and Mr Kambwili were called to the front by the parish priest, Charles Chilinda, who made them shake hands, a gesture which was widely interpreted as reconciliation between the two leaders.
Mr Kambwili, who left the Patriotic Front in 2016 and formed his own political party – the NDC – has been a strong critic of President Lungu and his Government. But President Lungu said he had nothing against Mr Kambwili to warrant reconciliation between them. “What happened is that I went to church to remember my late president [Michael Sata]; I didn’t even know that Mr Chishimba Kambwili could be in the crowd, and the priest called me and we shook hands,” he said.
President Lungu said he had never differed with Mr Kambwili for him to reconcile with him. He said he has nothing against Mr Kambwili “save he has offended members of my family by calling me a thief, corrupt person and a drug dealer”. President Lungu explained that after the memorial, the priest called both leaders to his office, where they talked. He said when he met Mr Kambwili in the back office, he asked him to prove his allegations of corruption and drug dealing against him by providing evidence.
“‘If I were a private person, I would have sued you,” those were my words,” Mr Lungu said. The President also revealed that Mr Kambwili, during that meeting, complained that his business and family have suffered. But the head of State said he told Mr Kambwili that it was his own mouth which was affecting his business.
“I went further and said your mouth is so negative that the people who want to work with you fear you,” he said. The head of State said he would not want Mr Kambwili to suffer a blackout in his business. President Lungu said reconciliation is a matter of the heart, adding that those who wanted to reconcile with him have done so by apologising publicly and asking for forgiveness.
He gave an example of Geoffrey Mwamba, popularly known as GBM, who he said reconciled with him and the party truthfully because he apologised publicly. President Lungu said Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa also publicly reconciled with him and rejoined the Patriotic Front.