By Fulman Mukobeko
Patriotic Front(PF) Presidential Candidate Kelvin Fube Bwalya, popularly known as KBF says the dismissal of Dr Chilufya Chitalu as Health Minister was ill timed and politically motivated.
And Bwalya says President Edgar Lungu’s move to terminate the services of Dr Chitalu Chilufya is likely going to create a serious lift in the ruling party because no reason was given for his dismissal.
President Lungu fired Dr Chilufya and replaced him with a political light weight in Jonas Chanda amid the Honey Bee condom and gloves saga.
KBF is not pleased about the development and brands it as a ploy to take Dr Chilufya into political oblivion and the consequences for the party in Luapula Province are too ghastly to contaplate.
Appearing on Radio Christian Voice Chat Back programme, KBF said the President Lungu did not fire Chilufya because of his alleged involvement in the Honey Bee saga.
“I will be controversial…Well, I don’t believe my young brother, Honourable Dr Chitalu Chilufya was fired because of corruption. President Lungu has been very defensive about his ministers with regards corruption. He is one of most defensive President we have had. First, he declares that ‘yes there is corruption in my Government’. that he said and he mentioned that he will start firing Ministers involved in corruption. That he said but he has done nothing with regards corruption. He has not given a reason as to why he dropped Chitalu Chilufya. none of us know. But that is his prerogative. His prerogative is to appoint and disappoint. But if you tell me that he(Dr Chilufya) has been dropped because of the Honey Bee saga, I will not believe that,” he said.
Asked by the presenter to give his opinion as to why Dr Chilufya’s dismissal coincided with the Honey Bee saga, Mr Bwalya said, ” Maybe the opportunity presented itself because there was a backlash from the public. There was Public pressure. People started talking about the Honey Bee issues and the President was forced to fire Chitalu but it was not because of corruption.”
He challenged President Lungu to state how much the country lost in the Honey Bee deal, if corruption is a reason why he fired Dr Chilufya.
The Lusaka Lawyer said the dismissal of Dr Chilufya and lack of giving reasons have created a lift within the PF circles as shifting of camps is now imminent.
“…So for me, Chitalu Chilufya has been fired because of politics. This is a much bigger angle we can spend hours discussing…There is more than what the eye could meet in the dismissal of Dr Chilufya.”
He said for him, Dr Chilufya was supposed to be fired the time he was appearing in court for corruption and not now when the case of graft has not been built against him.
Mr Bwalya said amid pressure from the general public, President Lungu at the time defended Dr Chilufya and dared Zambians to provide evidence or wait for his conviction.
“Now, before he has the evidence and before Chitalu is accused(over the Honey Bee scam) the President moves in…Why?” the prominent lawyer wondered.
KBF, was however, quick to point out that President Lungu could have used his priviledged intelligence information to axe Dr Chilufya.
He however, insisted that the President’s failure to communicate the reasons for Dr Chilufya’s dismissal has created problems and speculations within the PF.
” Chitalu Chilufya comes from a region called the Northern Circuit in the party and by firing him, you pit the Eastern against the Northern Circuit… And when that begins to happen, you create a friction which is a problem,” KBF said.
He said as an election strategist, he finds it unreasonable for President Lungu to dismiss Dr Chilufya at a time Luapula Province has not held its provincial elections.
“…You go and fire a strong person and some Ministers have been fired from that province. David Mabumba was fired and that was a problem. My young brother Harry Kalaba resigned from that province and my sister Emelyn Kabanshi from that province, is attending court. Now, the people of Luapula will be saying, ‘what have we done? Yet we gave you 100 percent votes and this is your bedroom’. Politics don’t play well with the President in that regard because elections in Luapula have not been held. Whether we like it or not, there is a problem and I can see a backlash coming out of that. So, we have to be careful. As a strategist, I would have preferred that, if there was sacking that was to be done, it had to be done after the provincial elections because we don’t know what will happen in Luapula. From a strategic angle, looking at the numbers in Luapula, looking at the current voters’register, how many people will be saying that there is a problem with the President against Luapula? and if that shift to Northern Province and Muchinga, what will happen to the PF and these are provinces we call our bedroom. Let’s not be sleepy here. I am a realist and when I am analysing issues of strategic elections, I go full throttle, I look at a bigger picture. So, we cannot say anything against that because it is his prerogative but for me it was wrong. Unless he gives us a reason which will comfort the people of Luapula that ‘okay, maybe this is a reason, ” Mr Bwalya said.
By Fulman Mukobeko