STATE House has challenged opposition politician Elias Chipimo to “bluntly tell the nation if he desires a situation where politicians get away with crimes and corruption all in the name of tolerance of divergent views.”
President Sata’s special assistant for press and public relations George Chellah says Mr Chipimo should “wake up” to reality and take development and governance issues seriously.
In a terse statement issued yesterday, Mr Chellah challenged the National Restoration Party (NAREP) president to substantiate claims that the government is under performing.
On Thursday, Mr Chipimo accused the PF government of seeking political domination and approaching development haphazardly.
But Mr Chellah said Mr Chipimo’s shots at the PF government are not only wild but in total disregard of basic realities on the ground.
“Furthermore, he must pin-point where the PF Government has failed and provide alternative grounded options rather than spend time day-dreaming or theoretical sessions about what he wishes to happen,” Mr Chellah said.
He said Mr Chipimo’s failure to appreciate the practical and fundamental realities of governance will constantly make him appear as if he is occupying a parallel universe.
Mr Chellah said Government recognises the importance of the opposition but that they lack civility and sincerity when engaging Government on various issues.
“Let them realise that there is always a creative, truthful and moderate side to every argument no matter the scale of the subject,” Mr Chellah said.
“Lies, deceit, incitement and wayward utterances can only excite the media without providing concrete solutions to the needs of our people,” he said.
Mr Chellah advised the opposition to invest in sober and resourceful forms of engagement with government and that the PF administration is ready to dialogue with all well-meaning Zambians on matters of national importance.
“Let them [opposition] project themselves as real and mature alternatives in the governance of the country,” Mr Chellah said.
And Open Society Foundation executive director Sunday Chanda has advised politicians appearing before the courts not to tie their prosecutions to politics.
Mr Chanda also said it is wrong to blame the prosecutions on President Sata because “he was not there when the alleged offences were committed”.
“The accused must understand that investigative wings have nothing to do with any politics of the past or the future except to rid the nation of economic and financial crimes,” he said.
He advised the opposition leaders insinuating that the arrests of MMD president Nevers Mumba and former Minister of Information Ronnie Shikapwasha are politically-motivated to calm down.
“It could only have become political if the offences alleged to have been committed by the duo in their respective capacities were not punishable by law. This is not time to cry politics.
“There is no law that insulates politicians from arrests if a prima facie case exists. The arrests have not been made at the height of electoral campaigns where it can be suspected to be politically-motivated. The fight against corruption is not a respecter of person and this is in line with the rule of law that subjects all citizens before it,” Mr Chanda said.
He said this is not the first time politicians have been arrested.
Mr Chanda said when Dr Mumba served as republican vice-president and Lieutenant-General Shikapwasha was a senior Government official, late President Frederick Chiluba was appearing in court on corruption charges and neither Dr Mumba nor Gen Shikapwasha called the prosecution politically-motivated.
“When President Michael Sata was in the opposition, he was arrested and incarcerated on several occasions; neither Dr Mumba nor Hon Shikapwasha raised their voices to condemn arrests as being politically-motivated. So, what has become political about the duo’s arrests? There is no need to create political jamborees out of these arrests because they are not unprecedented,” Mr Chanda said.