Former Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya on Thursday characterised Cornelius Mweetwa, the Chief Government Spokesperson as Chemical Ali for his skills of incorrectly disseminating information with intention in playing the government’s public relations role.

Dr Chilufya the Patriotic Front (PF) Mansa legislator on Thursday lightened up debate in Parliament on the 2024 budget for the Ministry of Information and Media when he jokingly called Mr Mweetwa as “Chemical Ali.”

Ali Hassan Majid al-Tikriti, nicknamed Chemical Ali was an Iraqi politician and military commander who served as Defence Minister during the 1991 Iraq War. He was dubbed
“Chemical Ali by Iraqis for his notorious use of chemical weapons in attacks against the Kurds.

“Chairperson (Moses Moyo), Chemical Ali…or is it Minister of disinformation…Information (Mr Mweetwa) has just cited my young brother from Munali constituency (Mike Mposha) as having derailed his presentation by lying to him that I received a text from honourable (Raphael) Nakacinda (PF secretary general) neglecting my capacity to debate,” Dr Chilufya said.

Earlier, Mr Mweetwa had said: “It caught my attention from Dr Chilufya who spoke at length on what he said were the wrong things happening which he associated with what he called shrinking democratic space …and he was reading from what I have just been informed by Mr Mposha (Minister of Water) that he was reading a text written to him by Mr (Raphael) Nakacinda (PF secretary general).”
Mr Mweetwa said the debate of Dr Chilufya was welcome as such debates are needed in a democracy like Zambia’s.

“There must be dissenting views, but some dissenting views are unfounded. But again those are some of the benefits of democracy…to tolerate views that may not be factual. But you must co-exist with them. Dr Chilufya, thank you for epitomising democracy in this House. This is how it should be,” Mr Mweetwa said.
He said the state of the media in any country reflected the state of democracy in that nation.

“In the two years of the new dawn administration, no media house has been closed. No journalist has been threatened, harassed, or told to leave a government function. All media houses are treated equally. The public broadcasters and media houses cover every citizen including politicians equally,” Mr Mweetwa said.

He said it was quite unprecedented to cover the opposition when they would speak off cuff and no one is worried that if the opposition speaks something divergent to the taste of those in government, you would get retired in national interest.

“Such is a state of our democracy…it is self-evident therefore that Zambia’s democratic space is widening. Today, each time the opposition is having a press briefing, they will be covered by the public media,” Mr Mweetwa said.

Daily Nation Zambia


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