It’s not all that PF did which is bad, follow the good things – Bowman
By Rhoda Nthara
FORMER Lusaka Province minister Bowman Lusambo says it’s not all that PF did which was bad, follow some good things.
He says had the government continued with the vaccine programme by 2025 or 2030, “this issue of Cholera would have not been here”.
“That was the approach that was taken. It was just started by PF but see where we are today. We are here today because the Ministry of Health had to abandon that strategy. If they had continued with vaccine and sensitisation by this time we would have not been here. Why being here? Because we knew that this Cholera is here and we have to handle it like this. I can assure you that by this time if we were in power, we would have not experienced cholera because we had a plan and our plan was working,” he said.
Featuring on Hot FM on Thursday, Lusambo said the UPND abandoned the cholera vaccination programme.
“That is the reason why we are here. If we had continued with that programme, our aim was that 2025/2030 this issue of cholera would have not been here. So we have gone back to square one. This is the matter of leadership and development. The matter of development is supposed to be continuity. It’s not supposed to be cut short at a certain point just because we have changed government, no!” he said. “It’s not all that PF did which is bad, follow the good things. Cholera is an issue to do with cleanness. I’m very shocked that we are even failing to control the cholera disease now because we have been in this game before. We experienced cholera with Dr Chilufya as a minister with former president Edgar Chagwa Lungu and we managed to contain cholera as PF.”
Lusambo said he expected local government minister Gary Nkambo and health minister Sylvia Masebo to consult.
“Let them consult the previous leaders. We are working for the people. This is not personal, it’s for Zambian. The way they are handling cholera that is not the way we are supposed to handle it,” he said. “First and for most we have this disease, as leaders how can we sit, plan and contain cholera? It’s very easy. The President is supposed to show leadership because he is the head of government. He is the person who was voted in by the people of Zambia, he’s supposed to show leadership. He is supposed to call his ministers because cholera is about multisectoral approach. It is not a disease for one person like minister or Ministry of Health. This is across the board. There’s councils involved, councils are the ones who are operating the markets out there. Councils operate the roads in our CBD (central business district). We have our police keeping our inmates in these cells.”
Lusambo said President Hakainde Hichilema is supposed to take the lead.
“We managed to contain this disease under the leadership of his excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu because the president called all of us the provincial administration, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence, all of us were called. We planned and the president came out with a strategy how to go about containing cholera in our country and we managed to contain this cholera,” he said.
Lusambo said under the new dawn there’s no coordination.
“I see my comrade, colleague, Minister of Local Government [Gary Nkombo] pulling this side, the Minister of Health she’s pulling this side. The Minister of Defence [Ambrose Lufuma] is pulling the other side. Just two days ago, I saw Minister of Defence going into the compound trying to contain cholera. That is not the way multisectoral operates,” he said.
He added that the issue of cholera is an issue of cleanliness.
“Former president Edgar Chagwa Lungu managed to bring out the Zambia Army, Zambia Air Force, ZNS to help out cleaning our CBD. Our CBD is filthy and we need to clean our CBD. From cleaning our CBD, we need to sensitise our people. We need sensitisation not by the minister informing the people to go to the village, no! That’s not sensitisation. Sensitisation is we go out there, we talk to the people. We give the correct information to the people. We did that and am shocked that there’s no awareness going on right now. There’s no awareness going on,” Lusambo explained. “Social media is supposed to be seeing Ministry of Health and Ministry of Local Government coming up with information to sensitise our people out there. We did that. We had information everywhere and my information minister, she was up to the game. Where is the Minister of Lusaka Province [Sheal Mulyata]? We are supposed to be seeing the minister or Lusaka Province by now visiting the compounds, visiting the bars, sensitising the people in the streets. We are not seeing that. We are the servants of the people, getting criticism is normal but the ultimate goal is the work getting done. We introduced the vaccine and the vaccine is not an automatic thing. It has to be in your body for one month for it to act according to that vaccine and remember President Hakainde Hichilema even got an award concerning cholera. It’s because of the multisectoral approach or plan which president Edgar Chagwa Lungu put in place and if we had followed that, we would have not been here. That man called Chitalu Chilufya, that guy was working 24/7. I worked with him closely not only on cholera but on pandemic as well.”
He said the plan was to put in place services which “our people needed”.
“The plan was there. If you go to the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, the plan was there to upgrade the sanitation in Kanyama. Upgrade sanitation in George compound and other compounds within Lusaka. We were supposed to come up with highrise flats in Misisi so that we can give our people a good life. We had better plans for these people. We had better plans for Zambia. So when we say we knew what we were doing, we mean it. So by this time we would have not experienced even a single case of cholera if PF government was in power,” he said.
He said losing one life is too much.
“Just one life is too much. 400 plus that is a disaster. That’s why we issued a statement advising government to declare cholera as a national disaster because of the number of deaths which we’ve experienced,” said Lusambo. “If we declare cholera as a national disaster, we will receive support from our cooperating partners, from private sectors, and many other well-wishers to help us to contain this disease of cholera in our country but the way we are going we know that we need help. Definitely we have no money. I know that we have no money. If we had money, we would have contained this disease. We would have managed to procure our own vaccine. We have been supported by our all-weather friend like China and we want to congratulate China for coming to our aid because the issue at hand as Government of the Republic of Zambia would have not managed. That’s why we want the President to declare cholera as a disaster so that we can access other funds and help the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Local Government to clean up Lusaka.