UPND Vice President Geoffrey Mwamba says the arrest of Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister Ronald Chitotela by the Anti-Corruption Commission has nothing to do with the fight against corruption but is a fight against anyone ambitious enough to challenge President Edgar Lungu’s hold onto the Presidency.
Speaking at a media briefing this morning, Mr. Mwamba said Mr. Chitotela’s corrupt activities were well known and documented even at the time he was being appointed into cabinet in 2016 as he had earlier been fired by the late President Michael Sata for similar offences in 2013.
“Late President Michael Sata fired Chitotela from his ministerial position for corruption. Even at the time of re-appointment by Edgar Lungu, it was already a well-known fact that the man was corrupt and it beat any sensible reason as to why the man was appointed to such a sensitive ministry despite his background. We take it the administration stood to benefit from his corruption. But unfortunately, the man has become too ambitious to wanting to challenge his boss through Luapula United grouping hence falling out of favor of the appointing authority,” Mr. Mwamba said.
The UPND Vice President said the war within the Patriotic Front is becoming fierce with both Muchinga and Luapula provinces positioning themselves for either the Presidency or running mate for the 2021 election thus making Edgar and his associates jittery knowing that the two groupings were too powerful to be ignored.
“It is likely that the arrest on Chitotela was sanctioned and we expect more ambitious people especially in his cabinet to arrested on ‘corruption charges’. Luapula united is very serious on its ambitions and now those in Muchinga are also positioning themselves for the challenge under the Muchinga united front. Its war in there and Chitotela has been merely sacrificed for being too ambitious, just like NDC Consultant Chishimba Kambwili was investigated and questioned by ACC for being in possession of money believed to be proceeds of crime.” said Mr. Mwamba.
He said Edgar should know that Zambians hold the key to statehouse constitutionally and they are watching with keen interest and will not allow Edgar Lungu’s government beyond 2021 because of corruption which has led to poverty and hunger as experienced by majority of Zambians across the country.
“What I can tell the nation is that this arrest whether genuine or a mere public relations stunt aimed at giving credence to Chitotela’s eventual dismissal is long overdue because the whole country knows how corrupt the Infrastructure minister is coupled with his Presidential ambitions. PF thrives on corruption but his ending will be bad as it will be engineered from within the PF by the same corrupt elements he appointed into government”, Mr. Mwamba further said.
Mr. Chitotela 47, has been charged with two counts of concealing property suspected of being proceeds of crime contrary to section 71 (1) of the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act number 19 of 2010.
Mr. Mwamba said this is the same Chitotela who in 2013, was fired by late President Michael Chilufya Sata from his ministerial position together with his Mwansabombwe counterpart Rodgers Mwewa after the ACC launched corruption investigations against him.
Calls for President Lungu to fire Chitotela who has since been released on bond have intensified to allow for smooth investigations and prosecution of the matter.