Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo was on Sunday forced to step in and help a young Zambian Actress to enable her travel to Nigeria for a film project after UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema failed to do so despite promising to help.
Tina Kaluza, a Solwezi based UPND member and upcoming Actress needed financial assistance to travel to Lagos, Nigeria to be part of a Major Nollywood production.
Tina said she approached Mr. Hichilema for financial assistance of K5,600 to enable her travel to Nigeria but the UPND leader only released K600.
According to Tina, Mr. Hichilema had promised to help her but that she was treated harshly when she made a follow up at Mr. Hichilema’s residence to see if he was going to give her more money than the K600 he had earlier given her.
“I was left disappointed by Mr. Hichilema, a man I had voted for in the last election. The way he shouted at me when I went to his house was rude. I ended up calling Mr Lusambo for help who has given me the K5,000 I needed for my ticket,” she said in an interview.
And Mr. Lusambo says he stepped in to help Tina because he believes that politics is a service to humanity.
“I was contacted late on Saturday by Tina, who has struggled with finances to enable her to travel to Nigeria. As a member of the UPND, Tina contacted Mr. Hichilema for a K5,600 required to enable her travel to Nigeria,” Mr. Lusambo said.
“Despite promising to assist Tina, Mr. Hichilema only released K600 on Tuesday at Radio Phoenix after featuring on Let the People. Since Tina was becoming desperate, she followed up her request with a visit to Mr. Hichilema’s residence on Friday where the UPND leader spoke to her through his car window as he drove out and flatly told her that the K600 she was given earlier was all he had to give her. She then reached out to me and we met at Mint Lounge Restaurant at Acacia Park where I handed over K5,000 to enable her travel to Nigeria.”
He added, “As a public servant, I believe I have a duty to be as responsive as possible to the needs of our people. Young people striving to use their talents ought to be supported and if we are to grow our creatives industry.”
“My message to the young people in Zambia is: be very careful with some of these so-called opposition political leaders because some of them are just political serial killers. They don’t mean well for this country as they demonstrated when they were given a chance to provide a service during the privatization process,” Mr. Lusambo added.
“How can a man who claims to be a millionaire in US dollars fail to help a member of his own party with a mere K5,600 despite promising to help the poor young lady?”
But UPND Spokesman Charles Kakoma said Mr. Hichilema is aware of the artist program in Nigeria.
In a statement, Mr. Kakoma said, “We have noted some audio from some artist going around that the UPND President Hakainde Hichilema refused to assist her in her trip to Nigeria. As citizens would expect, the UPND and Mr. Hichilema receive and handles lots of requests from different people with special needs almost on a daily basis.”
“During Mr. Hichilema’s radio Phoenix appearance, there were lots of people that came to offer him solidarity. Some came with various requests and were referred to relevant party offices as in the case of the artist who was referred to the UPND Chairperson for Information and Publicity who is me. It was actually I who assisted her with K600 as we went about verifying the genuineness and authenticity of her program in Nigeria.”
Mr. Kakoma added, “The party takes particular interest in screening all requests that we receive especially the ones to do with foreign travel because of the numerous internet scams where people have ended up stranded.”
“We have a particular case where we assisted a young man with an air ticket after he was offered a scholarship at a named university in West Africa but we ended up repatriating him back home because it turned out he was scammed.”