Sports Minister Kangwa Chileshe has been accused of blasting some Zambian athletes whom he believed leaked the information about the lack of allowances.
Over the weekend, Lusaka Times exclusively revealed that their was turmoil and morale was low in the Zambian camp at the Commonwealth Games after government failed to pay allowances to the athletes their allowances for over three weeks.
It was also revealed that Zambian officials who have accompanied the team to Birmingham for the Games were entitled to US$350 per dollar while athletes were supposed to receive $50 dollars a day.
So far, Team Zambia, a contingent of 41 athletes has only managed to mint three medals with Muzala Samukonga (Gold), Steven Zimba (Silver) and Patrick Chinyemba (Bronze).
The dismal performance of Team Zambia has been attributed to the low morale that has been caused by the failure by the Ministry of Sports to pay the athletes
Swimmer Tilka Paljk released details of Mr. Chileshe’s meeting with Team Zambia after information was leaked about the situation in the camp.
Below is Tilka’s statement
My fellow Zambians. As many of you are aware, over the past few weeks I have been representing the nation at the Commonwealth Games in the United Kingdom. During the course of the Games I have been honoured to have competed alongside the best and brightest althetes from Zambia.
On Saturday the 6th we were joined at the Commonwealth games by Mr Kangwa Chileshe, the permanent secretary to the ministry of sport. He called the athletes to meet with him outside the village for a talk.
The purpose of this talk was for Mr Chileshe to voice his displeasure with the recent behaviour of certain athletes who had been posting on social media about not having been paid their allowances, despite many of the team already having been at the Games for several weeks.
He then stated that the altheltes should feel honoured to be chosen to be at the games because there are thousands of other people in Zambia that are just as good as they are and that we must realise that we are not special and we can be replaced.
He went on to say that the only reason why we want the money is to go shopping and we must concentrate on our sport rather than worrying about money, we should be grateful that we have a place to sleep, water to drink and food to eat.
The comments made by Mr Chileshe deeply upset many of the altheltes present and represented a stark level of ignorance and disrespect.
They forget that many of the athletes on the team have taken unpaid leave from their jobs to represent their country. Some athletes have families that rely on them to provide money for food and pay bills. Even worse there were some athletes in the village that couldn’t even afford to buy bathing soap and other athletes had to help out.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, the ministry and the people within it need to realise that we are the reason they have a job and we are the reason why they are at the Games with us. We are the ones that have dedicated our lives to our sport and worked tirelessly to qualify in order to represent Zambia on the global stage.
To summon us and tell us off like children and disrespect us like that was beyond anything I have ever experienced.
He looked at some of our leading sprinters and said that there are thousands of people that can run as fast as them in Zambia, so they must not feel special. He said there are thousands of people in Zambia that can swim as fast as me.
The Government’s role is to provide their athletes with everything we need, in and out of competition. To motivate their athletes and encourage them, instead of shoving “bring back medals” down our throats. The government’s position is to support the athletes and make sure that the media does not demoralise and unfairly criticise the athletes in headlines such as “Rhoda fails to qualify for finals” instead of “Rhoda finishes 4ths in her semi final with a personal best”
It’s things like this that the government needs to do to take care of their athletes if they really do want us to win medals. Many of us on the team lost moral after that talk.
I honestly can’t believe that we have someone like Mr Chileshe as our ministry representative, mistreating and talking down to athletes. We as athletes are tired. I’m tired. I’ve been representing Zambia since I was 11 years old, I’ve dedicated my life to swimming and representing my country, to be told that I am replaceable. I am hurt and I’m beat down.
Following the meeting on Saturday the 6th, I have contacted the national Olympic Committee to inform them of Mr Chileshe’s comments. Unfortunately, I have not received any feedback or indication of an apology.
I’ve dedicated most of my life to my sport and am proud to represent Zambia on the global stage. I hope that the people of Zambia are also proud of the World Class athletes who put in the thousands of hours of training in order to wear the Zambian colours.
I feel ashamed that our elected officials are treating this passion and dedication with such distain and ignorance. It is the people of Zambia who decide our Governent officials and we hold the power. Us athletes do not believe this is the message that the people of Zambian want to be telling their athletes. It is for this reason, I have decided to share the facts with the people and allow Zambia to voice its own opinion.
We are the best in the country. We are the best on the continent. We are not greedy. We are not complacent. We are not replaceable. We are proud to represent Zambia.
But most importantly, we are human.
Why freedom of speech is protected in a democracy is to ensure that leaks can happen and nothing can be hidden by authoritarian individuals like Kangwa Chileshe. All those in government need to know this. Transparency is part of a democracy because it helps in the fight against ills such as corruption, tinpot dictatorship and lots of other ills associated with power. Politicians should learn to live with free flow of information even by leakages.
Iam with Tilka and all the atheletes. This Chileshe guy should be in Adolf Hitler’s cabinet-not in a democracy. The atheletes and not minors to be talked down to. They need to be motivated by a humble political leadership. Stop behaving like you are a headmaster. Government rarely supports sport in Zambia. It only supposrts Chipolopolo because it can see a constituency for elections at Heroes Stadium.Ba Chileshe go and read up on democracy no buntungwa. Stop bullying adults who have sacrificed for the nation
Imwe ba LT Finshi mulwisha kanshi. Stop moderationg me. Are you Chileshe’s relatives or are you agreeing with his foolish actions?
“there are thousands of people that can run as fast as them in Zambia, so they must not feel special.??????” Where are they?
Tilka is perfectly right. What a shame, I wish the so called authorities can pick one or two things in her statement. This is embarrassing. Those people are representing the nation and we should be proud of them instead of telling them those disrespectful words. They didn’t go to represent Zambia out of favourism but on merit and we should be proud of them. We’re with you all you sports men and women out there regardless of the situation, we respect you and we’re proud of you!
WHY SHOULD THEY NOT REPORT THEIR LACK OF ALLOWANCES AND SHOW UP THE FAILINGS OF THE MINISTRY
WELDONE TO THEM
This man still thinks he is acting…… Open your eyes. This a real world and not a theatre of movies.
By the way what are these games for? Celebrating slavery under the British I suppose? The whole so-called Commonwealth is just a sham.
I do not agree that we need to still be in the Commonwealth, for all intents and purposes, it is remembrance (perhaps celebration) of being colonized.
However, this should be a topic for another conversation. She raises valid points, and the PS’s actions are stupid to say the least.
Chiza, I avoided to discuss the PS because I know how childish he’s
I think the swimmer had issues with the money and GRZ. At times, it’s better to be yourself than pretend to be “ba some of us”. This is not the first time Zambia has sent a group to Commonwealth Games! Don’t boss your way as “Mr know it all”. It’s a pity that we had this issue coming out in a foreign country! The Shepolopolo are good at discipline! They suffered in the past but now GRZ has recognised their plight and have been rewarded. They didn’t go on an anthill to call on GRZ to pay them!
Big Man Syndrome, BMS by Kangwa Chileshe. What a disappointing and annoying behavior by the PS. “You are nothing, you should be grateful to be here, there are others out there who want what you have. Thousands back home don’t have this opportunity but they are better than you, keep quiet, don’t complain”.
I am so angry at this. This PS lost several elections before he lands on this PS job he doesn’t qualify for and is all of a sudden this arrogant.
I am angry.
this man is he not a pastor? what a let down but no matter the amount of words the pastor is protected he knows that is the reason he took that stance to blast at the athletes like that, if the are a million zambians who can ran, swim, etc same with him they are millions of zambians who can do his job better than him.
You have issues. This Athlete is being brave to expose incompetence and you are busy attacking her. ? Shame…your poverty mentality will not take you anywhere. Its simple they were entitled to an allowance and your PS and his Ministry did not pay. How did the PS survive during his stay ? He was given his money in Full what about the Athletes who actually made him to travel to the UK? Educated MORON!!!
This iis what happens when cadres like KC are appointed to civil service positions such as PS, they think they work for the President and everyone is indebted to them. What was he even doing in the UK if not partying with the young girls…why should they not get paid their allowances they need to shop and also buy equipment which is rare in Zambia.. HH7 needs to drop this boy fast and appoint a seasoned civil servant in that position.
Zambian atheletes are always at the mercy of these vultures during olympics we have that moron Elias who hass outlived his usefulness and now during commonwealth we have this small appointee boy. The govt needs to create a trust funded by the lottery to look into the affairs of athletes ….mens footballers have been underperforming for years no one dares to talk down on them now this arrogant KC comes along and start spewing nonsense.
You f00I after you campaigned and persuaded gullible Zambians to vote for your useless party upnd, today you are even here saying kneeyo
Isn’t this the hungry actor who once begged me for money to pay his rent some years back with ripped open shoes . Now in less than a year he is acting like he some sort of god. These are the f00Is your hh is employing. Disrespectful clueless little boy. Why is he even there? Is he a coach? He is busy effing around in uk doing nothing. These are people I beat
In my youth days these are the occasions where i used to incite walkouts.
Walks where at the games? Really laughable
kkkkkkkk very shameful to the authority very bad indeed can action be taken please,problem it is taking to long to act but when it comes to ……………..DEC,ACC very fast kkkkkkkkkk
They did not need to be blasted but encouraged. They were not at the games by chance but competitively earned their places as could be shown from some collected medals. Am proud of them.
I think it was so brave of you Tilka, you’ve brought valid points to light and in Zambia its as though its not allowed to make mention when you feel oppressed , Listen the money they needed was for up keep really any person would have need that money. He instead should have at least just apologized (etiquette/professionalism) for the delay and encouraged the team and promised all issues will be resolved soon. (Basic Leadership skills).that was a sports camp not a millitary camp huge difference there…So Tilka did nothing wrong, id have done the same, people put in lots of hours in training to become the best, these sports men and women found themselves that side because they proved that they are the best here in Zambia you dont just magically represent a nation at sports you send the…
He is now all over the place attempting damage control. Why is the new dawn government not appointing people who are well versed in sports in these positions? Someone who knows exactly what sacrifices these noble men and women make.
@New Dawn, please do not disappoint us…make amends asap…
Why has it take a foreigner to voice out? PS position should a career job not cadres Chileshe you fired go and resurrect in zuba
@Shooters. She is 100% Zambian and contributing more than most of us watching from our armchairs. You should be ashamed for making such statements. One Zambia, One Nation.
There are all indications that Jason Kabanana might end up in prison soon. Has he collected the refund for the money he paid for the plane that never showed up? We are counting
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