Following the brouhaha that has come after President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s remarks at the PF fundraising dinner in Kitwe, i feel compelled to set the record straight as someone who attended the event and closely followed President Lungu’s address at the fundraiser.
From the onset, i wish to categorically state that the remark “Uubomba Mwibala Alya Mwibala” was clearly taken out of context by those that wish to distort the true essence of President Lungu’s statement. This is a clear case of misinterpretation.
I sat through and listened attentively as President Lungu addressed an audience comprising mainly PF members and the business community aligned to the party.
For those that were not in attendance, i wish to inform you that President Lungu’s statement came after the party Chairman comrade Stephen Kainga had spoken who informed the Head of State that the party on the Copperbelt is targeting to raise K10 million (around US$1 million) towards the construction of the first ever PF Provincial Convention.
When his time to address the audience arrived, as per tradition, President Lungu needed to respond to some of the issues raised by the Chairman who had spoken earlier. The President was clear when he cautioned the party in the province that the target they had set for themselves was high but that with commitment it could be achieved. President Lungu fervently stated that the parry does not have that kind of money but that the money was in the hands of hands (including those gathered there) and he pointed at the business men and women in the audience.
The Head of State was clear on this point stressing that “we came without money and we shall leave without money.”
He also warned that his administration will not tolerate theft of public funds after he received information during his tour of the province that three boreholes had gone missing.
Addressing the specific issue of raising the funds, President Lungu further cautioned those that will be charged with the process of managing the funds for the construction of the Convention Centre that they should cater for a 10 percent provision for management fees and logistics such as fuel and other incidentals as they manage the project because without those logistical considerations, there is a risk that project implementation could stall.
It was at this point that President Lungu referred to the Bemba idiom that since “Uubomba Mwibala Alya Mwibala”, those working to ensure the construction of the PF Convention Centre is undertaken smoothly should provide for their immediate needs but they should not eat the seeds (imbuto).
It is therefore appalling that some people have chosen to twist the entire meaning of that statement without bearing in mind the context in which President Lungu used it. Anyone with a fair understanding of the Bemba language will understand that this rich language has several idioms or sayings that can mean many things depending on the context in which they are used.
President Lungu was in no way referring to stealing public funds because he was not addressing public workers. He was talking to PF members and sympathisers addressing a specific matter of raising funds for a party project.
How someone chooses to twist the entire statement becomes difficult to understand. Moreover, anyone with a basic knowledge about communication will know that you can’t base your conclusion about an almost 30 minute speech on a 30 second clip that has been clearly edited to meet a known objective.
As citizens, we need to be weary of some political elements that have now run out of alterative ideas and have now started scavenging for video clips on social media in order to extract and twist President Lungu’s true statements.
They have become so desperate especially after President Lungu disclosed that he will spend more time in country to work and supervise the development process.
That statement alone has left them disoriented and will go to any lengths to discredit President Lungu. As the party in power, we advise Zambians to keep the focus on the work that lays ahead of us and that is to transform this great nation.