PF has blundered, would confront Sata if I met him – Fr. Bwalya

Frank Bwalya, the outspoken Catholic Priest who heavily campaigned for the ruling Patriotic Front and Michael Sata has strongly come out stating that the party he helped form government is turning to be like the MMD.

And Fr. Bwalya says he would confront President Michael Sata on a number of issues he has blundered if he was to meet him.

Speaking when he featured on Assignment programme hosted by Muvi, a Lusaka based private owned television on Sunday, April 28, 2013, Fr. Bwalya said some the reasons for his resignation from ZESCO as Board Chairman was to reclaim his voice by speaking out loudly in the public.

Fr. Bwalya explained that he decided to resign from ZESCO last Thursday as people could not take his position on various governance issues as they  portrayed that he had been compromised by the job. He cited the story in Daily Nation on the constitution that he claims portrayed him as one who had been sent by PF to sabotage the people’s wishes in the constitution.

He said the story had angered him alot and vowed to take legal suit against the paper. Fr. Bwalya said because of his job at ZESCO it is difficult for him to speak out free to either criticize or commend government.  He explained that after tendering his resignation he feels free to talk.

Fr. Bwalya disclosed that he has been telling some Ministers, PF Members of Parliament and sending messages to the President advising against certain issues such ‘stupid’ initiated costly by-elections. He said this has fallen in deaf ears and hence his position to come out in the open.

The Catholic Priest who launched a red card campaign against MMD in 2011 to signal time had come for the party to go says he has now raised a white card for PF. He said the white card which he displayed during the programme was a sign of caution to the PF government.

“We have started blowing the whistle,” Fr. Bwalya said after he blew the whistle on the programme. “The referee is saying play on but please stop talking about HH’s (Hakainde Hichilema) account, stop talking about  people of Southern province will not get development.”

He strongly condemned the PF’s tactic of initiating by-elections in order to increase their numbers in Parliament. Fr Bwalya described the move as reckless and stupid. He said there was no way government would be busy channeling money to by-elections when people were suffering and ZESCO needed capitalization.

Asked to comment on how he received his appointment at ZESCO, Fr. Bwalya said people were free to express their views on whether it was a reward for his campaign for PF. He however, stated that he had made it clear that he would not want to be rewarded a job.

Fr. Bwalya disclosed that the only thing he had ask was a scholarship for him to go out and study law. He said he wanted to be out of the country to study then come back and set up his own law firm to help the vulnerable people.

He said this has not worked out wondering whether President Sata was still thinking about it. When asked if offered a scholarship now would take it, he said it was too late.

Fr Bwalya said he had not gone quite or been compromised as people thought. He apologized for the ‘quite diplomacy’ approach he had taken which he said does not work in Zambia.

“I never went away, I am apologizing to HH for not condemning his arrest. I am apologizing to Rev. Mumba for not condemning his arrest when he went to visit the Chief,” he said adding that Zambians are intelligent and were watching.

He said there is no way one should be arrested for visiting a chief adding that such acts will make the PF unpopular.

On the corruption fight, He said President Sata should marry his talk with deeds. Fr. Bwalya said the people were losing hope in the PF campaign promises. He said he hoped President Sata’s statement advising the Anti-Corruption to notify him before investigating a Minister was a slipping of a tongue.

On the judicial reform, Fr. Bwalya told the Presenter Coster Mwansa not to even talk about it because the PF has done nothing. He condemned the idea of employing people who had either retired or reached retirement age. President Sata has appointed Lombe Chibesakunda who has reached retirement age as Acting Chief Justice.

Fr. Bwalya said the President was old and wanted to employ his fellow old people, a situation he says is unfortunate as it does not give an opportunity to the younger ones.

“If the President is old then everyone else should be old then when are we going to work also,” wondered Fr. Bwalya.

The Catholic Priest who said he has never had an opportunity to meet President Sata said given an opportunity he would confront him on a number of issues. He said some of the blunders the PF has committed deserve them to be given a red card.

He said his principle was to strongly criticize government publicly while for the opposition he believes in engaging them quietly. Fr. Bwalya said he did that during the MMD and will continue even under the PF.

Fr. Bwalya said President Sata would find it difficult to governor because he would want to run the country alone adding that his colleagues were scared him. He said running a country was not easy and needed team work. He boasted that though he was not intelligent he would manage to run the country because he is able to identify skills and work with people.

On a good note, Fr. Bwalya said President Sata was his hero because he served him by winning the 2011 elections. Fr. Bwalya said had MMD won they could have killed him. He promised reveal in the book he is writing how he survived assassination attempts by the MMD regime.

On former president Rupiah Banda’s abuse of office and corruption allegations, Fr. Bwalya said it was good so that he should be made to account for his misdeeds.

Asked to comment on President Sata urging priests to sticky to the pulpit and not to get involved to politics, Fr. Bwalya said the church used the same pulpit to campign for him in 2011.

“President Sata should not have said that; he should not have said the clergy should stick
to the pulpit,” Fr. Bwalya said. “We campaigned for him from the pulpit.”

Fr. Bwalya concluded the interview showing pictures of him in custody in Kalulushi where he says was arrested for protesting against the stealing of votes for Sata in 2008 elections.

He also showed a picture of himself in the tree campaigning for Patrick Mwanawasa with some people under the tree which is interpreted as:

“You can’t climb a tree alone, leaving those under the tree to suffer, thinking you are clever”.

Fr. Bwalya said he was on 40 days retreat and prayer reflecting on his life and the next direction he was to take after quitting ZESCO.