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 2011-06-27 02:31 pm Back to NEWS
Government to spend K5bn on Chiluba’s funeral
Zambia Army officers taking Ex-president Frederick Chiluba's body to Mulungushi International Conference Center for public body viewing.

Government has released K5 billion for former president Frederick Chiluba’s funeral expenses, it has been revealed.

Well-placed sources within the Ministry of Finance and National Planning yesterday disclosed that the projected expenditure for the funeral is about K9 billion.

“But so far approximately K5 billion has been released for the funeral expenses. How that money will be utilised, your guess is as good as mine. Obviously, a huge chunk of that money will just be misappropriated,” the source said.

“This is just another way of siphoning money to fund MMD operations ahead of the forthcoming general elections because there is no justification for this sort of expenditure.”

The source disclosed that there were numerous cases of reckless expenditure during the funeral.

“For instance, the MMD cadres and traditional leaders that have been ferried to Lusaka for the funeral are getting paid? Even the MMD choir is getting paid,” the source said.

“The local musicians are no exception, some are being paid K10 million each just for singing at the funeral. It’s only the church choirs that have not been paid.”

And former State House special assistant for policy implementation and monitoring Jack Kalala has dismissed recent claims that he was mobilising people to boycott Chiluba’s funeral.

“Edwin Lifwekelo's claims which were published as a lead story in the Daily Mail issue of 21st June, 2011, and which were later aired on ZNBC radio and television evening news were a bunch of shameless lies intended to discredit my integrity. I find them to be absurd, stupid, despicable and filthy. They could only come from a sick and wicked mind,” he said.

He said Lifwekelo was merely a surrogate who acted on orders from his political masters who, for reasons only known to themselves, had ill feelings towards him.

“I do not know what wrong I have done to them. But I suspect it has to do with the position I have taken to defend President Mwanawasa’s legacy. It has made some people uncomfortable as they would like to get full credit for his achievements. This, in my view, explains why the managements and editorial teams of the public media which published and aired the slanderous claims did so without verifying with me as they were just ordered to do it,” Kalala said.

“They were even told to make it a lead story so that it could attract the attention of many people and be able to achieve its intended purpose of inciting the anger and indignation of the general public against the mentioned persons. Ethically, professionally and morally they were required to check the information with persons mentioned by the source of the story but they could not do as they were under orders. Their duty was to please their masters. The harm this reckless mischief would do to innocent souls was of little concern, if any, to them. Their major preoccupation was to appear to be useful to their masters, which I find to be professionally indecent, unbecoming and inhuman.”

Kalala said at no time or place did he consider engaging himself in such an immoral and illogical scheme of stopping people from attending Chiluba's funeral.

“At no time or place did I confer with Hon. Sylvia Masebo, Hon. Mpombo and Mr. Mulongoti to discuss or scheme such an abominable mischief. What would I have gained or achieved from such a senseless and futile exercise? The whole story, although some people have chosen to believe it, is a shameless, total fabrication intended to dent my integrity,” Kalala said.

“Had the people at Daily Mail and ZNBC cared to find out the truth from me, they would have learned that I had not seen or talked to Hon. Masebo for more than two years, that I met Mr. Mulongoti at about 21.00 hours on Monday at MKP Hospital where his wife was admitted. I had not seen Hon. Mpombo for more than six months and who I later found out that he was in Ndola at time President Chiluba died and only came to Lusaka on Monday 20th June in the evening, by which time the story had already been written and probably in the process of being printed. As usual I spent Saturday, Sunday and Monday at my work place. I was there till evening. The people I work with can confirm this.”

He challenged the state media to substantiate their claims.

“From the many calls I have since received from relatives and friends who expressed concern at the article in the Daily Mail and the news on ZNBC Radio and Television, it showed that the allegations created a lot of anxiety, disquiet and agitation in minds and hearts of many people. I am certain that even members of the bereaved family who learned about the claims were disturbed and offended. I therefore consider it cruel, inconsiderate and heartless of Lifwekelo, Daily Mail and ZNBC to engage in such irresponsible and reckless conduct,” Kalala said.

“I also wish to inform them that I will meet them in court. It is extremely sad and disheartening that in a country where we claim to be a Christian nation, national leaders should be in the forefront to encourage hatred, violence and divisions instead of love, peace and unity among the people. It only goes to show that a nation cannot become Christian by declaration and people cannot become Christian by claim. It is only by living Christian principles and values that we can be recognised as true followers of Christ.”

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