Ms Siliya, who is also Information and Broadcasting Minister, said during her weekly briefing in Lusaka that the opposition was spending its entire time painting Zambia black.
“Our friends in the opposition spend all their day trying to paint Zambia black as a way to get to State House. Even corruption can’t be an agenda to get to State House. Your solution to the people of Zambia is ‘PF is corrupt.’ It’s really becoming boring because we are doing the work. Anybody who has nothing to say just says ‘the PF is corrupt’ [or] ‘president Lungu is corrupt.’ We refuse to make the fight against corruption a joke because we know that corruption can erode the confidence in a country. We have said nobody is spared in this country, not even the office of the president. And I am happy that this time around, even the investigative wings have said ‘don’t waste our time if you have nothing better to say.’ If you look at the statistics at ACC, it shows that a lot of reports they get are just rumour mongering. It wastes money for the police to be chasing stories that are not true. Let real corruption be fought,” Ms Siliya said.
She told NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili to stop turning the corruption fight into a joke.
“When we say ‘Mr Kambwili, come and help with the information’, it is because we have laws that provide for whistle blowers so that if you have information, don’t just be calling radios and making headlines. We want the police to do their job. So come and share what you know. Don’t just hold press conferences. You tell us that ‘we know this one is corrupt’. Maybe the police don’t have that information. But when they say ‘come to the police’, you say ‘no I am sick, I was just advising’. We have to stop making the fight against corruption a joke. We in government take the fight against corruption very seriously but the opposition wants to make it a joke. If you are really concerned about corruption, don’t just hold press briefings, go and report corruption,” Ms Siliya said.
She said the opposition was becoming boring by always making corruption tantrums.
“So the opposition in this country is absolutely non-existence except in name only. Some of them are just scouts centered around individuals. They are not even opposition parties. So I am happy today that in spite of the campaign to vilify or paint Zambia black, our friends, the Americans, are standing with us, our friends, the Chinese, are standing with us, our friends, the Germans, are standing with us, our friends, the Israelites, are standing with us. And that shows that people have confidence in this government,” Ms Siliya said.
And on President Edgar Lungu’s revocation of the appointment of the Financial Intelligence Centre board chairperson George Siame, a day after the announcement, Siliya said: “I think in administration, that is normal. If the president feels that a decision was made but maybe it was not in the best interest of the nation…it’s not strange for him to revoke an appointment. He is not the first president nor the last president and it’s not the last time it will happen.”
Meanwhile, Ms Siliya has said farmers are happy with President Lungu and government because they are able to sell their maize at K180 per 50 kilogramme bag.
“If the millers go to buy from them at K180, the farmers are very happy with this government. They are singing praises for the president and saying ‘may he live forever’ because the government gave them fertilizer, the government gave them seed and then the private sector went to buy from them at K180. They are singing praises and saying ‘may the president live forever.’ Of course, the ones who are complaining are us here in Lusaka. Those farmers are extremely happy with the PF government. Because we have reduced in terms of maize production, at one point we had produced 3.7 [million and] now we are producing 2.4 [million], it means that we have to be careful how we support our neighbours because we need to keep food ready for our people in Zambia. But because people have been sending negative sentiments and saying ‘there should be a disaster declaration in Zambia’, there was panic when buying [maize] thereby increasing prices which have gone on to affect the consumers,” Ms Siliya said.
And she further reiterated that there is no need to declare hunger a national disaster.
“There is a disaster in Southern Province because Southern Province normally is a good producer. Western Province, every year, there is hunger, especially in Shang’ombo. Eastern Province, every year, even when the rains are good, there is hunger in the valley along the Luangwa River,” said Ms Siliya. “But Southern Province is a special case because normally when there is rain, they are like one of the biggest producers. So the fact that there was drought, all crops failed in Southern Province. There is enough food within our borders. It’s not a national disaster there is no need to declare a national disaster because now we have to move food from the Northern part of Zambia where it is, to Southern province and that is what is happening. This year, even though Southern Province [which is] a good producer has failed, the country has still produced 2.4 million metric tonnes.”