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PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema should apologise for his careless and disrespectful reference to Zambia’s former presidents as a clique of thieves, Chishimba Kambwili has demanded.

And in reacting to the President on the decentralisation of  the Constituency Development Fund (CDF),  Mr Kambwili said centralised resource allocation was a norm and practice since independence, not for the purpose of stealing money but as a public policy practice.

He said attempts to change the system, was an innovation that still had to be proved.

And the Zambia Republican Party (ZRP) has advised the President to tone down because what he said at the airport was wrong.

ZRP president, Wright Musoma said the president’s message was divisive and not something that should be coming from him.

Mr Musoma said it was not Mr Hichilema’s duty to be judge of other leaders but to let Zambians do that.

Mr Musoma said the President should apologise to the Zambians and especially to the past presidents and their families.

Mr Kambwili, a Patriotic Front member said it is careless and disrespect of the highest order for President Hichilema to claim that the country has been ruled by a clique of thieves from the time of independence.

Mr Kambwili said that the President needed to apologise for the reckless comments that the six former Presidents were criminals who plundered national funds.

He said that the statements were ill timed and damaging to his predecessors who had worked tirelessly for the benefit of Zambians.

“I find the comments very disrespectful and demeaning to the former heads of State and the noble thing the President should do is just be magnanimous and apologise because what he said was wrong,” he said.

Mr Kambwili said Mr Hichilema needed to stop with the innuendoes and that there was more to what he was saying than targeting the former heads of State.

He said that he was sure that the head of State was doing something big behind the scenes and was trying to vilify his predecessors.

Mr Kambwili challenged President Hichilema to name the thieves rather than cast aspersions that were aimed at tainting the image of his counterparts.

Meanwhile PF Publicity chairperson Raphael Nakacinda said the statement was coming deep down his heart and it was evident that he harboured traces of tribalism.

Mr Nakacinda said that first republican president Kenneth Kaunda warned that MrHichilema was a danger and could divide the nation and this was exactly what was happening.

He said that Dr Kaunda was right and he saw something in the UPND leader which made him say that about him.

Mr Nakacinda said that the President erred in his statement by claiming that a clique of thieves had ruled the country but insisted that the real reason was that he felt Tongas were left out by people from the other provinces.

Meanwhile, first Republican President Kenneth Kaunda’s sons Panji and Tilyenjisaid that most people misunderstood what Mr Hichilema said.

Tilyenji said there was no way the President could change his perception about his father in a blink of an eye when he held him in high esteem.

And his brother Panji echoed his sentiments and said that the head of State did not mean his father because he was a man of integrity who abhorred corruption.

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