ZAMBIA’s ongoing cholera outbreak sparked a firestorm on social media as opposition leader Sean Tembo and Minister of Green Economy and Environment Collins Nzovu traded barbs online.
Tembo’s Facebook post, translated from Nyanja, mocked the increasing number of cholera cases, suggesting that hunger under President Hakainde Hichilema’s administration was so severe, cholera patients wouldn’t even have enough to “go to the toilet.”
“Kaya ba cholera ba pampuka chani uku ku Heroes. Na njala iyi yamene aleta uyu Bally (with this hunger brought by Bally, it is surprising how the Cholera patients are even going to the toilet),” posted Tembo.
This insensitive remark drew immediate attention from Nzovu, who condemned it as disrespectful to patients and their families.
He urged Tembo to prioritize human suffering over political point-scoring.
“It’s very insensitive of you to make jokes on patients. Politics aside, think of the families. There’s time for everything, time to joke and time to be serious,” Nzovu commented on the Patriots for Economic Progress leader’s post.
Undeterred, Tembo countered the comment, accusing the government of failing to effectively respond to the outbreak since its emergence in October 2023.
He cited shortcomings in vaccination programmes, water sanitation, and waste management, while criticizing President Hichilema’s international travels during the crisis.
“So don’t come here and start talking about jokes regarding the cholera situation because you are the jokers and the people of Zambia know that we have a joke of a Government in office,” Tembo responded to the minister.
By Moses Makwaya
Kalemba January 29, 2024