Zambia’s Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya Tests Positive for Covid-19 amidst Corruption Investigations
Lusaka, May 27: Zambia’s Minister of Health, Dr. Chitalu Chilufya has become the second Cabinet Minister to test positive to Covid-19, four days after the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, Dora Siliya announced her Covid-19 positive status.
The Secretary to the Cabinet, Dr. Simon Miti announced May 27 at the 61st Covid-19 update that Dr. Chilufya was one of the people that had added to the one hundred and thirty-seven (137) positive cases recorded from the four thousand two hundred and sixty-four tests (4264) conducted in the last 5 days in Zambia.
Dr. Miti, however, noted that Dr. Chilufya’s situation was stable, adding that the Ministry of Health officials had since begun reaching out to his close contacts to screen and test them.
“… The Minister of Health Dr. Chilufya took a Covid-19 test and the results have come back positive. However, he is currently feeling fine but in line with the country’s guidelines he has commenced self-isolation and will remain under isolation until he is discharged by health authorities…” he said.
Dr. Miti also said Dr. Chilufya will continue giving his input to the Covid-19 response under the new normal, living with the coronavirus using the ICT platforms and so he will continue to provide support virtually.
“His Excellency the President, Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu has wished Dr. Chilufya well as he continues with self-isolation and monitoring by health personnel as he has been providing excellent leadership from the time we had the Covid-19 pandemic coming into Zambia,” said Dr. Miti.
Dr. Chitalu Chilafya during a Covid-19 Response Briefing Sessionmask
News of Dr. Chilufya’s Covid-19 positive status has come amidst corruption allegations investigations involving him as a person.
Within that framework, the Anti-Corruption Commission – ACC- recorded a warn and caution statement from the Minister of Health Dr. Chilufya as part of ongoing investigations into alleged possession of property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime. This is according to a statement issued by ACC Corporate Affairs Officer, Jonathan Siame.
In line with the corruption investigation, Transparency International (TI) Zambia Chapter President, Rueben Lifuka has called on Dr. Chilufya to step aside to facilitate a smooth investigation into his case.
“We believe that the Minister stepping aside will be in conformity with the standard practice where public servants that are being investigated have stepped aside to allow for investigations to be carried out independently and without any potential undue influence.”
Mr. Lifuka said he expected the ACC to pursue all allegations of corruption or wrongdoing as defined in the Anti-Corruption Act. He insisted that the ACC must be given the independence and latitude to discharge its mandate professionally and that its decisions required the support of all Zambians.
“These are just the first steps in the process and we are cautiously optimistic that the ACC has done its work and ready to move to the next stage and hopefully bring this matter before the courts of law at the earliest opportunity. Dr. Chilufya presently plays a sensitive role in the multi-sectoral response to Covid-19 and such allegations will be an unnecessary distraction”.