People’s Alliance for Change leader Andyford Banda says President Edgar Lungu must not provoke donors for the sake of his ego because Zambia can collapse like Zimbabwe.
On Friday, President Edgar Lungu dared donors to withdraw their aid if they wanted and told them not to interfere with the country’s internal affairs.
“Now they want come and regulate our governance. They want to tell us who to arrest, who to prosecute, what matters our courts should preside over; that we cannot allow. Because of our economic dependency, people now think they can tell the Army Commander what he can and cannot do, what I can and cannot do. They want to tell the OP what to do! No, ‘we will withdraw aid’, they can withdraw Aid if they want but they would never withdraw our dignity and liberty and as long as we have that, we will struggle to achieve economic freedom. We will do so by getting our Army to do the right thing; to become more productive, to defend and serve. And that is just an example,” said President Lungu.
In a statement yesterday, Banda condemned President Lungu’s remarks saying his attitude of not caring about the country’s image was terrifying.
“The remarks by President Edgar Lungu as reported by various sections of the media that donors can take back their aid if they want are reminiscent of President Mugabe’s remarks when Zimbabwe started its free fall.
President Lungu followed up with the same kind of remarks on African freedom day when he alleged that colonialists are regrouping to take over Zambia. His remarks echo those we heard when Zimbabwe’s economy started dwindling. Let’s be real here. People who support or don’t support PF, this route we have embarked on where we don’t care about the image of the country to the international community is really terrifying,” Banda said.
“Let me first put matters in perspective. One, we agree with President Lungu that Aid is not the long term solution to our problems. As Africans we must strive hard to find means and ways of being self-sustainable. We must apply innovation in order to attain self-sustainability as a country. Two, we agree with President Lungu that foreigners must not meddle in our internal affairs including the courts. However, we also know that it’s important that we treat our cooperating partners with due respect. We must be able to dialogue with them on many issues affecting the country just as we want to dialogue with them when we want aid. It’s not a one sided affair.”
Banda reminded President Lungu that the country had a lot to lose if donor aid was withdrawn.
“Aid is a double-edged sword depending on how it is sought and applied. It has been helpful thus far under the current circumstances. The health sector is one of many sectors that have benefited a lot from aid. The question we need to ask ourselves is if we are willing to let our people die in hospitals because of our egos as we still try to find means and ways of being self-sustained. As we speak, even with the aid we are receiving we are still struggling as a country. We have been trying so hard to get funds from IMF and we have not succeeded to date. We know very well that as at now, most government departments are not adequately funded due to the fact that the PF led government has no money and has been owing most suppliers for almost a year now. So is it the right timing for us to tell people who are try to help us push our days and tell them we don’t care. You tell me. The Zimbabwean regime without a plan and will for self-sustainability thought they could insult their cooperating partners however, they wanted. Most aid was withdrawn from them and investors consequently disappeared,” Banda said.
“The story is there to see with our own eyes. Once a bread basket of Southern Africa, today Zimbabwe is indeed a sorry sight. But I know the majority of the people are very diligent and that sooner than later, they will rebound. Investors are key to each country. Each country has foreign investors from America, Britain, China, France etc. The image you portray out there determines whether you attract the right investors or not. The international community that we keep advising and telling that they can go if they want are the ones who market or destroy our country. Hence maintaining an image that’s good for investors is critical.”
He observed that it would be the poor to suffer if aid was withdrawn.
“Without investors, fewer and fewer jobs will be created. The buying power will get thinner and thinner and our economy will crumble like the one in Zimbabwe and hunger will strike. You and me especially the young people must not allow this to happen. Not in our life time, we must do everything to do our part and defend what’s left. Our position is that lets not provoke the situation for the sake of our egos and end up like Zimbabwe. The question is what’s the plan? As we speak there is no plan that is so inspiring and we can point to say this is the master plan to self-sustainability. The beautiful and stable country image we have been enjoying is clearly being threatened by the day. We have a choice to make. Its either we choose to go on a self- destructive path or choose to preserve what is left.” said Banda.
“President Lungu must realise that his remarks and actions will mainly affect the majority poor Zambians especially if aid is taken away from sectors like the health sector. President Lungu is wealthy and comfortable. He will not be affected. I want to call upon fellow Zambians to stand up and protect the little that’s left. You should use logic as opposed to blind loyalty which is making these leaders not to be accountable because they know that whether they do something right or wrong you blind supporters will support it. We refuse to be such.”