The University of Zambia Lecturers’ and Researchers’ Union (UNZALARU) has expressed dismay at the numerous scandals under the PF in 2017, saying government paid a deaf ear to the sufferings of the citizens.
In a statement yesterday, UNZALARU General Secretary Dr Kelvin Mambwe regretted the lack of concern and care for Zambians exhibited by the majority of members of parliament from both the ruling and opposition parties, ministers and all top government officials including the President.
The Union however, hailed Bahati member of parliament Harry Kalaba and former National Planning and Development Minister Lucky Mulusa who stood up and fought against the injustices in the country.
“We are dismayed by the media reports indicating government’s irresponsible use of public funds, especially at a time when the same government is asking citizens to understand the economic difficulties in which they find themselves. Our concerns are a culmination of a number of scandals that have hit our country in the year 2017. To begin with, we are disappointed with the purchase of 50 ambulances at the cost of $288,000.00 per vehicle translating into $14.4 million, the purchase of 42 fire trucks at a total cost of $42 million, the launch of the road construction of the $1.2 billion Dual carriageway, among other scandals,” Dr Mambwe stated.
“As UNZALARU, we find this kind of expenditure reckless and difficult to justify by any well-meaning Zambian. These expenditures have all come in a year that can be considered as one of the most difficult years by Zambians, owing to the unjustifiable increase in taxes, a sharp increase in the cost of commodity prices, deteriorating health facilities, poor education infrastructure and a shortage of teachers, lecturers and educational materials in universities, colleges and schools.”
Dr Mambwe wondered whether the PF government had right priorities in managing the welfare of the nation and its people.
“We are disappointed at the lack of concern and care for the Zambian people exhibited by the majority of MPs both in the ruling and opposition parties, the Ministers, and all top government officials including the President. As a Union, it is with a heavy heart that we note the blind eye and deaf ear paid to the Zambian peoples’ struggles and hardships. As a Union, we were of the view that PF is a pro-poor party but we have been proved otherwise. We however, applaud a few PF MPs, ministers and party functionaries that have stood up and fought the injustices being played out in our nation. We recognise Hon Kalaba, Hon Mulusa and all other brave officials that have sacrificed their comfort for Zambia – we applaud you! We also recognise the brave opposition party functionaries and numerous private citizens that have gone out of their comfort zone to protect mother Zambia,” Dr Mambwe stated.
Dr Mambwe also demanded that PF as a party in government puts its house in order and considers the plight of the Zambian people before their own pockets and wellbeing.
“As workers as well as citizens, we are made to believe that the government has no financial resources owing to the many challenges that we are facing as a nation yet this kind of extravagant expenditure speaks volumes to the contrary. We doubt as to whether government understands that the nation does not need to spend billions of dollars on a road at the expense of equipping medical facilities. Indeed this country, as Hon. Kalaba writes in his announcement of his resignation, has taken ‘a path of insatiable greed and shame which is clearly unacceptable and unsuitable’” stated Dr Mambwe.
“Meanwhile, the Union solemnly regrets the deaths arising from Cholera, a disease that has in the past been contained but resurfacing owing to the poor governance of the country. We stand with all the affected individuals and families and we urge the Ministries of Local Government and Health, the Mayors’ offices countrywide, government functionaries and the President, to ensure that this very unfortunate condition is curbed and that this situation we have found ourselves in does not repeat itself in 2018 rainy season, government needs to learn to plan for such calamities well in advance.”