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Kambwili calls for probe into Lungu’s extravagant foreign tripsBy Mirriam Chabala on 20 Mar 2018
Chishimba Kambwili has demanded an audit of President Edgar Lungu’s flamboyant trip to New York following the recently released dossier revealing government’s excessive expenditure in 2015.
And Kambwili says President Edgar Lungu is a playful man who is only interested in partying.
News Diggers! on Wednesday published a dossier of President Lungu’s trip to China and New York where millions of kwacha were spent on partying and hire of Limousines respectively for delegations that also had several ruling party cadres.
Commenting on the revelation in an interview with News Diggers, Kambwili said those given the responsibility to look after public money in the country were getting angry with unnecessary expenditure, hence the leakage of the dossier.
“I have said this before and I want to say it again (that) we have a playful man in State House as President but I think by and large, it’s us Zambians to make a decision because even before we become politicians, Zambians know our background. This man [Edgar Lungu] is well known for partying. I have spoken about this issue of Presidential trips so many times, even indicating that they are a very big cost to the Treasury. Seriously, how can someone take a trip with over 30 people to China? How much is each individual getting as an allowance? How much are they spending on each individual sleeping in a hotel? How much are they spending on each individual’s food? Plus these luxury shoppings that we have seen like hiring of Limousines,” Kambwili said.
“I think Zambians must wake up and say ‘enough is enough’. We have never seen that kind of wastage of resources since independence that we have seen in President Edgar Lungu’s government. We know he has done over 58 trips in two years, who does that? Not even Dr Kaunda, not even Chiluba or Mwanawasa traveled the way this man [Lungu] is traveling. But I have told the people of Zambia that it is the Rupiah Banda administration that is back, because the only other person that we saw misusing money on unnecessary Presidential travels was Rupiah Banda and Edgar Lungu’s mentor or godfather is Rupiah Banda. I just feel sorry for friends in PF who are failing to differentiate sense from nonsense by seeing this that this man is no longer a PF think-tank. He’s an MMD contaminated President. And I think by and large, this man must be stopped from these excesses. You can’t have someone spending money the way it was outlined in the Diggers edition today [Wednesday].”
He demanded that those who accompanied President Lungu on the New York trip be investigated and any personal related expenses involving any individual should be paid back to the taxpayers.
“Amos Chanda is trying to tell us ‘no we are trying to check with the accountant general’. But this is a true record and such things start coming out when people are getting upset. It is because people who have been given the responsibility to look after the money in this country are getting upset when they see the unnecessary expenditure. That is why you find that we have leakages like these and when we talk, people say that no the President has to travel. Surely, to go to the US for three days, can you go and spend K17 million? That is unacceptable. What we want is that this must be investigated and if there are any expenses that are personal related, let all those who spent taxpayers money pay back to the treasury. This story must not die a natural death, people must be taken to task and pay back the tax payers. Any personal related expenses like the shoppings, the cruises, the dinners, hiring of Limousines must be investigated,” Kambwili said.
He wondered why the President would hire a Limousine to use while in the US when the Zambian embassy in that country had a lot of cars that he could use.
“And why would the President go and hire a Limousine in America? For what? We have got vehicles at embassies which are used by High Commissioners and Ambassadors. Naturally when the President travels, they are supposed to hand over that vehicle to the President to cut down on costs. But surely to go and hire a Limousine, it is really unacceptable. This President is playful, this man, it’s like he’s just woken up from his slumber and found money in his sitting room and has no plan on how to spend it, that’s how he’s behaving,” Kambwili said.
Meanwhile, Kambwili has asked Zambians to ensure President Lungu was removed from State House “by all means”, because “he never keeps promises and he will just continue to destroy the country” if he remains in power.
“He just told us a month ago that he was not going to be traveling abroad so that he can concentrate on issues back home. But since he said that, he has taken three trips, including the South Africa one which was done secretly. He never even announced that he was going to South Africa because the man is a play boy. He can’t change and the earlier Zambians remove him from State House, the better. Just look at the quality of his advisors! Daniel Siwo, that little boy…what can he advise the President as special advisor? Look at Kaizer Zulu, Amos Chanda! What can those boys advise the President? Ba Lungu please, find mature people to be your advisors at State House, otherwise you will forever be regarded as disgruntled,” said Kambwili.
“You can’t be doing things like that, you can’t do things like that – spending money with impunity. People are suffering, there are no drugs in hospitals and then you go to spend K17 million in three days! Even if it’s your money, who would be prepared to spend K17 million in three days? He just told us himself that his net worth is K23 million, can he go and spend K17 million in three days from that? This is carelessness. We deserve an apology from Lungu and we need to recover the money from all those who went on this cruise-riding or whatever it is called.”
About Mirriam Chabala
Mirriam Chabala is a Zambian journalist who covers current affairs and writes in-depth feature articles on social issues.
Email: mirriam [at] diggers [dot] news
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