FDD president Edith Nawakwi has castigated President Edgar Lungu for having an unforgiving heart, and has called for the immediate release of MMD faction president Nevers Mumba from prison, saying his misdemeanor is far mush less than the electoral offences PF committed in 2016.

And Nawakwi has asked government to stop imposing taxes on Zambians saying their job is to serve the people and not to burden them with taxes.

Speaking when she featured on Radio Christian Voice’s ‘Chat Back’ program, Nawakwi appealed to President Lungu to be empathetic and use his powers to release Mumba from jail, adding that Easter was a period of forgiveness.

“Since we are in the spirit of Easter, we should have a position where people are forgiving one another and talking to each other. Unfortunately I was shocked last week to learn that one of us, that is Dr Nevers Mumba who is also a pastor and the minister of the word, has to spend Easter in prison. I said to myself ‘where are we?’ The sins of 2016, some people died, some people broke hands. I would have thought that the misdemeanor that Dr Nevers Mumba did is far much less than the deaths of our young men and women who died at the hands of the police,” she said.

“This club of politician,s we are very few. As a mother in the team of these very few politicians I say to our dear President, I think that the courts have done their part. Step in as a Head of State, as soldier number and get your brother out of the dungeon. We should be empathetic. Our brother is in prison, I think he is much more of a friend to President Edgar Lungu than anyone else. Therefore I’m asking his excellency President Chagwa Lungu to step in and and use his powers under the Constitution to get his brother out. Its not necessary. This was the worst time to get a brother into jail. Of all the electoral offences that were committed in 2016, how come only one of them has got so much weight and that is about Nevers Mumba walking into a TV station?”

Nawakwi said the PF wanted to eliminate the opposing side so that they could play football without anyone challenging them.

“I get the distinct feeling that PF wants to think that as goal keepers they can play football without players. They want to eliminate anyone and stay in the goal post. You cannot play football on your own, football is a game of opposing sides and let us stop these politics of thinking that its a one party participatory democracy. It will not work. This time around we should not concentrate on issues of 2016. Let us sit down as a team and say ‘how are we going forward in 2021? What type of Constitution are we going to go into? What is the electoral act?” she asked.

And Nawakwi challenged the government to stop burdening poor Zambians with more taxes.

“By the way there is levy everywhere. We are paying land rates, we are paying 10 percent surcharge on taxation, we are paying Pay-As-You-Earn, NAPSA, Compensation Fund. You people what is it that you want from the Zambian people? Burial notice has been increased, look at the council fees, how many taxes do you pay to the council if you are an operator in this town, there are over 35 council levies. Everywhere you turn you have to pay, manje no fyona chimina ba zayamba kutulipilisa (they will soon start charging us for blowing the nose),” she mocked.

“As a government you must be able to sit down and say ‘what is the impact of these measures which we are putting’? Ask yourself ‘this tax which I’m putting, on who is it going to fall, the poor or the rich’. That way you are guided as to how you impose your levy or taxes. The burden of taxation is falling on the poor and the government must stop continuing to burden the poor. You are there to serve the people and not to burden the poor.”

Meanwhile, Nawakwi said PF had accumulated more debt in the last four years than what the first republic accumulated in 27 years.

“Zambia is at crossroads. We are as a nation are in self denial. The bottom line is that this country is bankrupt and anyone who wants to argue against that must come up and tell me why the government is trying to squeeze water out of a stone. In 2015, the foreign debt was K34 billion. PF in the last three, four years has accumulated more debt than our first republic accumulated in 27 years. The question is where has this money gone to? The debt that our first republic accumulated we could count it. It went to Indeni, building of Kariba dam, Kafue gorge [and] building up infrastructure. There were visible creditors on the table. This time around we have invisible creditors. The money is from the Eurobond. It is not wrong to borrow but borrowing for consumption is what has put us is in a problem,” said Nawakwi.

“We are a bankrupt country which requires emergency measures. The people on the streets are feeling it. Look at the electricity bill itself, you are paying 19 percent tax to government. Now they have increased the burial fees, they have increased fuel, unga wadula (mealie meal is expensive), kwena where are we heading to? This is a crisis time where we need to sit down and say ‘how do we handle this situation as a nation together’? The point I’m making is that someone needs to answer my question. President Kenneth Kaunda built more power stations without increasing tariffs, how come in 2018 we think that we must charge more so that people can invest in these facilities? It doesn’t work like that.”