Patriots for Economic Progress leader Sean Tembo says it is insensitive to charge citizens up to K20,000 to meet President Edgar Lungu.

In a statement, Saturday, Tembo stated that he was worried about the commercialization of the presidency.

“As Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP), we are deeply concerned with the newly adopted habit of the ruling Patriotic Front to commercialize the Republican Presidency by charging our impoverished citizens exorbitant sums of money of up to K20,000 per person per event, just for them to be accorded an opportunity to meet their President so that they can express their problems. We believe that such conduct by the PF is immoral, insensitive, fraudulent and inconsiderate of the plight of our citizens, the majority of which live in absolute poverty and squalor,” Tembo stated.

He said he believed the Meet the President events fell under the money laundering bracket.

“As Patriots for Economic Progress, we also suspect that these so-called “Meet the President” fundraising events are in fact money laundering activities where various shady individuals such as beneficiaries of illicit government contracts such as fire tenders, ambulances, water dredgers etc., actually pay their commissions to the ruling party. Therefore, we call upon the Financial Intelligece Centre to scrutinize the shady characters that often make exaggerated donations at these so-called “Meet the President” fundraising events, so that their sources of income can be properly established, documented and accounted for,” stated Tembo.

“As Patriots for Economic Progress, we envisage a level political playing field as we head towards the 2021 general elections, and the political playing field cannot be said to be level if others are exploiting a constitutional office of Republican President to raise illicit financing for themselves and their political party. On this basis, we wish to make an ernest appeal to the Republican President, His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, to immediately cease and desist from commercializing his office for purposes of financial gain, under the so-called “Meet the President” enterprise.”