PAC president Andyford Banda says it would be sensible for the Ministry of Health to regulate public health officers’ engagement with private clinics instead of imposing an absolute ban.

And Banda says his party is not scared of the 2021 elections because once they build their resource base, they will be able to beat the PF and send UPND and other parties packing.

In an interview with News Diggers! Banda said the ban on moonlighting by public health workers was misplaced because they needed the extra income.

“The directive by the Ministry of Health to doctors, nurses and clinical officers to stop doing private jobs in private hospitals and clinics is misplaced. Because they must remember that this structure has been operational for a long time and these are personnels that have been helpful to the Zambian people themselves. When they go to these private clinics they don’t go to work on foreigners but Zambian people. They must remember first of all that the salaries of these health care employees is not enough to sustain themselves. They must remember that they have enough time on their plates to be able to do these private jobs,” Banda said.

“What happens to private hospitals and clinics? Because this structure has been working. So the Ministry of Health must not blame personnels who are committed, based on their failures to put in in controls. What they need to do is to ensure that if the problem is ‘when a doctor is supposed be at a certain center and then he is not available’, they need to have those controls that will ensure that that is picked. If their controls are weak, it shouldn’t be blamed on each and every person. Because they are situations like for example a doctor or nurse was working night shift and then the next week they have nights off, what should they do with the whole week? They should just be sitting? No!”

He insisted that the system could work with proper controls in place.

“So, we want to advise the Ministry of Health that they should stop implementing things that do not make sense or things that are not practical. They should just focus on putting in controls and let people do what they do with their private lives. Let people run businesses, what’s wrong with that. They are doing this outside their work station so we don’t see anything wrong with that,” Banda said.

And Banda said his party was not in any way scared of the 2021 elections.

He charged that UPND had clearly failed to out-smart the PF, looking at the way that party had lost in the just ended by-elections, even in their strongholds.

“It would be folly for us to be scared of the 2021 elections [because] the political landscape is changing. From the last local government elections you can see that parties like the UPND despite having the financial muscle, have failed to out smart the PF. Looking at the way things are going in Chilanga there’s a likelihood that the PF might even win. We would not be surprised to see the PF winning the elections in Chilanga looking at the fact that the UPND lost some of the elections in a number of their strongholds in the past by-elections. UPND has clearly failed to out smart the PF,” he said.

Banda said PAC was building its resource base in preparation for 2021.

“For us as PAC, we are not scared of 2021 because we know that the only work that we have is to build our resource base and this is what we have been doing. We have been building resources from the last elections. We do participate in elections, we participated in the last local government elections. Even though we didn’t do well, we know that we didn’t have all the resources necessary to challenge those elections as much as we know that the PF played some tricks. If you talk of parties like NDC, these are things that we are not scared of, we have stood in elections against former ministers, former SGs of ruling parties but we have still beaten them. With our experience, this is something that doesn’t bother us,” he said.

“We know that once we build our resource base we can beat the PF in a clean way, we can ensure that the UPND go packing. And we can ensure that people who are just using names because they were former ministers or former something, realise that politics is not about the name that you have or how many times you talk. Politics is about winning elections and winning the hearts of the people.”

Banda said Zambians were not stupid that they would continue voting for the PF when the party had run down the economy.

“And the PF shouldn’t scare us. Yes we know that they would invest everything to win an election but its not like they are popular. We should agree first of all that PF are not popular. Secondly they have run down this economy, thirdly there is unemployment and fourthly, there are no opportunities in this country. People are not stupid that they will continue voting for the PF just because they are the PF. There is nothing special about the PF, that’s one thing we need to understand. The only thing that’s keeping the PF afloat right now is the money that they have but money is not everything all the time,” said Banda.

“The other weakness of the PF is them thinking that people are stupid. That they can’t see what they are doing. Like what they did in the last local government elections where they won through tricks. We know what happened on the ground and what tricks they played. The PF are not popular, what is popular of the PF is the money that they are abusing when it comes to elections. For us we just need basic resource base to overcome the PF and we are sure and faithful that by 2021 we should have the basic resources that we need to remove the PF from government.”