The UPND has pledged support to Chiengi member of parliament Given Katuta’s demand for accountability on the missing drugs at medical stores, saying the issue is already on the party’s agenda for the upcoming Parliamentary session starting next month.

Choma UPND member of parliament Cornelius Mweetwa confirmed that the party would continue seeking answers until the PF government provided full disclosure of what transpired over the issue of missing drugs at Medical Stores Limited (MSL).

Mweetwa, who is also UPND deputy spokesperson, also said his party would ensure that the issue of fire tenders was debated conclusively to the satisfaction of tax payers.

“We have a number of agenda items that we would like clarified once Parliament opens. Of course, amongst them, is the rising levels of abuse of resources and on that list in question is the issue of those drugs that have gone missing. We will not just back her (Given Katuta); we will be together in the struggle because it’s already on our agenda items and so, we are going to speak [with] one voice. We shall continue to seek answers until we have full disclosure of what transpired over these drugs issue because that borders directly on threatening the lives of our citizens. We are also going to add to our list a matter, which our colleagues in PF would like disappear from the face of the earth sooner than later: the issue of fire tenders. We want them to explain to the satisfaction of the nation, how they can allegedly procure fire tenders at $1 million each and go to insure it at K250,000,” Mweetwa demanded in an interview with News Diggers!

“Who made that decision? Because if you are going to insure a fire tender at K250,000, it means the premium the government is paying to whichever insurance company is actually a waste of tax payers’ money because when a fire tender is gutted, its value is US $1 million. But it is insured for K250,000; this means the insurable interest of the fire tender does not match up to the actual asset value. So, there is fraudulence, both on the part of the insurer and the person insuring, which is the client ministry or government. The insurance company ought to be aware that these fire tenders have been said to be insured at US $1 million. So, does it mean that they are wilfully swindling government of public resources knowing very well that the premiums do not match up to the asset value. So, those questions have to continue to be answered until we know what is being hidden.”

And Mweetwa said his party had embarked on a task to review the performance of PF from the time they got into power to assess their consistency in comparison with what they promised while in the opposition.

“We are reviewing our position, we are reviewing the position that government has taken to ban street vending. When City Market was gutted, they said that within two weeks it would be rebuilt but it’s no longer two weeks; the streets vendors have been chased and no reasonable action seems to be underway. So, we are of the view that the decision is reviewed because you cannot chase people from the streets and leave them without any cushion. This government should be honest, look at what they did when there was cholera, they closed Churches but left bars open. So we are dealing with a very dishonest government,” he observed.

“So when you hear them mock us, it’s because they are enjoying our taxpayers’ money. Otherwise deep down their hearts, they are shivering to the bone because they thought that they would be as popular as when they got into power in 2011. You can see now they can’t go into an election genuinely, they have to front violence through young people whom they failed to create jobs for.”

Meanwhile, Mweetwa said the UPND was not bothered that the PF had grabbed some local government seats in the just-ended local government elections from the UPND, saying popularity was never determined during by-elections but general elections.

“Strongholds are not measured during by-elections; they are measured during general elections because that is when there is no government in place. There is fair play and there is an opportunity for another party to form government. So, during that time, citizens become decisive on their vote. In the by-elections, there is a lot of manipulation on the part of the Executive using state craft and public resources to buy votes. So, it doesn’t worry us at all. When you read the history of Zambia, you will see Mr Rupiah Banda won a lot of by-elections before the 2011 general elections. But when the general elections came, he was left in the dust with his MMD. So, this doesn’t worry us. And, actually, there is nothing different, which will happen other than what has been happening, that in the general elections, citizens become decisive,” said Mweetwa.

“During elections civil servants are intimidated; they are called by a minister and addressed bla bla bla, that is abuse of office. But when the general election comes, there will be no minister to address the civil servants and threatening them. They will all be on the knees begging for votes from those civil servants whom they are threatening today. So, those by-elections are not a measure of what is happening, the true measure of what is happening on the ground is when you look at Zambia’s debt stock; Zambia’s debt stock will tell you that PF has borrowed more money than MMD and UNIP put together. That is hurting the citizens; that is why you see a lot of taxes being introduced. You introduce taxes to civil servants whose pay is already low. That is a measure of how people will vote in 2021. You go and tell civil servants to retire at the age of 60 years without telling them that if they opt to go for 60 years, they will lose their full retirement benefits and only remain with 60 per cent. Those are the issues that we will be speaking about.”