George Mpombo has described Lusaka PF mayoral candidate Miles Sampa’s promise to introduce free WiFi as flabbergasting, given the state of the economy.

In an interview, Mpombo, a former Minister of Defence, advised Sampa to make realistic promises saying days of hoodwinking voters were long gone.

“You can’t be making flabbergasting statements which you know you are not going to fulfil. And elections in 2021 are just around the corner. What is he going to tell the people? So basically if politicians want to elongate, if they want to have a formidable political career, it has got to be anchored on realistic promises and dreams because Zambians now are very mature, they have advanced politically. You can’t hoodwink them. Days of hoodwinking the electorates are long gone. So I think it’s important to speak what you’re able to do, not make outrageous and outlandish promises which you cannot fulfil, because government right now is saying that it doesn’t have money. Where is he going to get the money?” Mpombo asked.

“The promises are outrageous, they are not based on any reality. Firstly, when you become mayor, what financial capacity has Lusaka province got to undertake those very costly ventures? Secondly, government has just introduced austerity measures, which means the economy is in dire stress, the economy is on drip. Where do you get the money to band around? It’s not possible. I think what people should avoid is to promise the moon. It is really important to be realistic when addressing issues, when discussing election manifestos. They have to be based on achievable objectives, because what he is saying is going to cost colossal sums of money which the government is not in a position to maintain, because right now the economic base for Lusaka City Council is very narrow. Government has sold the housing stocks, because housing was one source of revenue for the council. Unless he says he is going to create new revenue base for the council. I just don’t think it will be achievable because as at now, Zambia is at stand still in terms of industrialization. You cannot have development without industrialization. There are no industries to create wealth, there are no industries to create jobs, there are no industries to create opportunities.”

He urged all aspiring candidates to be objective.

“And I would want to ask all the candidates to be objective, not to make outrageous claims which they cannot fulfil because by making those outrageous promises, they are also tying the political fortunes of their various political parties on which they are standing. In case they fail to achieve those objectives and therefore it is incumbent upon the party to guide candidates. Even PF should guide Mr Sampa to refrain from making outlandish promises which he cannot fulfil. If PF as a government has not offloaded such projects so far, how does an individual like Miles Sampa hope to achieve? Because Miles Sampa was also MP, what did he achieve in Matero? He was MP for Matero for a term of five years or so, what impact did he have in the five years that he is going to have as a mayor? When he was MP for Matero, he was in government as deputy minister at various levels, now just being a mayor where is he going to get the money? So I think the promises are mind boggling, absolutely mind boggling. It’s flabbergasting,” said Mpombo.