Newly-elected Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa says opposition political parties in the current landscape are not winning elections because they chew monies meant for campaigning.
And Sampa says he did not receive even a single ngwee from government coffers and has urged critics to not worry about the party’s source of funding because public funds are well-accounted for.
Meanwhile, the Mayor-elect, who stood on the ruling PF ticket, has assured Zambians that the US $750 million Eurobond has been put to good use.
Speaking during Hot FM’s “Frank on Hot” programme yesterday, Sampa branded politicians from the opposition as “selfish” and argued that their political parties are not winning elections because officials chew monies meant for campaigning.
“We are the incumbent; PF is in government led by President Lungu. Whoever wants to dislodge us, dislodge the Mayor position, they need to come strong. But it’s not impossible. Look at the late president Michael Sata and PF; with or without money, they managed to remove MMD and they managed to win some by-elections so it’s not only about the money, it is the message, the tactic, so they should go and find the money, go and lobby with the business sector,” Sampa urged.
“And we know they have connections, local and elsewhere. I will tell you what the problem is; when donors give them, they don’t release it for campaigns; they put it in their pocket! There are some selfish individuals in this game of politics. But in PF, I can tell you everybody, when any donation comes into the party from well-wishers, it spreads down to the campaign. But other political parties, they find the money, they put it and they build houses and buy cars and then there’s no money for campaigns. That’s the way the game is.”
He advised the opposition to generate the funds they require to campaign and spend more prudently.
“Next time there is a by-election; start now, mobilising resources for your campaign, don’t cry foul afterwards! That’s just the way it is. Everything costs money, there is no free anything. If you are going to have a rally, you need to hire a PA [Public Announcement] system; you need to come on radio and sell your manifesto, but you pay to be on radio. So, start mobilizing resources for the next by-election, that’s just the way it is. Get out of the kitchen if you can’t stand the heat,” Sampa advised.
He bragged that his electoral triumph last Thursday was already “a foregone conclusion” to explain the unprecedented voter apathy from voters on both sides of the political spectrum.
“My analysis, yes, we need to encourage people to come and exercise their vote. I was on radio saying that, ‘everybody should go and vote’ on the actual day [July 26] when I realised that there were no queues. But from a positive angle, for me, I think it indicated that people knew that it was a foregone conclusion! The PF die-hards, most of them, just slept indoors and said, ‘ah, we’ve already won anyway! And then, the opposition also saying, ‘muntu wathu wa loza kudala’, why bother,” Sampa argued.
“If France is going to play football today with City of Lusaka [FC], people won’t travel from all over the world to come and watch that game at Woodlands Stadium because they know France, Les Bleus, will beat City of Lusaka!”
Sampa, the immediate past Matero PF lawmaker, blamed opposition voters for contributing heavily to their respective political parties’ loss.
He was reacting to the 80 per cent of voters who shunned last Thursday’s polls, illustrated in a colourful pie chart given to him by a disgruntled voter.
“I said, ‘bwana, why didn’t you campaign hard with your party to attract those who didn’t turn up to come and vote for your candidate? Because if you attracted them to come and vote, they would have voted, and those votes were more than 81,000 [actual: 81,860] that I got. So, it was your duty to encourage people to turn up and vote for your candidate. We played our part, it’s the opposition that didn’t play their part,” he noted.
He said that while he adopted an open-door policy to work with everyone, including those who didn’t vote for him, he insisted he had no time for “armchair” critics.
“Don’t just be armchair critics! People out there, especially the middle-class, this is your City! Exercise your vote – pro-Miles Sampa or against Miles Sampa – you should’ve exercised that vote. And personally, as Mayor-elect, and as we go forward, I am willing to listen and work with anybody. But I don’t think I will have so much time for armchair critics,” Sampa added.
And responding to concerns about the huge campaign funds spent by the PF amidst heightened poverty, Sampa insisted that he did not receive even a single ngwee from government coffers during the Mayoral campaigns.
He also urged his critics to not worry about the PF’s source of funding because public funds were not used.
“There was no money taken from government coffers. Government money is well-accounted for; there are accounts – Escrow 99 – where in and out monies paid; anything that is paid by any government Ministry is documented. In this campaign, I didn’t receive even one ngwee,” Sampa said.
But when Frank Mutubila, the programme’s host, immediately replied to ask if the PF’s funds derived from “well-wishers” who wanted something in return, Sampa claimed the party generates its own funds.
“No, the party itself has got sources of income,” he replied.
“Did you know, for instance, that every MP in PF, the salary they get, a certain percentage goes to the party’s secretariat? And that money, that’s the one, the SG, and are others who are signatories to the account, use for party activities so it’s self-generating. Every month, a significant amount is donated to the party by the MPs of PF. So, that’s the money the SG makes decisions to hold rallies, to campaign. That money is PF’s money, raised by PF!”
Meanwhile, when a caller, who identified himself as ‘Tembo’ challenged Sampa to explain how the US $750 million Eurobond had been used since it was issued six years ago, Sampa, who participated in securing the bond in 2012 during his time as a former deputy finance minister, assured Zambians the proceeds were being put to good use.
Tembo queried whether the newly-elected Mayor would leave the Lusaka City Council (LCC) highly-indebted in a similar manner Zambia currently is.
“Let me ask this; are we happy with the new roads now? Places like Salama [Park], now, the PF has put roads. So, you can’t have a piece of cake and eat it. To have done these roads in the last eight years or so, the country needed money, and that’s the Eurobond money. We borrowed, and, yes, we did the roads,” responded Sampa.
He also thanked his competitors, particularly the People’s Alliance for Change’s (PAC) Mayoral candidate Mundia Mukubesa, commonly known as Petersen, for his magnanimity in conceding defeat.
Petersen polled an impressive third with 7,745 votes or 5.88 per cent of the vote behind second-placed Pastor Kangwa Chileshe on the UPND ticket who got 36,716 votes.