UPND deputy spokesperson Patricia Mwashingwele has challenged President Edgar Lungu to name the people who he says have accepted the 30 Ngwee internet calling tariff because even his party members have rejected it.

And UPND says it is time Zambians put their foot down and stopped the PF from robbing them in broad daylight.

On Sunday, President Lungu directed the Ministry of Communications to finalise the statutory instrument to effect the 30 Ngwee internet calling tariff saying people have already accepted it.

But in an interview, Monday, Mwashingwele wondered which people President Lungu was referring to.

“Can you challenge Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu to tell us which people have accepted?” Mwashingwele asked.

“Everyone has rejected including his own PF members. So when he says people, who are the people? Because we the Zambians, I am speaking on behalf of the UPND and we rejected it. His own permanent secretary told him that there was a hiccup with the way the tariff was announced. It means even the technocrats are not comfortable with the way it was done so who are the people? Can you find out from Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, who are the people?”

Mwashingwele observed that President Lungu was being dictatorial on the matter.

“He cannot just say this decision is final just because 30 people in a Cabinet meeting decided then he says people have accepted? No! The people’s representatives in Parliament must also be consulted. Does he want the SI to come and fail on the floor of the House? Is that how he does consultation? He must not be a dictator, Lungu must not dictate, he must consult. So when he comes out strongly to say the people have accepted the 30 Ngwee charge, we are saying no!” she exclaimed.

“The decision is not final! We need broader consultation and he must know the consequences this 30 Ngwee is going to have on people. And the technocrats have said that, why is he not respecting the technocrats? As a president of a nation, he must not be dictatorial. We live in a democracy and so he must act on behalf of the people.”

Mwashingwele observed that the PF had extended its taxing to the unemployed.

“Firstly, we don’t have jobs, look at how many youths are unemployed. Then the few Zambians who are employed are taxed left, right and centre. Now because they are not making money from those that are legally employed, they want to now go to the villager who has no employment. Because when you look at the borehole thing, it is taxing people who are drinking the water. If you look at the 30 ngwee, it is taxing the people who are on the ground, people who don’t work. So where does he expect the people to get the money? These are the things we are talking about. Every Zambian is feeling the pinch, whether employed or not employed. And the PF was saying ‘low taxes, low taxes’, what low taxes are these?” she asked.

And Mwashingwele said it was time Zambians stopped the PF from robbing them in broad daylight.

“Every Zambian is crying, every worker, non worker is crying because they are also being pulled into the issue of taxes. And this I am calling it daylight robbery, they are stealing from the people. Instead of giving back to the people, they are taking everything. And now the president is even dictating ‘the decision is final’ what final? Has he consulted the poor people on the ground? No! We need to take on PF seriously. We have given them too much space to steal from the people, now, we need to put our foot down as a country,” said Mwashingwele.

“I think we are not going to take this issue lightly. He even goes further to say even installing these highway cameras is also final. Why is he just dictating? Is it because he has a benefit from this? Is that what he is trying to tell the people? We want consultative decisions and if they don’t know how to make money as PF, they must find a way of making money to pay back the loans, not to be charging Zambians every day. They were told from the onset that these Eurobonds are going to kill the people and now they want to charge us for everything. So we are saying no!”