UPND vice-president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba has advised opposition members of parliament to prepare a motion against the newly-introduced 30 ngwee Internet tariff, saying Zambians have rejected it.
And Mwamba says the Patriotic Front government cannot discipline Konkola Copper Mines even if the mining company does not pay its suppliers and contractors because most government officials have been dining with KCM bosses.
In an interview with News Diggers! Mwamba said it was dictatorial for President Edgar Lungu to start imposing taxes on Zambians without subjecting them to a debate in Parliament.
“First and foremost, government needs to tell us how that tariff came about. I don’t think anyone understands how the Internet tariff came about. And then secondly, in any functioning democracy, or indeed in any country where leaders have got any regard for the law, that thing [the Internet tariff] should have been subjected to a debate in Parliament. People, through their representatives, should have argued whether or not they wanted the Internet usage to be taxed. But because we have a President who is just a little dictator that doesn’t understand anything, Bills are just being imposed on people every day! Lungu doesn’t care, for him, everything is okay as long as it doesn’t affect him. Lungu is a dictator, what he is doing by imposing the 30 ngwee tariff on citizens, which they haven’t accepted is dictatorship, those are traits of dictatorship. Because clearly, that 30 ngwee tax has been rejected, even members of the public, who are not even members of the UPND, have come out strongly to say the Internet tariff does not make sense, it doesn’t,” Mwamba said.
“The taxes in this country are just too much; I wouldn’t be surprised if tomorrow PF introduced a toilet tariff where Zambians will now have to pay for answering of the nature at their own home! You can’t just understand this government because, really, what just needs to happen is that, the Internet Bill should be taken to Parliament so that people can agree on the way forward about that Bill, that’s what we need. Not the President making phone calls to his ministers dictating how Bills should be implemented without proper consultation with the people, no! So, I would like to encourage members of parliament, especially those from the opposition that, as the House resumes sitting, please prepare to take a motion to Parliament to disprove the enactment of that Internet Bill, we don’t need it, we have not accepted it because we are not convinced that it’s necessary. That Bill needs to pass through Parliament, even if we know that PF has got the numbers and they can allow that Bill to pass, it still needs to be debated because that’s procedure.”
And Mwamba, the former Kasama Central PF lawmaker, said government was incapable of disciplining KCM because government officials were afraid of “biting the finger that feeds them”.
“PF cannot say [anything] about KCM because they have eaten their money, they can’t bite the finger that feeds them. We know that these ministers in PF have been sharing the proceeds from the mines, so what do you think they can tell KCM if it failed to pay its suppliers and contractors? Nothing! Because they are all scared that if they discipline them, then they will not get their commission from the next contract! That’s why the only way Zambians will get out of this is to vote [for] our party [UPND] in 2021. Let’s remove this lying PF once and for all! I can assure you that, we will not tolerate such kind of behaviour from investors when we get into office. And Zambians must understand that life will only get worse as long as PF continues to be in power,” warned Mwamba.