Presidential Empowerment Fund Initiative patron Chanda Kabwe says those fond of criticising the initiative should just shut their mouths if they have nothing alternative to offer the needy.

Last week, NDC secretary general Mwenya Musenge issued a statement questioning the Presidential Empowerment Initiative Fund, alleging that it was money obtained from proceeds of crime.

But Kabwe dismissed the allegation, insisting that those questioning the initiative were only greedy people who couldn’t mind their own business.

“The problem is people don’t mind their business. What is wrong with helping somebody who is in need? So, if them they are greedy [and] they don’t want to share, let them be. We cannot be talking over the same issue year in-year out. It is a revolving fund! You can start with K2 and grow the revolving fund. I don’t think there is a problem if you grow the revolving fund. And a vision attracts people. When people see that what you are doing is noble, people will come and help. Why other people are not helping is because they are greedy! So, for us, our business is not what people are saying. The business is, ‘are we doing a right thing?’ Are we helping to change lives? If we are helping to change lives, we will continue. If we are hurting people, [or if] we are not helping people, we will stop,” Kabwe said in an interview.

Kabwe, who is also Central Province Permanent Secretary, said he would not stop serving the people because of unproductive sentiments from critics.

He challenged those questioning the empowerment fund to point at what they did to help people at the time they served as government officials.

“So, it is about serving others. And some of these people who are speaking the loudest, they had a privilege to be in offices. Others served as ministers, let them point at one thing, [which] they helped somebody apart from their relatives! For me as patron, I am very proud with the programme; the programme is helping people; the programme is changing lives of the people and will continue. And even if you give me a bell of Salaula (second hand clothes) to go and help people in Mporokoso or Shangombo [districts] [and] you don’t want your name to be mentioned, am I going to refuse that bell of Salaula? I won’t refuse. I will go and take that Salaula. So, for us it’s about service and not politics. People should concentrate on productive things. Every day, it’s ‘Lungu, Lungu.’ I think it’s high time that people started thinking about productive things,” Kabwe observed.

He invited stakeholders with capacity to help others to join the initiative.

“There is so much that we need to do as Zambians than talking all the time. You know, talking promotes laziness! It is better you spend your energy of talking on productive things. No one has stopped anyone from helping anyone. If people can share what they have, please let them go and help. There is a saying, which says, ‘there is no one who is too rich to receive and there is no one who is too poor to share.’ When we started this programme in 2015, it was: ‘no it’s campaign’ and today we are still talking about the same thing! This man (President Edgar Lungu) is helping people, and if you are [too] in a better position, please just start helping people, also. I advise them to come on board if they have the capacity, even K1 bring, we will put it to good use. Us, we are helping people. We are not using money to send youths to go and destroy things, to go and insult people or to use them as tools of violence, no! We are using the little resources that we have to change somebody’s life. So, if people have nothing to say, let them keep quiet, they can shut their mouths!” exclaimed Chanda.