Mazabuka Central UPND member of parliament Gary Nkombo says if the party had forced him to resign from his position as parliamentary whip because he was under investigation for murder, he would not be chairperson for elections.

And Nkombo says Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe should have told the nation how the 2018 national budget performed before presenting next year’s financial plan.

Speaking when he featured on a live programme on Millennium Radio, Monday, Nkombo said he was still chairperson for elections because he was in good books with the party.

He was responding to a question on whether he retired as parliamentary whip because he was summoned by police.

“I made the appeal to the (party) president [Hakainde Hichilema] three months ago and said to him: ‘sir, I think that I’m overloaded, I need to concentrate on elections, I would like you to find somebody’ and in that same three months, a lot of consultation was being made and it was a collective decision that we settled on Dr [Situmbeko] Musokotwane. And so, the announcement just coincided with the [police] call-out and if that be the case that there is a bearing on the matter, I’m still the elections chairman. Why did they not then ask me to leave the portfolio of elections chairman? I’m still the elections chairman in as far as I’m concerned. The police call-out to me I’d like to look at it as a normal line of duty of police. Should it have any political undertones or inclinations, we will get to cross the bridge when we get there because don’t forget that a subject like this, if they find any evidence, it has to be presented before a (court of) law of competent jurisdiction. And so there is no connection,” Nkombo said.

And Nkombo lamented that Mwanakatwe failed to articulate the 2018 budget’s performance as she presented next year’s budget.

“When Mwanakatwe came to read this budget, she should have told the nation that ‘last year’s budget was K71.6 billion, of this K71.6 billion, our estimated revenues were so much and the programmes that were drawn were so much, and this is what we delivered.’ There was nothing she said about how the performance of last year’s budget was,” Nkombo said.

He further observed that there were no tangible deliveries in the announced budget.

“You can read a flamboyant budget like the President [Edgar] Lungu I heard him say [that] ‘the budget was sparka’ whatever that sparka means. Sparka must translate into real tangible deliverables. If I were to be more critical, I am inviting Zambians to say last year there was a budget, which was K71 point something billion. It had to get the component of revenue in expenditure. This is what I’m talking about that the execution of a budget is of prime importance to the person, the citizen who is sitting down there,” he said.

He criticised the huge allocation to the Ministry of Defence when the country is not at war.

“Government must make sure that the infrastructure that supports education should be put in place. In health, they have done poorly; in education…We have what we call the Maputo Declaration, which was done in 2008. This is a document, which was done by African Heads of States, to make sure that agriculture budgeting must comprise at least 10 per cent of the national budget because agriculture is food, and food is life. I want you to know that when I looked at the component of what they have put in agriculture and Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) and also strategic food reserves, which is not even agriculture because the market of grain can be done even without FRA, that we should know. You asked me about the Public Order Act; why put K6 billion [Actual: K5.1 billion]? Are we at war? Because the budget here that I am reading is saying that they have put K2 billion in Public Order Act and I think K5 billion in defence. Defending what? This money should come to health, it should come to education because there is no war here,” said Nkombo.