Mbabala UPND member of parliament Ephraim Belemu says there is nothing sophisticated about the US $4.3 million Michael Chilufya Sata Toll Plaza because it is just a booth where people sit and merely collect fees.

Last week, Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister Ronald Chitotela attempted to justify the US$4.3 million Michael Chilufya Sata Toll Plaza’s cost saying it had superior, sophisticated infrastructure, which would not compromise revenue collection at the facility.

But speaking when he featured on UNZA Radio’s Lusaka Star programme yesterday, Belemu challenged government officials to own up about the true expenditure of the tollgate.

“What is so sophisticated about a booth to collect money from? A shelter for people to sit and collect fees you are calling it sophisticated? People must learn to own up and shut up if they can’t apologise! At least what we expected was for people to apologise and somebody to be taken to task for embarking on such a project. Now, since they don’t have a conscience, they don’t have capacity in their own reasoning, they don’t have correct way of seeing things, the best they can do is to shut up. If that money was spent in improving one of our border posts, that would have been justified,” Belemu said.

“Even where they get these concepts, you go and copy correctly. Unfortunately, PF doesn’t even have the capacity to copy. When you are in South Africa, you have an option to use a road that has no toll fees. You can divert. It’s an option.”

Belemu wondered what was so unique about the infrastructure in Zambia that it must always be extremely expensive.

And Belemu said assertions that people had been incited to demonstrate against government last week were an insult to citizens.

“Assertions that people are being incited to demonstrate or show displeasure over what government is doing is an insult to citizens! It is telling you of the shrinking space for people to express themselves. Allowing people to demonstrate peacefully in a democracy is very important. Who doesn’t know [that] if you are an adult, and you have a house that, mealie meal [prices] have gone up? Do you need another person to come and tell you that the price of mealie meal now has gone up,” he wondered.

Meanwhile, Belemu said he would fish out a report from Parliament that proved that ZAFFICO had been sold and give it to Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya to resign following her challenge to party president Hakainde Hichilema.

“By this afternoon or tomorrow, I will give her a report, adopted by Parliament, which proves that ZAFFICO land has been taken and used for mining and sold,” he said.

Belemu argued that the UPND was not just politicking, but wanted to use the opportunity to help Zambians.

“As UPND, we are not there just to politick and then want to form government. We want to use that opportunity to help Zambians. Not to get power just because you want to buy a suit, fly in an airplane, want to eat the food that you missed all these years; that you were practicing law and then you got clients’ money. It’s about using it to do what’s good for the nation,” Belemu explained.

He insisted that Zambia was currently being exploited by China because there was something wrong with government.

“People are coming into your house to remove every small furniture and then you are saying; ‘this is my trading partner.’ They are not trading partners; they are just picking things from you because you are unwise. It’s about capacity to negotiate correct deals, being sincere about the deals you enter with a particular country and how those deals are constructed in terms of what comes in the economy. It’s question of a government that clearly has no capacity to deliver goods and services,” said Belemu.