Ikelengi UPND member of parliament Elijah Muchima says it is difficult for opposition MPs to develop their various constituencies because the PF used the police to harass them.
On Monday, Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister Ronald Chitotela told the Zambia Daily Mail that opposition MPs had crafted a ploy of deliberately not developing their constituencies using CDF so that the electorate can shift the blame on government for underdevelopment.
But Muchima told News Diggers! in an interview that developing the country was the duty of government, through the Treasury.
“Who is in charge of taking development to a constituency? Is it not the responsibility of the government? It is the government that has got the Treasury, development is associated with the Treasury. What they are doing is all the monies to the Treasury, they have kept it to themselves. They want people to start begging and yet the taxes come from everywhere, especially like in North-Western (Province), we are the most contributors to the Treasury. Now, this PF does not even understand democracy. Democracy is taking into account different views, the opposition and the ruling, they should take a leaf from the administration of late president Mwanawasa. He never looked at a place [to say] ‘no they didn’t vote for me, they should vote for me,’ but they are looking at that and using it to blindfold people that ‘we can only take money to an area [where] unless you voted for them,” Muchima said.
“What development can I even take [to my constituency] if they have kept the money to themselves? I have been a minister in MMD and were giving CDF without begging. This CDF here is through begging and you heard that we have been threatening them, even with other PF MPs and ourselves, that we will not pass the budget [and] that is why they released it. It is not even flowing like the way it used to flow in MMD. [Since] PF election, how many times have they released CDF? One thing they should be reminded is that it’s not their money, they are supposed to distribute it equally. They are selfish people!”
Muchima said government expected opposition members of parliament to be begging for resources.
“They want us to be begging for things, which are obvious, we can’t beg for things, which are from the Treasury, that is not governance. I think even developed countries are even laughing at them, that is why this government is broke because of poor policies, poor governance issues. Otherwise, they are behaving as if we are in the stone age. And then if that is the case, why can’t they only be collecting taxes from the areas where they were voted for? Because that is theft, they are stealing money from us, that money from North-Western is supposed to be in North-Western if that is the case. That is unacceptable! Any useful leader is not supposed to look at which is what. A good leader is supposed to spread tentacles from all areas of the country. But if you want to only concentrate from your constituency, then ask for a vote from your constituency. It’s very unfortunate the way PF has taken issues in this country,” he said.
Muchima said it was hard to deliver, as an opposition member of parliament, amidst police intimidation.
“And even for us MPs to go to our constituencies, they are using the police to arrest us! All that is barbaric, it is unacceptable, it is the leadership that is rotten, completely rotten leadership that can be using the police who are spending tax payers’ money to be intimidating everyone. That is not how democracy is, they should learn from other countries, just because of the primitivity that has surrounded the PF, that is the way they are applying law only to their satisfaction. But I am telling you they will have a rude shock in 2021,” said Muchima.