On Monday, Operation Young Vote (OYV) executive director Guess Nyirenda rose on a point of order at the on-going National Dialogue Forum, asking the chair to rule whether Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe was in order to attend the meeting in a disturbing manner that suggested that she was either very drunk or sick.
According to eyewitnesses, Mwanakatwe attended the Saturday afternoon plenary session in a suspected drunken stupor as she struggled to walk unaided, and kept dozing before she was helped out of the auditorium by some sympathisers.
When she attended the Monday plenary session, the minister was captured looking like she was still in a drunken stupor as she dosed through the proceedings.
Commenting on the story in an interview, Kamwbili said being drunk as a leader in the PF government was normal practice which he said was actually encouraged by the President himself.
“This government is a government of drunkards. The president is a drunkard, the minister is a drunkard. So nobody can warn the other. And this is very normal, it’s a tradition in Zambia. The other day I was reading in the paper where the same Finance Minister was saying ‘government is concerned with the rising external debt.’ What kind of nonsense is that? You are the same person who signed for the borrowing and you start saying government is concerned? If you are concerned [then] stop borrowing and do the right thing,” Kambwii said.
“You know this idea of issuing statements when people are drunk without realising what they are saying must come to an end because we have become a laughing stock. So I am not shocked and I knew that no action was going to be taken. How can a Minister of Finance say government is concerned about this rising debt as if there are some people who borrow and then ask government to pay? It is the same government and the same Finance Minister who signs on all loans.”
He said there would be no way international money lenders could entrust their monies to a country with drunken leadership.
“When you get intoxicated, your mind is impaired to some extent. So how can you make normal decisions when you are intoxicated? It’s a laughing matter. You know, when God wants to remove you from authority, alabalowa icilafi and they start doing things without direction. And this is a stage where we have reached. It’s God’s plan to show the Zambian people that this is a failed leadership. So it’s up to the Zambians now to see who you have in authority, when the economy is at its lowest helm and then you have a drunkard for a finance minister you can go in public like that. So [the money lenders such as the IMF and the World Bank] can’t lend their money because their money is not safe in the hands of drunkards,” Kambwili said.
“And that is why we have to remove this government out of power. That is why they want to teach nyu nya, nyu nya nyo ngu in schools because they have run out of ideas. They think that they can develop Zambia. By justice, a king or ruler gives a country its stability but those who are greedy from bribes tear it down, Proverbs 29 vs 4.”
Meanwhile Kambwili appealed to government to increase the grant allocation towards public universities and colleges so as to cover the gap caused by the recently reduced user fees.
“When we have been telling them that this borrowing is unsustainable [but] they have been saying that its sustainable but the offshoot of sustainable external debt has started showing its ugly face on the service provision. Because right now when you go to the hospital it is prescription for everything including Panado. And I laughed, I was telling these people that there is no way you can make education so expensive by asking parents to pay so exorbitant fees for colleges, secondary schools etc, and that when we come as NDC, we will make sure that parents will be paying commensurate to their earning. And now you know these people are not the architects of all these things, [David] Mabumba rushes to reduce the fees. Now the question is, ‘what happens with that gap that is left after reducing? Because for us the plan was that once we reduce what the parents will be paying, we are going to increase the grants to these schools so that we maintain the standards,” said Kambwili.
“Now this government is so broke that it is failing to pay even the little grants. I would want Mabumba to tell us how they are going to balance this reduction, who is going to pay for that difference in the budget? What I am seeing is a lot of chipante-pante (doing things anyhow). [They are doing] copy and paste [Just] because Kambwili has said he will reduce school fees, they copy and paste without really looking into the pros and cons of that decision. I urge this government [that] if they are serious, yes we need the reduction in the field and I welcome the reduction because it was my idea, but please increase the grants to these schools and make sure that on a monthly basis grants are sent to these schools so that we don’t see falling standards in these schools.”