National Restoration Party NAREP president Elias Chipimo says President Edgar Lungu’s “working visits” to various parts of the country are nothing but a kick start to his campaign for a third term of office.

Recently, President Lungu went on working visits to the Copperbelt, Western, Central and Luapula Provinces, where he inspected some developmental projects.

But in an interview, Chipimo said it was disappointing that the PF government was on a desperate spending spree to ensure their stay in power in 2021.

“What is happening at the moment is that the President is on a spending spree and effectively on a campaign. Make no mistake about it, the campaign for re-election, the campaign for the third term has already started and this is what is going on,” Chipimo said.

“We need to step back, it is unfortunate there doesn’t seem to be a connection between the problems we are facing and the solutions that are required. The PF is simply trying to increase expenditure as much as possible only to facilitate their stay in power, that’s all. And they will never fully understand and fully comprehend the responsibility they have. You know, it is unfortunate that they are leading the country at the moment so we are left with no choice but to stomach this but in 2021, the Zambian people must be make a wise choice.”

He said it would be prudent to cut down on travel costs in the spirit of austerity measures.

“Right now we are in serious deficit as a nation. We are owing huge amounts of money to various organisations, institutions and governments and we are not making enough to be able to cover those costs so in reality, we are going to have to borrow in order to refinance and renegotiate the current debts that are there. So we send all the wrong signals when we continue to incur expenses locally particularly when it comes to travel. This one of the biggest expenditure items when we look at expenditure which we can cut out which is unnecessary,” urged Chipimo.

“There is no austerity that we can speak of. Austerity must start with a personal habbit and practices of the individuals who are tasked to bringing order and that is the PF government. So if you compare ourselves with Tazania and you see what President [John] Magufuli, one of his initial actions was to ban all travels by Ministers and other people that tended to travel. Why? Because he felt that the representatives in those countries of Tazania could adequately take care of the attendances of conferences and other events where Ministers were invited. Now it is not ideal but it is ideal if you want to save money. When you are in a desperate situation, you will actually need to take strong measures to counter the out flow of funds.”