National Democratic Congress (NDC) leader Chishimba Kambwili says he expects President Edgar Lungu to lead by example in adhering to important austerity measures his government is currently implementing to prove his commitment to the pronouncement.
And Kambwili says President Lungu is just using inspection of developmental projects as an excuse to play around, charging that the Head of State only gets an opportunity to drink and play around when he leaves State House.
While in Kasama last week President Lungu wondered how citizens expected austerity measures to affect the President, but Kambwili said a Head of State is expected to lead by example, not playing around in the name of touring projects.
“There is no austerity measure in the world where you can exclude the office of the President, to me that’s a lot of nonsense! The President must lead by example; if there are austerity measures, he must be saying: ‘look, I was supposed to go to New York, but I will not go. Instead I have sent a minister who doesn’t need a larger entourage; I was supposed to go and commission a hospital, but I will let the District Commissioner there to commission it because then, there will be no travelling, there will no fuel and there will be no allowances.’ But I have told you that President Lungu is a missed call in as far as the Presidency is concerned and the man must be ashamed of himself!” Kambwili said.
“But sometimes, I blame the people who manage him; how can the President say austerity measures shouldn’t affect him? That news will not only be confined to the four corners of Zambia, it will go to the rest of the world. Now, if the donors, the IMF and other people are supposed to be helping us are reading that the President said he’s excluded from austerity measures, surely, how can they be able to help? I really feel sorry for that man and he will suffer when he leaves office.”
Kambwili insisted that President Lungu was not ready to be President and does not understand the job of a President.
“When you traverse this country, you will find a lot of infrastructure that was built in the UNIP government and MMD government and most that infrastructure was opened by permanent secretaries, ministers and mayors. That was because Kaunda and everyone who was there before knew that the President cannot be there all the time because travelling of a President is extremely expensive. But this one (President Lungu), he doesn’t care about the suffering of the people and the financial implications of all the things that he does. For him, he’s just busy campaigning for 2021. This man is not even a team player, ministers work on behalf of the President, and that being the case, ministers need to be left to do their job. But this man has become a commissioner of projects, but at what cost?” Kambwili asked.
He added that President Lungu was using project inspection as an excuse to leave State House.
“And something the people of Zambia don’t know, mainly when he (Lungu) leaves State House, that’s when he has an opportunity to drink and play around! So, it’s not about inspecting developmental projects. He has got a a special assistant for project monitoring and evaluation. So, why should the President be all over inspecting projects? Because he’s just supposed to get a report from his assistant. Unless it’s something compelling on a particular project that’s when the President must go himself. We have only heard of the President going to Kasama to inspect projects under Lungu, did you ever hear of that during Michael Sata’s time? Did you ever hear of that during Chiluba or Mwanawasa’s time? This man is a wrong man to be in that office, and if Zambians don’t learn from this and they give him another five years, by the time he leaves office, there will be no money in the Treasury,” charged Kambwili.
“What is this nonsense of people always being at the airport to see off the President? I am sure you remember that when I was in government, you never saw me at the airport. Mr Sata used to tell us that: ‘there is no need of all of you people coming to line up to see me off at the airport. Those who have time and would want, they can come,’ but it was not mandatory. But this time, every time the President is travelling, there is a letter from State House to ministers and Permanent Secretaries to be at the airport when the President is leaving. We are tired of this rhetoric and careless statements coming from State House where you are looking at Zambians like they are very dull and stupid!”
And reacting to the President’s announcement that he would decide whether or not to stand in 2021 once his current mandate ended, Kambwili said the President was not eligible to stand in the next election.
“He’s not eligible. If, himself, he’s saying a third term, he knows that in Zambia, there is no President who can go for a third term. So, this man knows, he just wants to break the law with impunity! But as Zambians, we should say no to a third term,” said Kambwili.