NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili says the people of Zambia should stop government from borrowing US $2 billion for the construction of the Chipata-Serenje railway line because it is unnecessary.

Last week, Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister Vincent Mwale said government was in the process of obtaining a financial loan agreement of US $2.03 billion from the Exim Bank of China to commence the construction of the Chipata-Serenje railway line.

Responding to a written question by Mkaika MMD member of parliament Peter Phiri, who wanted to know when the construction of Chipata-Serenje Railway Line would commence and who the contractor for the project was as well as the cost, Mwale said: “Construction of the Chipata-Serenje railway line would commence after financial closure was reached between government and the Exim Bank of China. The contractor is China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation. As at 2018, the total estimated cost of the project was US $2.03 billion.”

But speaking at Changanamai grounds in Kitwe, Saturday, Kambwili wondered why government wanted to invest in a railway line when it had failed to run them.

“They have failed to run TAZARA and Zambia railways and then they want to borrow US $2bn to build a railway from Chipata to Serenje, what kind of thinking is that? Why are you Zambians quiet? They want to build that railway line to get commissions. Stand up and stop that nonsense! When they borrow that money and start building a railway line, it will not be used, it will fail. You the Zambian people will be the ones to pay that money. How long do you think it will take for you to pay back that money?” Kambwili asked.

“The repayment charges will go up, there won’t be money to have medicines in hospitals, money to run schools and pay civil servants. Instead, tell the government not to borrow that money and invest in agriculture, like the Mpongwe Development Farm.”

Kambwili charged that government was not giving tenders to European companies to build roads in the country because they were not corrupt.

“A long time ago, people that used to make roads were from Europe. There is no corruption in Europe, they know that if they give a tender to Europeans, they will not benefit. That is the reason they are giving China. And you are here saying there is development, they are building roads, bale mi shinga butter pamenso (they are lying to you)!” Kambwili exclaimed.

“And those roads they are making, they are called asphalt roads, it is cake like they just spread it on the road. Now in this country, we have three seasons and if it gets hot, it expands when it is cold, it contracts and when it rains, the road will be damaged. Why would they want to borrow money for roads that will only last for four years? You will remain paying for that money and President Edgar Lungu will no longer be the President. That money he is making from corruption and commissions he will be living comfortably.”