NDC Leader Chishimba Kambwili says there is no law that supports President Edgar Lungu’s move to cut salaries for public servants and parastatal heads.
And Kambwili who is former chief government spokesperson says his government will kill citizens by overburdening them with escalating standards of living.
At a press briefing held at his Luanshya residence, Sunday, Kambwili said the law does not give the Head of State absolute power to make a decision to cut public servant’s salaries through a directive.
“The law does not give the President the power to absolutely make that decision. Lungu had no powers to order salary reductions in the manner he did. It would illegal. And also, Zambians don’t need a salary reduction, they need an increase in the salaries. Even if the President reduces his salary, it will not affect him because he doesn’t even need to know how much he gets or where it goes because everything including beverages at State House are paid for by the state. His children’s holidays are paid for by the state. His wife’s movements are paid by the state. Ministers live by their allowances and that’s why you see them all over. We saw the Minister of Health in Siavonga inspecting it there is medicine there but do you need a minister for that? When a Minister travels like that, he is entitled to K1,900 allowance. What we need is to stop these ministers from galavanting aimlessly. Jobs that can be done by the DC, leave them to the DCs to check if there is medicine and issue a statement,” he said.
“Do we need the President everyday to go and commission roads, clinics, hospitals, because when the President travels, he goes with a contingent of security personnel who are all paid allowances. He travels with officials who are all paid allowances…today everything has to be opened by the President because we are practicing what I am calling political appeasement and we are in the campaign gear all the time and that is why we have neglected to resolve the issues this country is facing because the preoccupation of government is only to make sure that they do things so that people think they are working.”
And Kamwili said it was unfortunate that the PF has been destroyed beyond recognition.
“PF has been destroyed and my heart bleeds to see that PF is where it is today. We suffered some of us to build PF. We spent our own personal money to build PF which today is being abused by Lusambo, Dora Siliya and those who came from MMD. You have completely destroyed PF and PF has now become a laughingstock. PF is losing popularity everyday. Surely, how can you give people a new year present PF hiked electricity tariffs, hiked fuel prices? What a way of celebrating Christmas. What a way of going into the New Year. Yes, we do appreciate that Zesco needs to have cost reflective tariffs but this can be done gradually. Mwebantu mwala ipaya abantu (you are going to kill people). You are going to milk the people to the bone and there will be no cow to produce the milk. Abantu balecula (people are suffering),” Kambwili said.
“You have not provided for any salary increment in the budget but you have increased electricity, you have increased the price of fuel. Do you sometimes remain silent and meditate and think about where the people are going to get the extra money to pay he extra costs that you are now putting on the people?…The problems we have now in the country is that PF and President Lungu are more occupied with 2021. We don’t need politics. We have concentrated too much on politicking. Where we have reached if we are not careful, we will fall into a point of no return. We may find ourselves in a situation of Zimbabwe or Liberia. To come out of these crisis, we need a concerted efforts and serious reflection on the kind of politics we have.”
He suggested ways of reducing the cost of fuel and electricity.
“My solution to the electricity and fuel crisis is as follows: temporarily suspend duty on fuel, remove fuel levy, fuel levy was introduced for the purpose of maintaining the roads. Now that you have the toll gates, which is also a mistake. You have introduced the toll gates for the sole purpose of raising money for the roads, why should you keep fuel levy? If you remove fuel levy, suspend import duty for the meantime while the economy is not doing very well, the price of fuel is going to come down. Because what will happen is that next year, 2020, the price of mealie meal will be about K200, sugar, which is about K34 today will be above K50. Cooking oil which we are buying for about K110 will be about K170 for 5 liters because electricity and fuel are at the core of production,” Kambwili said.
And Kambwili said no amount of mobilisation could help PF if the cost of living remained high between now and 2021.
“Two years before elections, PF begins political mobilisation. We need economic mobilisation…PF is too preoccupied with winning the 2021 elections. This story of mobilisation, stop it! After all, PF doesn’t need mobilisation. PF is already mobilised. You cannot mobilise people who have lost hope. No matter how you go into the townships to mobilise and give handouts, you are just making yourselves suffer. Until you start doing the fundamentals that will uplift the living standards of the people between now and 2021 otherwise, like Bikiloni (comedian) said, nama Canter muyafake mu (park the trucks in) reverse in preparation to start leaving those houses you are occupying. So stop this mobilisation story, we need solutions,” he said.
He said some projects government had embarked on were unnecessary.
“Some of the things that they are doing are unnecessary. For instance, today they are putting security cameras in Lusaka and I am reliably informed that this is going to cost over US$50 million. Is it necessary for a poor country like Zambia to start putting CCTV cameras? What benefit will it be to my mother who pays tax in Mporokoso? What my mother needs is to go to the hospital and find drugs, not CCTV cameras,” said Kambwili.