Rainbow Party general secretary Wynter Kabimba says it is a pity that Chanda Kasolo was fired for speaking the truth because by law, no one should have their salaries reduced without consenting.
And Kabimba says President Edgar Lungu’s salary reduction is just a public relations statement which will not have any economic impact.
Meanwhile, Kabimba United States Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote was not recalled because the Zambian government demanded it, but because of other reasons.
Speaking when he featured on United Voice radio’s “Add Your Voice” programme, Wednesday, Kabimba said Kasolo was right.
“It is a very good decision that the President has decided to reduce his salary. What is difficult to understand is how he extended that to others who didn’t ask to have their salaries reduced. I know he can’t fire me because I am not a PS (permanent secretary) but he fired [Chanda] Kasolo. Chanda Kasolo was right. Under the Employment Act, you can’t reduce my salary without my consent. I must sign a consent that my salary must be reduced. It’s a pity that Kasolo was fired when he was right legally,” Kabimba said.
“Maybe politically, he was not right but legally, he was right. Maybe since he was holding a political job, he should have been conscious of that. I think he sought legal advice from somewhere but they forgot to tell him that ‘but even as you say this, don’t forget that this is a political appointment.’ So they showed him the door. Sorry, my brother, I hope you can find another job.”
And Kabimba said President Lungu’s 20 per cent salary cut would not have any impact on the country’s economy.
“I was trying to work out the figures [on the President’s salary reduction]. What impact will this have on the economy? It’s just a PR thing by the President. It won’t change anything. And when did he say that? About a week ago. Since he said it, the kwacha was at K13.50 to the dollar and it is at K14 today to the dollar. So, it just shows you that that decision has no impact on the realities of the economy,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kabimba said Ambassador Foote was recalled for other reasons.
“Ambassador Foote is not going back because the Zambian government has said ‘take him back.’ There are other reasons why he has left. It’s just a coincidence that the man is going back on the heels of this wrangle between the Zambian government and the statement that he made. Who has the courage to send back an American Ambassador? Which African president? Tell me. Let’s be serious and honest about issues. If you see a cat pushing an elephant, I am sure you will be shocked because the risk is obvious,” Kabimba said.
He said it was shameful that 55 years after independence, most African countries had continued asking for budget support from the donor community.
“Nkrumah’s argument was that ‘now that we have attained economic independence, let us move a step forward and attain economic independence.’ Nobody listened to him at the time but he was right. The people that took over from them have never raised this issue. They are fighting for Africa to have a seat on the UN Security Council. So what? Even if you got the seat on the UN Security Council, if you are poor, what are you going to talk about? Your poverty doesn’t change. So, they got their priorities wrong. What is at the core of this is economic independence that after 55 years of independence, and after 60 years of independence for some of the African countries, we can continue to be moving around, ball in hand, going to the so-called donors and asking for budget support. I was reading the latest African report and it was interesting that Uganda is looking for US $2.2 billion to support its budget,” he said.
Kabimba also charged that corruption had crept into institutions which were established to fight corruption.
“This country is bankrupt. We have not been told the truth about the depth of the economic problems…Old Michael [Sata] tried to fight corruption and he was very firm about that and I think people were afraid to get involved in corrupt activities. But I think the situation has changed. There is no country where there is no element of corruption. The problem with our country and many African countries is that [corruption] is systematic. It’s a big cancer. We ought to fight corruption with vigour in Zambia because any dollar that is stolen or any kwacha that is stolen shakes the foundation of our economy. The institutions themselves which were set up to fight corruption are not as strong and I am sorry to say that corruption has crept into those institutions, unfortunately. So you are asking a thief to catch a thief and when they meet, they clinch a deal,” said Kabimba.