Democratic Party (DP) leader Harry Kalaba says President Edgar Lungu has reversed all the gains which previous presidents made in tackling corruption, charging that the vice has soared to unprecedented levels.
And Kalaba has advised Cabinet ministers who want nothing to do with the corruption going on in PF that now is the right time to resign.
Speaking at a press briefing, Thursday, Kalaba said corruption had soared to unprecedented levels under President Lungu’s tenure of office.
“I have faced the wrath of the PF’s machete world of cadres, who are unleashed on those who seem to share divergent views from those of their masters. Youths, today, are being used as tools of violence when they should be economic drivers. Over the last five years of the Lungu regime, we have seen the reversed gains of president Michael Sata, President Patrick Mwanawasa; president Rupiah Banda; president Fredrick Chiluba and president Kenneth Kaunda. He has managed to reverse all the gains that were made! Corruption has soared to unprecedented levels with those who walk the corridors of power making demands, even in the name of the Head of State! National trophies are being plundered at an unprecedented rate and if we don’t put a stop to this capture, we will have nothing left for our children’s children,” Kalaba cautioned.
Kalaba feared that civil servants countrywide would have casualties as a result of not receiving their salaries on time because government was broke.
“As DP, we have observed that it is going be a hard year for ordinary citizens! We anticipate that civil servants will have casualties as a result of not receiving their salaries on time; we are aware that the economy is going be gloomy as a result of the county’s lack resources. The PF government is a broke government, and because it is broke, it is not going to make any meaningful impact. They have a lot of ground-breaking ceremonies left, right and centre, which will not result into anything because they have no money to begin or commence the creation of those programmes. The increase in electricity tariffs, as well as the increase on pump prices of diesel and fuel, will have a negative effect on people’s livelihoods because fuel, being the engine of the economic growth, is going to impact on all the social sectors of the economy. Even mealie meal prices will go up as a result of the increase in electricity tariffs as well as fuel. The increase in tariffs is not reflective of what service the citizenry is receiving from Zesco because we are just rewarding Zesco for load shedding us, and that is the PF government for you,” Kalaba observed.
And Kalaba advised ministers who were “waiting for the right time to resign” to do so now.
“Today is a special day, it marks exactly two years since I resigned as Foreign Affairs Minister from the Lungu-led administration. I made a decision that men in my position would not have thought of taking, which was to resign of the position of Foreign Affairs. While it was not an easy decision to make on account of animosity and acrimony that was, today I can look back with a feeling of nostalgia and thank God that I made the right decision. It was the right decision to walk away from the perceived comfort zones. As Foreign Affairs Minister, you enjoy a lot of privileges, while at the same time, you represent the nation and the Head of State at a very high level as custodian of the country’s of foreign bonds. My decision was necessitated by the fundamental flaws that I observed in some colleagues, who I believed that the people deserved from those they look up to as their leaders. A corrupt person is and can never be honorable. I know that two years down the line, some former colleagues are still trying to find the best way of stepping out and resigning their position for fear of going down as having been a part of the team that brought down the Zambian economy on account of corrupt practices by those entrusted with the governance of the nation. To them, I say the best time to resign is now!” he said.
Meanwhile, Kalaba described President Lungu’s 20 per cent salary cut directive as a joke that would not have any impact on reviving Zambia’s ailing economy.
“I heard the joke that President Lungu was saying that 20 per cent has to be cut from his salary. The President has run out of ideas, he is tired! Even the President knows in his hearts of hearts that that position is far heavy for him and he can just do the honorable thing of saying, ‘I think I can’t continue, maybe I should just resign or will be consulting,’ but the man doesn’t! Everything he wants is provided for by the State. The 20 per cent (salary cut) he is talking about is from his salary. He is he is getting about K189,000 a month; if you calculate, that it doesn’t even make any impact all. It is a mockery because I don’t see how his actions are going to help us reduce the price of mealie meal. All that they want is to fundraise for their campaigns; when they collect, that money will go to elections,” charged Kalaba.