Former Finance Minister Ng’andu Magande says it doesn’t make sense that President Edgar Lungu ferried some Siavonga residents who have Lake Kariba to view fish in a small pond at State House in Lusaka, which is the epicenter of COVID-19.

And Magande has advised former finance minister Alexander Chikwanda to desist from commenting on issues he is not up to speed with.

On Tuesday, former Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda said the open letter to the President on the state of Zambia’s economy written by six former government officials was nonsensical.

But in an interview, Magande wondered why Chikwanda was reacting to the letter when he had not read it.

“I have read (Alexander Chikwanda) ABC’s statement, I have found it illogical and irrational. He claims that he had not read the letter, but why answering or commenting on something you have no idea about? It doesn’t make sense. The intelligent and sensible thing to do is to refuse to comment on the basis of not being aware of the content of the letter. People should learn to be responsible. The situation the country is currently facing didn’t just happen. There are causes that created the situation. It was a result of certain actions and decisions that were taken and made by people who held office at a certain time. What they did and failed to do led the country to be in the dire situation it is in now,” Magande said.

“It is lack of reasoning to blame COVID-19 for the economic depression in Zambia today. COVID-19 will worsen an already worse situation. There cannot be an effect without a cause. The other thing is that it is appalling, if not foolish naivety, to think that the situation will resolve itself without taking any action. How can someone get to a destination without making any movement? How can anyone hope to achieve any result without taking any action? It goes without saying that to achieve the right results, the right thing should be done. If one has to reach the destination he has to take the direction. You can’t board a Livingstone-bound (vehicle) to reach Chingola. To understand this does not require rocket science. It takes only common sense. People should also know that the country is bigger than any one individual. It would be irresponsible for people to just keep quiet in order to please certain individuals, who think that they cannot be held accountable.”

And Magande said it was unreasonable to bring people from Siavonga to comeand see fish in a small pond at State Lodge, saying the money would have been used to distribute masks to members of the public.

“I note that Hon Chikwanda admitted that he had not yet read our statement. So, on what was he commenting upon? Zambia’s debt was already large by the time COVID-19 broke out in December, 2019. It is the responsibility of a sitting government to solve the country’s problems. COVID-19 is resulting in people dying. How does the government stop these deaths by spending money bringing villagers from Siavonga, next to Lake Kariba to see fish in a small pond at State Lodge, next to the COVID-19 Centre at Levy Mwanawasa Hospital? How many masks could have been bought from the money used on petrol and per diem on these tourists? Priorities!” exclaimed Magande.