PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu should clearly explain how he plans to resuscitate Zambia’s ailing economy as he opens Parliament this Friday because citizens no longer have time for his jokes, says National Democratic Congress (NDC) president Chishimba Kambwili.

And Kambwili says Zambia’s stressed economy cannot be saved when Ministers continue to dish out large sums of cash without identifying their source of income.

In an interview, Kambwili said Zambians were tired of jokes and expected a proper explanation to how the PF government would revive the economy from President Lungu as he opened the final session of Parliament, Friday.

“What we expect from the President is to give us direction on how this government is going to resolve the issue of the economy, the issue of the runaway kwacha, how this government is going to resolve all those, who have been badly-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, owners of bars. How are the schools going to run under the COVID-19 arrangement? So, we would like to know how the issue of schools will be tackled under this COVID-19 period. So, these are the main issues that we want to know. How is the economy going to be structured going forward? How are we going to come out from this economic quagmire?” Kambwili asked.

“So, mainly the issue of the economy must be on the President’s address, otherwise, without telling us how the economy will be restructured in order for us to get out of this quagmire where the dollar is at K20, then the President doesn’t even need to go and make a statement in Parliament. We don’t want jokes this time, let him not go into Parliament and start talking about jokes! The situation where we are is serious and we want direction of how the economy is going to be. We don’t want rhetoric! He is President, and first and foremost, he should apologise to the people of Zambia for putting us through this economic quagmire. That is my expectation.”

He said President Lungu should explain where he planned to source funds for projects he had promised Zambians during his continued tours of the country.

“How is he going to do all the projects? Because you see him going round the country and everywhere he goes, he promises to build something. Recently, he was in Lunga where he was saying he is going to build a hospital at each of the islands, where is he going to get the money from? Because talking of building something is one thing, but to mobilise the money under this situation where the Treasury has no money, is another. Is he telling us that they are going to continue borrowing because the country is broke! But you can see, the President going round all over promising to build new schools, roads, hospitals among others. Let him tell us where he is going to get the money from because we should know,” Kambwili said.

And Kambwili said the economy could not be revived when Ministers continued to dish out huge sums of cash without disclosing their source.

“With the kind of behaviour and acts this current government is showing us, I don’t see any hope. Look, the government has no money; the Treasury has no money; people have no money; Ministers are busy giving out large sums of money. For example, Bowman Lusambo, of all the people, dished out K120,000 in Luanshya, just Luanshya, it is not his constituency: K50,000 at Mpatamatu Market, K70,000 at Roan Market and another in town where he caused commotion because ‘they want to have selfies with me,’ he was giving out money that is why there was commotion. We want to know where these Ministers are getting these huge sums of money when there is no money in the economy,” said Kambwili.

“The President said the economy is almost shutting down, but his Ministers are giving money. Mathew Nkhuwa (Energy Minister) last time gave out K80,000 at the markets, K80,000 to the taxi drivers; some other Ministers gave out K50,000 where are they getting the money when everybody has no money? Even the country itself has no money! Where is the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)? You are busy saying, ‘HH must account for his wealth,’ why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and leave a plank in your own eye? Why are they not talking about where Bowman Lusambo has gotten the money because we all know Bowman was with blue overalls, no money at all! He was even asking for K10 for transport! Today, he is giving huge donations beyond his earnings and then you want to ask HH ‘show us where you have gotten the money,’ those are hypocrites!”