NATIONAL Democratic Congress Roan member of parliament Joseph Chishala says the continued dishing out of money by some PF officials will affect the country’s chances of being exempted from interest payments to the bondholders.

Commenting on the recent donation of K400,000 cash to Mpongwe marketeers by Mpongwe PF aspiring candidate Emmanuel Kasambo, Chishala in an interview said the government’s quest to get exempted on interest payments was being rendered a joke by the continued dishing out of cash by some PF members.

“It’s very funny that government is busy negotiating to be exempted to pay interest on the loans that we owe so that after a period of time, that is when they will start paying those interests. But you will find that within the country, there are people that are linked to government officials in PF issuing out such sums of money. How are those people we have borrowed money from going to look at us? They will think we are jokers as a country, because there is no way you are saying you don’t have money, the economy is struggling but you are busy dishing out money, meaning you are jokers in other words. You claim you don’t have money but you are busy dishing it out,” Chishala said.

“Moreover, quite right, empowerment is needed but it should be very genuine. It should be very genuine in the sense that the source of money must be known. That is why we have been asking for lifestyle audits so as we know the sources of income for the money they are dishing out. I personally say members of parliament are not expect to start dishing out such money. What type of business do they do? Our earnings don’t amount to such amounts. So it is a joke to the world at large because they look at us like we are not serious and we are just pretending as if we are broke and yet we have money around.”

He added that the PF had lost ground and were trying to use empowerment to woo votes from women and youths.

”The PF government have realised that they are not popular on the ground at the moment and the only way out is to try and woo the youths and the women. In fact, even the church now is being wooed because I am told that they have started even empowering pastors. You start even empowering pastors at this stage when we are getting into an election a few months from now. Those youths and women that they are empowering, they don’t even prepare them for certain businesses because for you to empower a certain group, you first need to prepare them mentally so that they know that this is a money-making venture, ” Chishala said.

“Most of these youths that they are empowering who are not mentored well, you find that upon empowering them, a few months later, they are not seen, they have already shared the money, they have already shared whatever things they have been empowered with. So, what is the whole essence of empowering the people who are not ready to take up certain projects? So, this is a sign that they just want to woo people for the sake of 2021 elections.”

He said President Edgar Lungu was being cheated by his people that he was popular on the ground when in fact not.

“‘I can rest assure you that regardless of whatever methods they will use to woo people, us who move in all areas, who are always with the grassroots… the challenge I have discovered with Zambian politics, top leaders, they don’t have time for the grassroots. So they don’t know what sentiments are coming from the grassroots and those people who surround them will always cheat them. They will always tell them that ‘things are okay, everything is okay, we are going to win an election’,” said Chishala.

”If you remember very well, how Rupiah Banda lost the election, he was cheated that ‘people love you and people are going to vote for you’. Similarly, this is what is happening to Edgar Lungu and his senior officials in PF. They can’t learn from that mistake which Rupiah Banda made because there is no way, at the last minute, that is when you want to start showing as if you love your people and you want to empower them. That shows that you want just to entice them for the sake of the vote. I trust Zambians that they know what they are going to do, they will just chew that money and do the needful.”