People’s Alliance for Change (PAC) president Andyford Banda says President Edgar Lungu’s address to Parliament was disappointing because he did not address a number of issues which were currently affecting Zambians.

In an interview, Banda said President Lungu deliberately avoided addressing key challenges as he no longer had the will to fight corruption.

“As we go into the 2021 elections, we need leaders that are not just going to read the speeches but believe in what they are reading. As PAC, we have proved that we are one of the most valuable political parties in the country because we offer solutions. There are a lot of gaps in the President’s speech. It does not sit well with us that the President does not touch the issue of corruption and the expired drugs scandals in all his entire speech. Every day, we are bombarded with articles from newspapers and the news about expired drugs and the President does not touch that, we don’t think it’s right. Let’s look at the key performance indicators for the PF which would compel someone to either vote for them or criticise them. It is very difficult to praise the PF government because let’s take for example when we look at the key performance indicators, you will find that on most of the things, the PF has failed. From the time they formed the government, they found the fuel prices at K8, today the fuel prices are at K17, the Zambian Kwacha, they found it at 6.5, today it’s at 21,” Banda said.

“Let’s talk about the cost of electricity, the cost of electricity has gone over 200 percent. Let’s talk about the cost of living, things are becoming expensive day by day. How can you praise the PF? In reacting to the speech, we understand that child marriages, social media abuse, gender-based violence are things that all of us have to guard against. But it would have been nice if the President touched on the issue of expired drugs. And the fact that the President did not touch on those issues is a clear indication that there is no political will to run government, to fight corruption. It is not a coincidence that suddenly the Minister of Health is discovering a lot of expired drugs. We have a supplier called Honeybee that supplied expired drugs. It’s our view that those drugs were bought expired, but we didn’t know. Unfortunately, the Anti-Corruption Commission up to date has not reacted. These are schemes, it has been going on. The implication of this is that many people do not find drugs when they go to hospitals.”

He said President Lungu is not the right person to lecture Zambian on the importance of upholding values and principles as his government has failed to lead by example.

“And what we expected is that in the applications of national values and principles to touch this issue because what values are we going to talk about when we let a few Zambians continue siphon funds from Zambians and kill people? We would have expected the President to talk about why we are failing to pay service interests on loan and the reason why we are failing is because a lot of our institutions have been abused. We expected the issues of how we are losing this money should have been brought up,” said Banda.

“The President touched on the issue of political violence, but who are the perpetrators of political violence? We at PAC believe that the President is not the right person to tell us about political violence because political violence is actually perpetrated by his own party. The President must not think that when newspapers such as News Diggers talk about corruption, they are saying something bad about the country. If the President wants us to talk positively about a lot of things, then he needs to fight corruption and show political will that he can fight. We cannot stick with the same people for so long. I mean we have given the PF government 10 years to correct the wrong that they have done.”