GOVERNMENT Chief Whip Brian Mundubile says if any member of the ruling party feels compelled to donate, they should do it away from the cameras.
In an interview, Mundubile said there was no harm in donating silently, arguing that there was no need for someone in Monze to know about a donation he has made in Mporokoso.
“If someone feels compelled to donate, there is no harm in making a donation away from the camera. It is a perception also. We are saying if you are going to donate, donate in silence after all the people you are donating to are people in your constituency who will know about that donation and will definitely vote for you,” Mundubile said.
“If my donation is in Mporokoso, the person in Monze doesn’t need to know about it. So we can do some silence donations whenever necessary. We must understand the full enforcement of that directive. The chairman for mobilization honorable Richard Musukwa was very categorical in saying we should avoid cash donations. You must understand that at the same time, you cannot avoid cash donations completely, but if there is such kind of cash donations, can they be done away from the camera. When you look at donations in totality, you can’t avoid that.”
He commended Transport and Communications Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya for donating three vehicles to wives of chiefs in his constituency.
“For example, honorable Mutotwe Kafwaya has three chiefs in his constituency so as a son of the soil, within his means, he felt duty bound to organise three vehicles to give spouses to the chief. We are subjects and we always go with little gifts to our chiefs. If you look at that token, I think it was a really good gesture maybe as opposed to walking with stacks of cash. Cash has its own impression that it creates but if you convert that little cash into a fridge, car, stove I don’t think that flies in the tip of what honorable Musukwa was saying. He was predominantly discouraging the flashing of cash gifts in front of cameras. I think that MPs have taken heed, if you see videos now, mostly they are old videos,” he said.
“If you take a car and donate it as an ambulance in a constituency, that might be consistent with the pro-poor policy because you are ideally trying to assist the poor to have some means of transport. Just like our poor mothers who are wives to the chiefs. If I had money and went to build a clinic, it is a different complexion altogether because I am making it easier for them to access safe health care but if I went and delivered money equivalent to what would have been spent on the clinic, the equation is different.”
When asked where the money was coming from, Mundubile said members of parliament had various sources of income.
“MPs both from the ruling party and the opposition had a life before they came to Parliament. Some of them came in as businessmen. If you went to take an audit of their lifestyles before Parliament, you will agree with me that they enjoyed some comfort in their lives even before. That is not to appear to defend anyone. But I think that even as we interrogate sources of funds, we should not proceed on the assumption that all these MPs just rely on the salaries from Parliament. Some of them are running factories, owning trucks, some of them are landlords and they are just there to represent the people,” said Mundubile.
“Individuals have different sources of income. Just like other political parties, including the opposition, sometimes you find opposition hiring choppers and flying all over but nobody asks them where they got the money from. But you can also audit the activities of political parties and translate it into money, you will find that they are spending millions of dollars. So it should not be a focus on the ruling party alone.”