FINANCE Minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane has reassured citizens that government will implement the free education promise in the next budget.

And Home Affairs Minister Jack Mwiimbu says PF has no chance of bouncing back into power once UPND implements its budget.

Debating the Presidential Speech in Parliament, Wednesday, Dr Musokotwane insisted that UPND would honour their campaign promises because the pledges were not a gimmick to win the elections.

“Madam Speaker, since time is limited, I will only cover two issues; free education and youth unemployment. Listening to the colleagues across there, when they were debating, they were implying that after winning, the UPND would forget about its promises for free education and youth unemployment. Obviously, they were talking like that because that is how PF has been. In 2011 when they were campaigning, they were talking about universities everywhere, they were talking about roads everywhere, they were talking about money in our pockets all the time. When we reminded them of their promises, I remember one of the saying ‘you people are still talking about those things, don’t you know there are gimmicks in politics. We just said those things so that we win’,” Dr Musokotwane said.

“Madam Speaker, UPND is not like that. When we promise that there will be free education, it just means that we are going to do it. When we promise that there will be youth employment, we mean that, it is not a gimmick.”

Dr Musokotwane said the 2021 budget was a PF budget and had no provision for free education.

“For now, of course when you say where are these things, the answer is very simple, the budget that we are implementing now, where these things are supposed to be embodied is a PF budget. In that PF budget there are no issues of free education, there are no issues of youth unemployment, except for the money that they were using to buy the voters. So, all I can say is, colleagues wait, the UPND budget is coming very soon. In that budget we are going to strongly deal with the issues of free education, in that budget we are going to deal with issues of youth unemployment,” said Dr Musokotwane.

“So, Madam Speaker, the issues to do with gimmicks to win elections when you don’t mean what you say because you believe in ‘donchi kubeba’, that thing ended with our colleagues. So, colleagues I think you have been given time by the people of Zambia to reflect and reform and become better citizens, that is the chance the Zambian people have given to you.”

And Mwiimbu said the PF had no chance of bouncing back into government once the UPND implemented their budget.

“I would like to echo the statement that has been made by the Minister of Finance pertaining to the promises which we made to the people of Zambia when we were campaigning. We as the UPND and the new dawn administration, we deal with issues to do with governance on the basis of this country. Laws of this country. Madam Speaker, the Constitution requires that before you spend any money there must be a budget. If you do anything outside the budget, you are deemed to be doing an illegal act and we are not used to doing things illegally,” said Mwiimbu.

“So, we shall wait until the Minister of Finance presents the budget, this coming month. As you are aware the budget cycle is from 1st January to the 31st of December of each year. So, for this year we are unfortunate that we are still carrying the burden of PF and using the PF budget. I would like to state that when we implement our budget, I can assure you colleagues who are in government that you will never come back because the people of Zambia will appreciate the intentions of the UPND government.”

Meanwhile, deputy chief whip Princess Kasune stressed the need for more women participation in Parliament.

“As the deputy whip of this House, we do note that there has been a decrease in the women participation in Parliament. In the 12th National Assembly, we had about 19 percent of women represented from all parties. However, it is sad to note that in this 13th National Assembly, we only have 14.6 percent of women represented. This calls for each one of us and not only the President, but for all of us as members of parliament to search why there is a reduction in participation, especially in governance. As we strive to be a middle-income country, it is a responsibility for all of us to use political influence so that we can see to it that a girl out there will no longer have to be the first deputy whip of the National Assembly,” said Kasune.

And in his debate, Water Development and Sanitation Minister Mike Mposha said protection of water resources would be intensified.

“The Ministry recognises the need to heighten interventions to improve water resources management and development in order to harness water for various social productive use. Madam Speaker, my Ministry will strengthen implementation of the ongoing programmes to harness water resources as well as enhance protection of water resources particularly with the advent of climate change. Furthermore, protection of water resources including recharge zones will be intensified through sensitization on the importance of protecting water resources,” said Mposha.