VICE-PRESIDENT Mutale Nalumango says she has not heard President Hakainde Hichilema lamenting about being let down by government officials, adding that evidence of such a speech must be presented.

And Vice-President Nalumango says Zambia cannot take sides over the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine because the country belongs to various international groups that will collectively make decisions over the matter.

Responding to Mporokoso PF member of Parliament Brian Mundubile who said President Hichilema was disappointed with the performance of government officials during the Vice-President’s question time in Parliament, Friday, Vice-President Nalumango said it would only be right to provide evidence for that.

“He has talked of the President saying he has been let down, I have not really heard that from himself. It would have been good for the honourable member to lay that evidence of that particular speech of the President on the table. I am equally disappointed that this House which first hand, heard the economic direction of the policy statement on the economy by the Minister of Finance did not get anything as he is indicating to me. He debated the entire budget on something he did not understand,” Vice-President Nalumango said.

“This economy from even a villager like myself is doing well. My Minister is here. From the little that I know is that even the inflation is going down. The prices may seemingly be going up because of certain turbulence. There are things that we are still looking at. People may complain but we know that this economy is moving. The issue of electricity may make people question what is going on. Everything will stabilise and right now there is money going into the economy even though we inherited coffers with nothing. Our policies are clear and the Ministry of Finance, keep it up because the economy is moving in the right direction.”

And responding to Matero PF member of Parliament Miles Sampa who wanted to find out Zambia’s position over the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Vice-President Nalumango said Zambia belonged to various international groups that would make decisions over the matter accordingly.

“I think this question is unfair to you and Zambians. We are in a global world. There is no way as Zambia we are going to decide alone so that we send your son to war. The world does not work like this. Right now there are even neighbours of Ukraine and Russia working and making decisions collectively. Therefore, Zambia is part of international groupings and if a decision has to be made, it can only be made as a grouping. I am sure there is engagement in the SADC, AU and everybody is observing,” she said.

“If there is anything to be done it has to be collective. Not that Zambia has to decide that we are on the side of Ukraine or Russia. That is not the way countries operate today. Zambia is concerned with the safety of the same youths who are in those places of conflict. Now when we are trying to evacuate, you want to send? The concern is how safe are our people? What will the government do? Rather than suggesting that let us send youths to either side, that is not the way. We know the situation is tense in Ukraine but we are doing everything we can.”

Vice-President Nalumango said the current prosecution of those who have allegedly stolen public resources was normal.

“The evidence also shows that there are some cases in the courts of law where financial crimes are still being looked at through investigative wings. There are a number of people that are already appearing for possessing things that they were not supposed to possess. I know that a lot of people are turning this into persecution. When there is prosecution, that is a normal thing. So there is prosecution going on against those that have offended the law,” said Vice-President Nalumango.

“Persecution is not part of who we are because we want to do things in order. They are recovering. We are aware that some money has been recovered from people or direct politicians and that is extremely unfortunate. Some cases are under investigation and that will go on. This is how far the government has gone and is serious on recovering to ensure that those that were on the wrong side of the law are prosecuted and not persecuted.”