PF deputy media director Antonio Mwanza has accused the National Democratic Congress (NDC) of scandalising China and condemning Chinese debt in order to please Hong Kong so that the opposition party can receive political funding from it.
Whether the PF publicist can prove this allegation or not, is for the NDC to iron out with him, but we are amazed with Mr Mwanza’s desire to hoodwink Zambians into accepting the limitless debt contraction from China.
We acknowledge that Mr Mwanza is a great orator. His eloquent debating skills put him at the apex of Zambia’s young emerging political think tanks. In fact, currently, there are very few politicians in his generation that can match up to his abilities.
But this is not the same as saying Mr Mwanza is the most honest politician we have in town. Unfortunately, his fluent, articulate efficiency does not translate into sincerity, and, thereby, means nothing more than cheap propaganda.
What mesmerizes us is his ability to speak convincingly about things that he personally doesn’t believe in. This is a gentleman whom you can give any topic and instruct to either defend or disagree – whatever the directive, he will argue with his soul.
Listening to Mr Mwanza defending the debt crisis that Zambia is in, you might think that you are listening to a professor of economics. When he goes on radio to defend the exorbitant cost of Chinese projects, like the Lusaka-Ndola dual carriageway, you may think he is as knowledgeable on the topic as the president of the Engineering Institute of Zambia. Ask him to talk about Zambia’s democratic state of affairs, breakdown of rule of law, Mr Mwanza will elaborate better than an average veteran politician you know. Now, that’s a dangerously talented human being.
We want to emphasize that Mr Mwanza is very intelligent; we know this for a fact because we have dealt with him when he was still jobless and on the streets with us. We started interviewing him since his days as UNZASU president when he was representing the interests of his fellow students. So, we can testify that the PF are definitely getting value for their money on this young man. It was a good purchase.
But we are concerned about the future of this young man as a politician. We are worried that with every governance debate that comes up, he seems to be sharpening his lying skills. If Mr Mwanza was about to expire soon, we wouldn’t be wasting time writing about him, but he is full of energy and zeal.
In fact, at the pace he is going, we wouldn’t rule out a possibility of Mr Mwanza being president of this country one day in future, after his pay masters’ influence has faded into extinction. This is what pains us because we seem to be building a lying potential future president.
Even if he doesn’t make it that high in his political career, the position he currently holds in the governing party is big enough to influence younger citizens. Mr Mwanza needs to start being truthful now before he turns into a destructive asset at the disposal of a brutal regime.
The good news for him is that he has us; and we will proudly work with him to ensure that together, we identify the lies from his eloquent propaganda. We are committed to this cause because our future leaders need to know now that the generation they will be leading will not tolerate the nonsense that is being tolerated by the elders of today.
Mr Antonio says Zambians are consulted through Parliament on every debt that government contracts. Which Parliament approved the contraction of a US $30 million loan obtained from China last week for the rehabilitation of Mulungushi Conference Centre? We are very reliably informed that the Ministry of Finance is hoping to raise as much as US $8 billion in new loans and financing agreements from Chinese lenders; when did the National Assembly of Zambia sit to approve these loans?
Mr Mwanza knows that the loans government is contracting are not sanctioned by Parliament. He also knows that these loans are putting Zambia in a very weak and vulnerable position, a situation which would lead to loss of valuable national assets should we fail to repay them. But he is arguing in favour of China because that is what his current job demands.
To appreciate Mr Mwanza’s ingenuity in defending things that he doesn’t believe in, one just has to rewind the clock a little bit and sit him next to president Edith Nawakwi of FDD, then press play. Each and every topic that he is eloquently defending, he totally disagreed with less than eight months ago.
In September last year, it emerged through Mr Antonio Mwanza that government had defaulted on its commitment to pay LapGreenN Network an excess of US $382 million in compensation, following a consent judgment order entered into between the Libyan firm and the Republic of Zambia. LapGreenN further threatened that it would soon seize Zambia’s assets abroad over the debt, which was overdue.
Below is what Mr Mwanza said, three months before he got a job in the PF to start defending Zambia’s debt position:
“This issue raises serious questions with regards to Zambia’s capacity to repay the ballooning debt that our country finds itself in and the claims by government that Zambia’s economy is recovering. How can one claim that Zambia’s economy is recovering when government is failing to meet its statutory financial obligations? The implications of the actions that LapGreenN is about to undertake have far-reaching consequences with regards to Zambia’s standing on the global financial market. Eurobonds and other debts are also approaching their maturity repayment dates, and we have a widening fiscal deficit as a country. Does Zambia have the capacity to service the ever-increasing public debt when it is failing to pay such financial obligations as compensation?” Mr Mwanza asked.
“The consequences that we, as a country, are likely to suffer if this matter and the general public debt management problems escalates are too ghastly to contemplate. As punishment for default, capital markets will either impose punitive borrowing rates or refuse to lend at all. And credit-rating agencies will no doubt warn against investing in the country. This issue may appear minute, but it is a serious time bomb that if left unresolved will have serious ramifications on the country’s international standing.”
That was the voice of ‘economist’ Antonio Mwanza, before he turned green. Zambians must, therefore, be careful when this man is sweet-talking them into accepting more debt from China; he is dangerously talented to defend lies. It’s what he does for a living.