In a few days time, Parliament will adjourn and the year will be coming to an end. The past 11 months have not been short of scandals; corruption scandals, theft scandals, lying scandals, abuse scandals; all from one regime called the Patriotic Front.
We thought of ways in which we could summarize 2018 under the leadership of President Edgar Lungu, but there was no way we could have put it better than the Kapiri Mposhi member of parliament did. Dear readers, Honourable Stanley Kakubo has won our hearts because in his last budget debate on Tuesday, he took government through its lies, abuse of public resources and the highlights of the corruption scandals in the year.
What else have we fallen in love with about Honourable Kakubo? This lawmaker doesn’t flirt with profanity or abusive language, which otherwise would compel the Speaker of the National Assembly or other parliamentarians to water down his debate with interjections. In his debate, whose viral video has been getting social media endorsement since Tuesday, the MP for Kapiri Mposhi grilled government in such a honourable way that even Cabinet Ministers were left dazzled.
“Queeeestion!” is all they could say, as Honourable Kakubo exposed Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe’s lies over the IMF and illogical allocation of budget resources with statistical data. We would recommend to you our readers that you find this video on our social media page and watch the son of the soil pour his heart to his country. For the benefit of those who may not have that time, here is the summary of his debate:
“You will recall madam Chairperson that in 2017, her (Mwanakatwe’s) predecessor came to this House and announced what was dubbed ‘Zambia Plus’, it is worth noting from the very beginning that all the targets that they set out on Zambia Plus, have failed. They’ve under performed on all the critical issues that they committed to the Zambian people.
You may also want to know madam Chairperson that her (Mwanakatwe’s) relationship with the IMF is one of the areas that this Patriotic Front government has not been honest. In 2017, again or on the date on which the President of the Republic of Zambia declared a State of Threatened Emergency, he was quoted even in the government tabloids where he said ‘the IMF can leave’. But barely two months ago, the minister was attending an IMF meeting. As far as we are concerned, the Head of State chased the IMF, so what discussions are ther?
Again at the instruction of Mr Speaker, I had the rare privilege, on behalf of the Zambian people, to sit with the IMF just in the last few weeks, and they stated quiet clearly that there are no discussions of a bailout deal. But again her ministry has been misleading the nation that a bailout deal is on the horizon and it’s coming. That’s not true, you can’t expect such kind of pronouncement from a Minister of Finance. The Zambian people, I can tell you Patriotic Front, will remember more what they are going through under your leadership or your misleadership than what we say as the opposition, because we are speaking for them.
Are we aware honourable members that when it comes to education disbursements, we only disburse as a nation, one per cent of our GDP and we are last in the whole of Africa. Patriotic Front, what are you doing to this country? How can you be last in the whole of Africa? And yet, every single day, we get pronouncements of you saying ‘the working government of’ somebody’s initials called ‘ECL’. What kind of leadership is that? Only 1.1 per cent is what this government allocates to education, it’s unacceptable.
These disbursements, madam Chairperson, is a sham! I recall, we sat in this August House, exactly a year ago, approving the 2018 budget, your government leader of government business allocated K154 million to women of this country and the young people. Do you know what happened madam Chairperson? They’ve disbursed zero per cent, nothing!
But then in contrast, this is what you’ve done. I will be kind enough to remind you. Foreign travels and allowances to top government officials, those of you seated there, you’ve been able to disburse more than a 100 per cent of what was allocated in this House.
It’s clear madam Chairperson what the priorities of this government are. Emoluments to yourselves, allowances in travels… which reminds me, you recently spent a lot of money to purchase an aircraft for the President. We brought it to this House, we asked, why you were buying an Aircraft for the President, you were at pains to explain; saying that the Head of State needs to stretch on the plane, really? Stretch at the expense of the Zambian people? Why should the President stretch? Prince Harry was in this country just a few days ago and he was on a commercial plane. But the President of the third poorest country in this world deserves to stretch on a plane?
I can assure you, the Minister of religious Affairs needs to guide that they will reap what they sow because it’s biblical. When the Zambian people cry for better health, this is what the PF government does; they go and procure ambulances [and get] 70 per cent mark up for themselves. The people have no one to cry to.
Madam Chairperson, It’s the first time that I am commenting on fire tenders and I hope the Minister of Finance can respond because she is responsible for disbursement. Madam chairperson, USD$42 million at today’s rate is K504 million and for emphasis, in old currency that K504 billion. Dear colleagues, that kind of money is too colossal to spend on the fire tenders and I want to demolish those that were protecting that this grave expenditure depriving the Zambian people.
Madam chairperson, K504 million actually means, especially for you my colleagues who are coming from rural constituencies, it translates into a 127 boreholes per constituency. Life changing projects, that’s what they don’t want because there is no money for them to get. It also translates, madam chairperson, into a 100 deep tanks for our farmers. That’s what they should have done. But no, they are not that kind. They know themselves and the Zambian people are listening…”
Honourable Kakubo went on and on highlighting the ills of this PF government. This is how we would like our MPs, both on the left and right, to debate. We can only hope that those in the PF will reflect on their actions and remember this year as one which they lost to greed, corruption and lust for abuse power.