After taxpayers vehemently complained and challenged the First Lady to rescind her decision of traveling with a 25-member government delegation to receive four fire trucks donation in the United States of America, madam Esther Lungu went ahead.
It is not like the people’s cry fell on deaf ears, State House heard what citizens complained about and they even responded with conflicting statements. The First Lady’s senior private secretary Ms Florence Chawelwa told the people that the Zambian government was paying for the entire delegation’s travel logistics, arguing that a donor-funded trip would compromise the security of a President’s wife.
State House Press Aide, however, told taxpayers that government would only foot part of the delegation’s bill, further justifying that it was necessary for the First Lady to travel with the listed huge delegation of workers who were going to inspect if the donated trucks “were in conformity with Zambian standards”. Of course we wondered what would happen if, upon arriving in Los Angeles, the First Lady and her band discover that the fire Engines were tailor made for Beverly Hills. Would they then reject the donation and fly back to Zambia empty handed?
But anyway, our point is that State House heard the lamentations of the people of Zambia over the expenditure on this American trip, but they deliberately chose to ignore. Someone must have said, ‘Zambians will always talk, don’t be distracted, just get your bags let’s go’.
To them, that was called ‘being focused’. Even after their assignment captured in these images is done, all those 25 travelers will remain in America, gallivanting and enjoying their time in Los Angeles, feeling they are making Zambia proud.
None of those who travelled on this trip were able to give an account of what they would remaining doing in America for the rest of the month. We find this arrogance very disturbing. People who have access to public funds need to have a heart for the poor. Like we said in our previous editorial opinion on this matter, it doesn’t make any logical sense for government to spend millions of kwacha on 25 people who want to go and receive a donation that is worth much less.
But that brings us to the cause that the First Lady’s Foundation is fighting for. What is it exactly that the President’s wife wishes to advocate for under her charity? What is the motto and mission statement for the Esther Lungu Foundation? What are its goals and objectives?
We are asking these questions because we don’t think that the First Lady’s Foundation has an interest is pursing justice for the marginalized; it has no interest in pushing for good healthcare for the vulnerable people; it has no business with educating the poor; and it has nothing to do with the physically challenged in society.
If at all the First Lady is concerned about the plight of any of the needy groups listed above, then surely her Foundation lacks common sense. How can they allow that wastage of money when women are giving birth on the floor in hospitals? How free is her conscience there in America, knowing that hundreds of Zambians will die because they won’t have access to medical facilities?
How can it make sense for her to travel all the way to America, wasting all that money to go and earn this picture with the Los Angeles Fire Department, an assignment which she could have very easily delegated two people while she sits down in Lusaka waiting for the donation?
Esther Nyawa Lungu and her husband do not come from rich families. They have seen suffering before and some of their relatives are still wallowing in abject poverty, they are surviving under a dollar a day. Have they forgotten already?
There is a saying in Chewa which translates to mean that, a person must never forget where they are coming from because the moment you are enjoying wealth, just know that poverty is calling on you. Osaibala kwamene muchokela amai Lungu.