Honourable Dora Siliya’s job must be very difficult, especially with the prevailing situation in Zambia where those who are elected to solve people’s problems have buried their heads in the sand. We imagine that what the Chief Government Spokesperson has to do in order to portray a positive image is a little bit of lying; and so far, she is doing very well defending a government that is clueless on how to solve crises.

We like Dora because she is not shy to face the media and provide information. There is practically no answer she can fail to give in any sector of the economy, but we have observed that in the last two weeks, the Chief Government Spokesperson has made some very provocative statements and declarations, which we cannot help but put into correct perspective.

The minister says corruption has been exaggerated in Zambia. Now, everyone knows that that corruption is at its peak in the history of this country. If Honourable Siliya thinks otherwise, then maybe she’s blind to the fact because the corrupt are her friends and she is eating with them. One look at Kingsland City housing project in Lusaka is enough proof that indeed corruption is overflowing.

If someone deliberately chooses to ignore the evidence of corruption in the FIC and Auditor General’s report, a look around Lusaka is enough to tell you that we have an unprecedented property boom that speaks contrary to economic indicators. People are building mansions in 2 or 3 months yet their salaries are public knowledge and can’t possibly give them the luxuries we see them enjoying.

The Zambian economy is certainly not doing well; this is a fact. If anything, we have a serious crisis on our hands and if the right actions are not taken now, many people are going to die of hunger and depression.

There was a circular from the Ministry of Finance, not long ago, confirming that the Treasury had been depleted and that government was not going to fund outstanding projects until debt levels are brought back to moderate. When Honourable Siliya was questioned about this matter, the minister rushed to say the message was taken out of context by the media. Which media? We wonder, because it is the President who said this to journalists at Kansanshi Hotel in Solwezi.

President LUNGU: “I am President of the Republic of Zambia and my duty is to develop Zambia across its breadth and width. There should be no problem about that. And Zambia is not Kitwe, Ndola or Lusaka, Zambia is the whole component from North, East, South, West, so we’ll continue developing, but right now we have scaled down, not because of anything else but the resource envelop has depleted.”

That was the President’s voice. So if the warning from the Treasury was taken out of context, then the minister must blame the President for misunderstanding the message.

Look fellow Zambians, the economy is doing very badly. The unfortunate part is that the people who must be responsible are blaming others. We were shocked to hear the same minister saying the high mealie meal prices have been caused by some unscrupulous retailers. How?

To put this into perspective, the minister expects the price of mealie meal to be even lower than the K120 because millers sell the commodity at around that much to retailers. So it means, according to this government, retailers don’t incur transport cost, they do not pay employee salaries and they don’t need any profit. With that in mind, it is not hard to imagine why the minister thinks K150 per bag of mealie meal is unreasonable for retailers to charge.

This is why we say, Honourabe Siliya’s job must be very difficult, but that is not the main problem. The problem is the culture of telling lies, which characterises all politicians, especially this PF government. We will not get tired reminding them that power, like anything else, has an end and they will face the people soon.

We want honest leaders who can call a spade a spade. We want leaders who will acknowledge their mistakes, where they got things wrong. If Honourable Siliya tells us today that like the Ministry of Finance announced, the Treasury is depleted and we’re broke, or if she were to say that we have a problem of corruption in this country, it would be a starting point. It would not surprise us because we are aware of those facts, but it would be a starting point in solving the problems and rebuilding the trust, which the people have lost in their leaders.

We agree with Honourable Siliya when she says “numbers don’t lie”, but which numbers is she talking about? To us, there is only one number that counts and it is the K150 price of mealie meal. Aside from that, the only other number on our minds is 2021!

So we hope that the next time the Minister of Information decides to talk about the state of the economy, she will be honest and tell us what we can all see, otherwise we will be led to believe that she either does her shopping in Dubai or that she has a very cruel sense of humour.