The trouble that our government has is that where they are supposed to use economic sense, they are using politics. That’s the problem. This is why the whole country laughed at the President’s intervention to cushion the effect of the increased fuel prices and electricity tariffs. In his wisdom, the President thought the most effective way of cushioning the impact on consumers is by reducing his salary and that of his Lusaka Province ‘counterpart’ Bowman Lusambo, among others. We are certain that the President expected a public applause on this move.
But people are asking, why did you increase the salaries in the first place? We remember that citizens complained that while announcing austerity measures, the top government officials awarded themselves more money in their pockets. Despite complaints and caution from critics and experts, the PF did not want to listen. After it’s too late now, this is when the President wakes up to order pay cuts, a move, which is illegal.
Clearly, now, people can see that their President has no understanding of economics; not even the law for that matter, despite being a lawyer. He thinks since he is the almighty President, he can just wake up and order that public servants’ salaries should be cut in half, regardless of the employment contracts, which people signed. This is laughable, indeed.
How will the savings from President Lungu’s salary benefit Zesco customers and motorists who are buying expensive fuel? Will the Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba go door-to-door reimbursing electricity consumers with coins from the President’s payslip? Or will Dr Bwalya Ng’andu be waiting with a jerrycan of fuel at Zebra crossings to top up motorists’ tanks with the money donated by President Lungu? Kwena kuti waseka!
President Lungu has many options. If he wants to make an impact to the distressed economy, firstly, he must keep his salary because we don’t want him to increase on theft, but he must make sure that the ministers who listened to his lying mouth and stayed in office illegally pay back the money. He already has a court judgement directing them to do so and, therefore, enforcing shouldn’t be a problem. That money is several times more than whatever the country can realize from President Lungu’s 20 per cent pay cut. Why is he blocking this court directive is he needs money to run the economy?
Cutting Ministry expenditure is another option. President Lungu knows that the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs is as useless as a beard. It may add to the outward beauty, but it has zero impact to the human health. Cutting it doesn’t change any of the functions of the head that was carrying it. There is no need for a country that is in a desperate need of cash to keep spending on such a useless Ministry!
With all due respect, we have been asking Rev Godfridah Sumaili to give us her Religious Ministry’s views on government’s decision to legalize marijuana, a psychotropic drug, which can affect the mental state of a person. She has failed to give a position because she doesn’t want to conflict herself. She knows that politics and religion are like water and oil, they can’t mix. In trying to defend the Bible’s position on the matter, she may step on the toes of her appointing authority. Why do we need such a ministerial position?
Further, President Lungu has the option of merging the ministries back to their previous structures. The Ministry of Water can merge with the Ministry of Energy. National Development Planning can go back to Finance as a department. The Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries can still perform under Agriculture. The Ministry of General Education and Higher Education can equally operate under one roof. The Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs is obviously just as useless, unless the intention is to promote the smuggling of Mukula.
All the above are options government can pursue to cut spending, not a 20 per cent reduction from the President’s salary. In fact, to us, it would make more sense if the President and his corrupt Ministers can keep their salaries, but reduce stealing by at least 20 per cent. That would be a good start, and the money realized from the corruptly-awarded tenders would change the economic status for the country.
This is the reason why we keep challenging President Lungu to reconsider his decision to stand again in 2021 so that someone else can step in. Solutions to the problems facing this country are there, it’s unfortunate that the incumbent has chosen not to see them. Zambia can be turned around. It can be moved towards a modern powerful state, economically, politically and militarily. But this can only happen if a stable leadership took charge from either the opposition or among the PF members who are being sidelined.
It’s not staying in power for a long time that can transform people’s lives. Jesus Christ lived on earth for only 33 years, his ministry lasted only three years, but he transformed the whole universe! His teachings and examples have remained irreplaceable for centuries and shall stay so for centuries to come. Why do you want to live for 100 years and lead a country for 30 years in order to make an impact? No bwana, kabiyeni!