Zambia is facing a serious political, social and economic crisis opposition Narep President Elias Chipimo has said.
Mr Chipimo also charged that there was no official roadmap for a constitution-making process that has gobbled billions money.
“Our second highest ranked Government official stands accused of inappropriate and undiplomatic language against our biggest trading partner in Africa, public order laws continue to be applied selectively to silence and intimidate the Opposition, laws continue to be amended and altered without adequate stakeholder consultation creating uncertainty and deterring inward and external investment, the energy crisis continues unabated with load-shedding now a standard feature in the majority of the homes of those lucky enough to have electricity, stories of untold misery in health institutions around the country continue to shape the lives of ordinary citizens, traffic accidents claiming multiple lives seem now to occur with greater regularity than ever before. And all the while, our Government is playing with people’s lives by promoting unnecessary expenditure through avoidable by-elections,” he stated.
The opposition leader yesterday appealed to President Michael Sata and the Patriotic Front administration to live up to their party name and act patriotically and urged the President to refrain from ruining Zambia.
He advised government to have a heart for the people that put them in office and that they should reject attempts by oppositions Members of Parliament to defect and join them.
“If Mr. Taima’s seat has not yet been declared vacant by the Speaker of the National Assembly, reach out to the opposition in Parliament to rescind this decision. Reject any further attempts to join your ranks through unnecessary by-elections.
“This means not allowing Mr. Justin Chishiba who is intending to resign from the MMD to cause yet another waste of resources meant for development. Have a heart for the people on whose backs you rode to power and in whose minds you planted your promises.
“We ask those members of parliament from Solwezi East and Feira that have abandoned the parties on whose tickets they were elected to examine their consciences. We ask them to think long and hard about setting an example of selfless leadership.
“Demonstrate that you are as committed to reducing unnecessary government expenditure as you are to save money by removing the fuel subsidy,” he said.
Mr Chipimo said that for Mr Sata to do this, he could start by reducing the bloated Cabinet he promised to fight while he was in opposition.
He said that Zambia could not afford the cost and inefficiency of having 41 deputy ministers with an average of 2 deputy ministers per ministry which cost the nation billions in salaries, remuneration and support costs every month.
“Why would the Ministry of Agriculture, Commerce, Home Affairs, Local Government and Housing, Transport, Works, Supply and Communication each need 3 deputy ministers?
The opposition leader also said that it was sad that government had decided to remove the subsidy on fuel without taking any responsible steps to contain the enormous and unnecessary expenditure and abuse of taxpayer resources that was taking place every day at the expense of development.
“Why remove the subsidy before putting your expenditure priorities in the right order? Why are you still accepting defections from the Opposition in Parliament when you know this will put a strain on our national finances?
“Mr. Taima, Mr. Ngoma: you and I are supposed to represent a new generation of thinkers. You and I both know you were not elected to defect. You and I know that you were elected to serve your constituents, to ensure that the underprivileged in the areas you campaigned so hard in could have a chance at a decent life.
He said that each of them came from a constituency in which many had to walk miles to seek medical attention, where men, women and youths spent backbreaking hours scratching the land to make a living.Mr Chipimo asked the PF administration to put its house in order and stop treating their development responsibility as a political weapon because every area had the right to development and not just areas with a PF member of parliament.He urged every concerned Zambian to get involved now in shaping up the future of Zambia and not to allow the PF administration the freedom to apply resources as they deemed fit against the wishes of the people.