to buy farmers’ votes GOVERNMENT should explain how it has sourced the K500 million to pay the farmers during this period leading to the presidential election because there are fears that the ruling party could have received the money from questionable sources in a bid to win the January presidential election, Edward Mumbi has said.
Mr Mumbi, who is former special assistant to United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema, said the PF Government had a propensity for manipulating the people and their total disregard for the farmers was worrying.
He said Government had just released K500 million to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to begin paying the farners for the maize delivered to the agency without explaining how the money was sourced.
Mr Mumbi told the Daily Nation that the PF Government had been claiming that there was no money to pay the farmers and that it was worrying that soon after the death and burial of President Sata, money to pay farmers had suddenly been found.
He said his worry was that there could be some foreign influence in the sourcing for money for the farmers because the PF would want to use the money as a campaign message for the presidential election next year.
Mr Mumbi stated that from the time FRA collected the maize from the farmers, the Government had been claiming there was no money to pay the farmers but because of the presidential election next January, money had suddenly been found.
“This Government has released over K500 million to pay the farmers because of the presidential election to be held in the next 50 days. The K500 million is only meant to buy off our peasant farmers so that they could consider voting for the PF in the coming presidential election. ‘‘From the time FRA collected maize from our farmers, the PF Government had failed to pay our farmers. Where has the money suddenly come from?
We need a clear explanation from Government because there are fears that the country may have been auctioned,” he said.
Mr Mumbi said some peasant farmers who were in the majority in contributing to the food basket had ended up selling their livestock to take their children to school because Government had declared that it had no money for them.
He wondered what kind of magical formula Government had discovered in sourcing for money to pay the farmers adding that there was reason to believe that the ruling party was going to blackmail the peasant farmers with payments for their maize.
“The magic has happened again and money to pay farmers has been found after many months of suffering and if it were not for the presidential election, they were only going to be paid next year.
Our farmers find it hard to juggle the demands of peasant farmers and they have to struggle to find safe child care because of the irresponsible government,” Mr Mumbi explained. He said Zambians were faced with one of the worst economic crisis because of the poor policies being pursued by the PF Government.
Mr Mumbi said Zambia needed an emergency economic plan that would jump-start the ailing economy but doubted the capacity and ability of the current leadership which he said was more preoccupied with the schemes of remaining in power at all costs.
He explained that there was need to help the peasant farmers offset some of the costs they incurred because of the delays by Government to pay them on time.