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Look for money – Kambwili tells govt

Filed under: Latest News,Politics |
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Chishimba Kambwili says President Hakainde Hichilema should consult his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame who was on a two-day visit to Zambia why his government has chosen to subsidise the price of fuel.

“Around Luanshya, and the other day in Kitwe what people are saying and the way people are complaining is not too good for a government. The government is supposed to be a father and when an extraordinary situation presents itself, make extraordinary decisions. Look for money,” he urged the UPND government. “There are things you have budgeted for that are not a matter of life and death but these will die of hunger.”

In an address on Monday, Kambwili, a PF member, said he was so sure that President Kagame had told President Hichilema that Rwanda was subsidising the price of fuel.

“Kagame uko na landa balacita subsidise fuel (Kagame has said that they subsidise the price of fuel). South Africa is subsidising. What about you (President Hichilema). What is so difficult? Is the IMF going to be telling us how to govern?” Kambwili asked. “They are telling us that by June we will be done [with IMF programme on board] things will be alright. The IMF programme is a three-year programme. That money will be disbursed in three years not by June.”

Kambwili cautioned the UPND from what he called lying to Zambians.

“Stop lying to Zambians as if they don’t think. Who told you Mr Nkhoma that the IMF programme is ending in June?” Kambwili said in reference to economist Noel Nkhoma who recently held a press briefing in Lusaka to talk about the increase of fuel prices by the Energy Regulation Board (ERB). Nkhoma is member of the ERB board. “Do the right thing to cushion the poor from the imminent suffering and hunger that will besiege this country.”

Kambwili said the UPND should not manage the economy at the expense of the poor.

“We don’t know whether people will start eating sweet potatoes or even roots. Me, I pity you (UPND). Don’t be capitalists. Don’t run the country strictly like a business where you want to see profits. In running the country, you must balance between keeping your macro-(economic) parameters in check and also the living standards of the people,” he said.

“I plead with you subsidise fuel so that people can have a breather. People are suffering. Your ministers get a lot of money. The state buys the President everything and (Anthony) Bwalya, the presidential aide for press, stop telling Zambians to persevere. You are telling Zambians to persevere. Yes, Zambians do persevere. They have persevered many times but this is an extraordinary situation.”

Kambwili said if the price of fuel would not be subsidised this month, it may shoot up to K33 per litre of petrol and diesel.

“Please those in government, don’t be arrogant. Don’t overlook advice. This is what happens to a lot of governments. By the time you realise you are already out of government. I have said, we don’t want you (UPND) to fail but please have mercy on your people. Subsidise fuel and get your cadres out of the equation,” he urged.

“The way government has behaved in the past five days it is like you are trivialising the issue of increase of the price of fuel. The [UPND] IPS (information and publicity secretary) for Lusaka Province was addressing the nation about the price of fuel. You also went and got the (party) chairman for energy in your party to come and address the issue of fuel. You go and get Mr Nkhoma to address the issue of increase in price of fuel. Don’t make mistakes that others have made.”

Kambwili called for separating the government from the party.

“The issue has to do with the government and we want communication from government and not from the party. Statements from cadres is making it worse. Making you (UPND) look disorganised because when you look at statements that IPS made, what Mr Nkhoma and chairman for energy said, they are uncoordinated statements,” he noted. “Mr Nkhoma says ‘we have to fulfill the conditions of the IMF’. The other says, ‘our manifesto says we shall charge cost reflective prices’. Come on UPND, you can do better.”

Kambwili said the issue of fuel should be handled by the chief government spokesperson Chushi Kasanda or the line minister Peter Kapala.

“Where is the chief government spokesperson in all this equation? Where is the official statement?” he wondered. “Stop political party members from speaking on behalf of the government. That is also a form of caderism.”

Kambwili said the complaints over fuel from residents of Luanshya and Kitwe was not good for government.

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