MY one line to the President of the Party and the Republic is that he must choose between his friends and the Zambian people, advises Lusaka lawyer Kelvin Fube Bwalya.
In an open letter to the Patriotic Front “general family and leadership”, Fube stated that the PF had moved from a pro-poor party to a pro-foreign interest serving leadership.
“This must be reversed immediately. Zambians must come first at all times,” KBF wrote. “…This letter is birthed out of a great concern for the majority and poor Zambians and I make no apology to those that shall be offended by my words.
It is a fact that the journey of the Patriotic Front Party has been shared by many Zambians, some dead and some still living.
On this journey, there have been both individual and collective aspirations, individual and collective sorrows, individual and collective sacrifices and individual and collective victories and celebrations.”
He stated that neither one person nor small clique should therefore feel, believe or exercise the privilege of power in a manner that was detrimental to the collective.
KBF stated that “this must never be construed to mean Patriotic Front members only”.
He stated that the collective was all Zambians, whether PF or not.
He stated that PF, as a party, was founded on the premise of being Pro-Poor.
KBF said that meant being sensitive and measured when taking decisions – political, social or economic – that affected the Zambian people to their detriment.
“The recent fuel increment has lamentably failed this test,” he stressed. “I have observed with shock and dismay the proliferation of silly actions of endorsing candidates for 2021 as well as the making of almost each and every political and developmental activity a matter of 2021. This lack of focus and lack of passion, heart and ambition for the Zambian people by most political players within the Patriotic Front Party is the reason so for many of our challenges and failure represent the values and beliefs which the founding father of this party, the late president Michael Chilufya Sata stood for.”
KBF stated that the current PF leadership mindset did not meet the standard that was set by the founding father.
“We cannot pretend to represent the moral fiber of the founding father when our views are diametrically opposed to those that he stood for. With such a mindset to leadership, it is impossible for such people to be objective and truthful when called upon to contribute to the decision making processes and such people will only be truthful when they are in small dark corners in their silly little cliques where they conspire to fill there already full bellies while the masses starve. What a shame,” he stated. “My one line to the President of the Party and the Republic [Edgar Lungu] is that he must choose between his friends and the Zambian people. We have moved from a pro-poor party to a pro-foreign interest serving leadership. This must be reversed immediately. Zambians must come first at all times. The Zambian government cannot be taxing the Zambian people at each and every turn when there is a fiscal challenge. It is inhumane to keep demanding that the citizens part away with more of their consistently dwindling earnings and to add insult to injury, the political players who are already indulged with the trappings of privilege, choose to increase their pay within the same stride. I shall not seek to catalogue the long list of direct and indirect taxes forced onto the people but I will say this; it is only about a month ago that to cushion the effect of the high cost of living on domestic workers, the solution was found in the middle class whose income or revenue streams are already strained, suffering and uncertain.”
KBF noted that barely a month later, government had increased the price of fuel and “not only did government officials in the upper echelons of power lie to the Zambian people” about the increment but that “officials in the upper echelons of power in the PF have decided to run with ‘it has also increased in other countries’.”
“So what if it has also increased in other countries? We are Zambia and our responsibility is to the Zambian people.
My open advice is that the people of Zambia do not only expect more from us as the party in power but that they actually deserve more,” he stated. “We have the majority in parliament and can easily propose an emergency law that can be enacted to correct and stabilize economic threats. For once, can we please see our executive and our legislature cracking their heads in a common effort for our beloved country and its people.”
KBF proposed, among others, “cutting out the middleman, cutting out the taxes on fuel, import the fuel through IDC (Industrial development Corporation) for the next two years and use the cheaper fuel to stimulate the economy through cheaper production costs”.
He stated that such would increase consumer spending and that the government could still make money from fuel tax through an increase in other revenue streams spurred by the cheaper fuel.
KBF stated that such an alternative was economically sound and could be employed among other strategies to stimulate the economy but “it seems that our current PF leadership is refusing to spend time on thinking outside the box for solutions that protect and better the lives of the majority of the Zambian people.”
He stated that the marketeers, bus drivers, taxi drivers, commuters, small scale farmers, local common traders, SME’s and the middle class in general would greatly improve their spending power by such measures.
“Yet the government has decided to take sides and support a very small clique of filthy rich businessmen with close links to senior government and party officials. The few businessmen that would be affected by being cut out of the fuel procurement chain will not starve. They are already filthy rich, anyway,” he stated. “Mr President, let us put the citizens before the businessmen. We must remember that cheaper fuel was a campaign promise and if we are politicians worth our salt, we must honor our campaign promises. We must also remember that we promised and stand for lower taxes and more money in people’s pockets.”
He stated that politics was about service and not using the people only to rise to the trappings of privilege.
“So called trappings because privilege often blinds people to the suffering of the non-privileged ordinary hardworking everyday people who often continue suffering because the privileged few have forgotten the plight of the poor masses and have put in place measures that work for the privileged but not for the non-privileged,” KBF stated. “To those officials in the Patriotic Front whose only contribution to finding solutions to the many problems being faced by the country is to shout ‘Lungu 2021’ and to threaten other members with suspensions and expulsions, I think the time has come for you to make yourselves relevant to the country and do the jobs that come with the positions you hold. Our party and our country are in the problems they are in because too many of you are failing at your jobs. Too many of you are corrupt and too many of you choose to flatter the President with lies because if you tell him the truth of how rotten you have made things, you will expose your failings and shortcomings. Some of us would rather stand with the poor than compromise the principles and values that made PF win government. Your failings and cover-ups are causing suffering among the Zambian people and will only make your much focused upon 2021 elections even more difficult to win.”
He stated that Zambians right now were not interested in the 2021 elections but were concerned and interested in finding the next meal for their family and paying the next bill and tax that had been imposed on them.
KBF called for a PF indaba while reaching out to Chishimba Kambwili and Harry Kalaba to find time so “we can sit down”.
“They and others that may have felt aggrieved by some elements within the party must be part of the Indaba. After all, CK and HK are still sitting as PF Members of Parliament. It is time for us as the ruling party to put petty politics aside, get the party in order and serve the country better than we are currently doing as the party in power,” Fube stated. “There are so many general members who can contribute to making this party and this country better, but most of the leaders who have run their course and have nothing new, innovative or vibrant to offer are blocking the young general members who have the much needed ideas. The world is changing and the youths are the driving force of the new age. It is time to allow the youths to come to the fore and take their rightful place in leadership. After all it is they who have the most to lose as they have longer to live with the consequences of inaction.”
He wondered why it was seemingly so difficult for the government to get the money owed to the country by the mines.
“Including those monies that should have come to us as a country from the cobalt sales whose numbers we never hear of, and those monies which the courts have said must be paid to the country. Why should the Zambian people be treated so harshly and the mines be treated with kid gloves when the Zambians are the owners of the mineral wealth in the land?” asked KBF.