We are paying too much to former this and that!

Nevers Mumba has requested the Patriotic Front government to see value in correcting a ‘national anomaly’ where former Republican vice-presidents leave office without any means of sustenance.

Mumba, a former Republican vice-president and now MMD president, says as things stand, the only thing former vice-presidents are accorded are state funerals when they die.

Mumba notes that former presidents, Chief Justice, Speaker of the National Assembly, service chiefs and civil servants had packages once they retire but a former vice-president had none.

The truth is the list of people being looked after by the Zambian taxpayer after they leave public office is too long to manage. How can the taxpayer who can’t afford so many necessary things in life be made to give so much comfort to so many former this and that?

Mumba should also think of the sufferings of the masses of our people.

We actually need to reduce the list of people getting such benefits from the poor Zambian taxpayer and not to increase it.

It can’t just be about leaders living well, what about the people?

We want to give our leaders benefits that even the richest country in the world – the United States with a GDP of $20 trillion doesn’t give its for leaders.

The vice-president of the Republic of Zambia is the second-highest officer in the executive branch of the government, after the president of the Republic, and ranks first in the presidential line of succession. The vice-president is also an officer in the legislative branch – Parliament, as leader of the House.

The vice-president is indirectly elected together with the president to a five-year term of office by the voters of Zambia.

The job of vice-president may have been famously described by one of its occupants as “not worth a bucket of warm spit”.

In the United States vice-presidents do not receive an automatic pension as former presidents do. Instead, vice-presidents are granted pensions based on their service in the United States House of Representatives or Senate. Vice-presidents must serve at least two years to receive a pension.

Former United States vice-president Joe Biden’s pension is based on his role as president of the Senate. Assuming he was covered under the Civil Service Retirement System for the past 43 years, his pension could amount to approximately $248,670 per year.

Unlike former presidents, whose pension is fixed at the same rate, regardless of their time in office, former vice-presidents receive their retirement income based on their role as President of the Senate. Additionally, since 2008, each former vice-president and his immediate family is entitled (under the “Former Vice President Protection Act of 2008”) to Secret Service protection for up to six months after leaving office, and again temporarily at any time thereafter if warranted.

Let’s learn to live within our means as a nation. For a country so much in debt we cannot afford to pay so many former this and that. What this means is that we are borrowing to pay these people. Is this right or prudent?

To live within our means that what we spend each month is less than or at least equal to the amount of money we earn in each month.

Unfortunately, that kind of lifestyle isn’t sustainable and, at some point, our reckless spending will catch up to us.

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